MUSC Health Center for Eating Disorders

The MUSC Health Center for Eating Disorders (formerly Friedman Center for Eating Disorders) is the only program in South Carolina to offer family- based treatment – often called the Maudsley approach – for children, adolescents, and young adults with eating disorders. Our objective is to empower families to play a key role in their loved one’s treatment. The team of multidisciplinary professionals at the Center offers support to families by providing them with the necessary skills and tools to help their child regain health and maintain recovery. It is difficult when your child is unhappy, isolated, and not able to live life to the fullest. Our team of eating disorder specialists collaborates to create comprehensive, personalized, family-based care plans to guide your family and your child to get back to a normal, healthy way of life.

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What We Believe

Eating disorders are illnesses, not choices.

There is no specific explanation as to why someone develops an eating disorder. Rather, research suggests that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological, and social factors. Eating disorders can be life threatening if not treated.

Full recovery is possible.

Eating disorders do not have to be lifelong illnesses; they are treatable conditions. Family-based treatment (FBT) has been shown to be the best treatment for adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Emerging research has also found FBT to benefit adolescents with bulimia nervosa as well as young adults with eating disorders. Additionally, the earlier someone with an eating disorder gets treatment, the more likely they are to recover.

Family involvement is crucial for recovery.

Family members can play a key role in helping a young person with an eating disorder recover and return to a healthy weight and happy life. Our center offers support while giving families the skills they need to help their child recover.

A team approach is important.

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, therapists, nurses, and dietitians carefully considers each patient’s situation and collaboratively works with families to best support recovery.

It’s important to have comprehensive treatment accessible to people of all socioeconomic levels.

We are the only comprehensive eating disorders center in the state to accept Medicaid.

Services We Offer

Outpatient services

Therapy – Program therapists provide family-based treatment and individual treatment for patients ages 8 to 24.

Group Therapy - Program therapists provide group therapy for adolescents and young adults. Parent support groups are available for families that are in treatment at the Center.

Medical Management – Medical providers offer outpatient medical visits to meet the unique physical needs and psychiatric concerns of eating disorder patients.

Nutritional Counseling – Program Dietician provides outpatient visits to meet the unique physical needs and concerns of eating disorder patients.

How Do I Enroll?

Call our office at 843-876-8431 to get started. Doctor and clinician referrals can be faxed to 843-876-8462.

Eating Disorders We Treat

The MUSC Health Center for Eating Disorders specializes in caring for patients ages 8 to 24 with the following conditions:

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by intense fear of gaining weight, distorted body image and inadequate food intake leading to a weight below what is healthy for an individual’s age, sex and height. Individuals with anorexia may also experience binges (eating large amounts of food in a short amount of time) and engage in purging behaviors.

The physical complications of anorexia nervosa can be life threatening, as self-starvation deprives the body of essential nutrients needed to function normally. This can affect bone density, brain health and cardiac function. Due to the severity of medical complications, it is important to receive specialized treatment to restore weight and nutritional health to prevent long-term damage.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by cycles of eating large amounts of food, accompanied by a sense of loss of control, followed by purging behaviors to compensate for the consumed calories. Individuals with bulimia place excessive emphasis on their shape and weight.

Bulimia is also extremely harmful to the body and can lead to serious medical complications, including electrolyte imbalances, tooth decay and damage to one’s esophagus and stomach. The first priority for treating bulimia is to reestablish a healthy pattern of eating and eliminate all purging behaviors.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

Other specified feeding or eating disorder, often referred to as OSFED, is a diagnosis given to individuals who experience problematic eating-related behaviors or thoughts that significantly affect their health and functioning, but do not meet criteria for another eating disorder.

Examples of OSFED

  • Atypical anorexia: All criteria for anorexia nervosa are met except for low body weight; the individual’s weight is in normal or above normal range.
  • Purging disorder: Recurrent purging in an attempt to influence weight and shape with the absence of binging.
  • Atypical bulimia nervosa: All criteria are met for bulimia nervosa except binging and purging occur less frequently than weekly, or the duration of these behaviors is less than three months.

Although symptoms do not fall into a clear category, OSFED is not less serious than other eating disorders. Individuals with OSFED can exhibit the same distressing psychological, emotional and physical symptoms of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Specialized treatment is essential to disrupt maladaptive eating behaviors and restore physical health.

Signs & Symptoms of Eating Disorders Include:

  • Restricting caloric intake
  • Compensating for food intake by engaging in purging behaviors including self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, laxative/diuretic abuse, diet pills or insulin misuse
  • Denies feeling hungry
  • Irregular or lost menstrual cycle
  • Preoccupied by thoughts about food, weight and shape
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Significant weight loss or weight fluctuations
  • Avoiding eating certain types of foods (e.g. carbohydrates, oil & fats, meat)
  • Skipping meals
  • Thinning of hair on head or growth of fine hair on body
  • Fearful of eating in front of others or in public
  • Hiding or hoarding food
  • Evidence of binging can include large amounts of food gone in short periods of time and/or presence of many empty food wrappers/containers
  • Socially withdrawn
  • Disappears after eating, often uses the restroom after meals
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal discomfort (e.g. stomach cramps, constipation, acid reflux)
  • Secretive pattern of eating
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide weight loss and/or is excessively cold

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More Care Team Members

Elizabeth Wallis, M.D., MSHP, FAAP
Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry
Director, MUSC Health Center for Eating Disorders

Dorthe Hall, LISW-CP
Program Coordinator & Program Therapist

Marcella Berman, LISW-CP
Program Therapist

Rebekah Countryman, MA, LPC, LAC, AADC
Program Therapist

Elizabeth McGuan, LISW-CP/S
Program Therapist

Savannah Weeks, RD, LD
Program Dietician

Marissa Kemp, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC
Advanced Practice Provider

Jill Norman
Nurse Coordinator

Jasmine Robinson
Patient Appointment Registration Representative