Residential home for teen eating disorders opens locally

Lauren Ozbolt

Lauren Ozbolt

Monte Nido and Affiliates has opened Clementine, their newest eating disorder treatment center for adolescent girls ages 12 through 17 in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills.

Malibu-based Monte Nido operates 20 programs nationally for the treatment of eating disorders affecting people of all ages. The new Agoura home, for teenage girls only, has 12 employees who care for up to six patients.

ANRED, an eating disorder support organization, says one in 200 American women suffers from anorexia and two to three out of every 100 American suffer from bulimia. In a city like Los Angeles, where teenagers are surrounded by countless thin, beautiful celebrities, the pressure to look the same way is often exacerbated, experts say.

“Eating disorders are devastating from both a psychological and medical perspective,” said Dr. Joel Jahraus, Clementine’s chief medical officer. He has cared for children, teens and adults with eating disorders for over 22 years.

“Serious growth and development issues may occur with eating disorders, and research demonstrates the need to treat the eating disorder as early in the course of the illness as possible,” Jahraus said.

Studies show when an individual struggles with an eating disorder for more than three years, recovery is more difficult. With Clementine, adolescents receive customized treatment that greatly improves the chances of full recovery, the doctor said.

Clementine offers a twice-weekly individual psychotherapy program as well as weekly sessions with members of the treatment team, including the clinical director, dietitian, psychiatrist and family therapist.

The girls face challenges in grocery stores and restaurants that seek to normalize their relationship with food. Behavior therapy, life skills and bodily image improvement are emphasized.

In preparation for departure, the girls receive a comprehensive plan to help support their return to home and classroom.

Clementine’s new Agoura center is overseen by medical director and adolescent psychiatrist Lauren Ozbolt and clinical director Lauren Hoover. The company also runs programs for girls in Miami, Fla., Portland, Ore., and Briarcliff Manor, NY.