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Eating Disorder Treatment Center Opening In Briarcliff

A bedroom at Clementine, a treatment center for teenage girls battling anorexia. Photo Credit: Contributed
A family therapy room at Clementine, a treatment center for teenage girls battling anorexia. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, .N.Y. -- Teenage girls battling an eating disorder will soon have a place to turn to in Briarcliff.

Clementine, a treatment center for girls age 12-17, is set to open at the end of the month at a home at 233 Pine Road. Clementine has similar treatment centers in Miami and Oregon and will be owned and run by Mondo Nido and Affiliates. The center will accommodate up to eight girls at a time.

Briarcliff was chosen as a location since officials at Clementine felt they were filling a void in the region.

Amanda Mellowspring, the director of nutrition services at Clementine, said the goal is to help establish a better relationship with food.

"People with eating disorders often having these obsessive thoughts, it's what their whole life becomes about," Mellowspring said.

Mellowspring said she enjoys treating adolescents, even though they can be a challenging age group.

"It can be very trying, but also very rewarding to see someone go from that place of fearing food to leading this life of freedom," Mellowspring said.

It is often difficult to see if someone is suffering from an eating disorder, Mellowspring said.

"You can't just tell by someone's appearance," Mellowspring said. "All body sizes struggle with eating disorders."

Warning signs include becoming overly fixated on a diet or making excuses to avoid eating together as a family, Mellowspring said. 

Dr. Laura Ozbolt is the medical director at Clementine. She said anorexia involves the brain functioning in a different way and can often be linked to genetics. People battling anorexia often are very obsessive, rule oriented and harm avoidant, Ozbolt said.

"Having that temperament can lead to success but it cause people turn on their bodies and be very detrimental," Ozbolt said.

As medical director, Ozbolt makes sure patients needs are met after a thorough evaluation and discussing family dynamics. 

"We want to get the full picture so we can put the pieces back together," Ozbolt said. "What is trigging this eating disorder? What can we do to help?

A typical day at Clementine involves three supervised meals and three supervised snacks along with school. Patients at Clementine also have daily group sessions and participate in individual therapy sessions.

An eating disorder eventually consumes every part of your life, Ozbolt said.

"Your only friend is your eating disorder," Ozbolt said. "You don't do anything anymore, you don't have hobbies."

Ozbolt is passionate about treating eating disorders, having watched her sister battle one growing up.

"I know all about the stress and guilt family members go through," Ozbolt said. "You feel helpless. I love being able to help people now and restore someone's self-esteem. These are smart, wonderful women and I love seeing them able to turn their life around."

For more information on Clementine, click here or contact 855-900-2221.

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