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Mar 21 2018

Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

What are Eating Disorder Treatment Centers?

The University of Chicago on Eating Disorders Treatment. As posted by: The University of Chicago Medicine

If you or your loved one has been suffering with anorexia, bulimia, or other eating disorder, and outpatient sessions are not enough, treatment centers are the next level of care. Because of the severity of the nature of eating disorders, the complexity of their care, and often co-occurring disorders. choosing the right eating disorder center is a paramount step in successful recovery and the promotion of overall healing.

Making the decision to enlist the help of an eating disorder treatment center can be overwhelming. You may feel apprehensive or fearful about beginning this phase of your recovery, but be encouraged that you have made the best possible decision for your life and well-being.

Eating disorder treatment centers are intended to decrease symptoms of the eating disorder, address underlying causes, facilitate education about body image, healthy exercise, nutrition, family dynamics, and relapse prevention.

Eating disorders treatment centers can refer to several types of treatment, but the chances for full recovery are higher for men and women who undergo treatment at an inpatient or residential eating disorder treatment program. At this level of care, a variety of therapies are offered under the umbrella of a cohesive treatment team that would include physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists, and any other specialists that would be helpful to a patient s recovery.

If enrolling in a residential treatment program, you can expect the following, which are usually included in this level of care:

  • Continuum of care 24 hours/day while at a live-in facility
  • Structured programs throughout the day that offer physical and psychological healing
  • Participation in a wide-variety of groups that include coping skills, body awareness, psychotherapy and psycho education, and nutrition.
  • Aftercare planning and relapse prevention

Why are Eating Disorder Treatment Centers Important?

Because of the whole-person approach taken by a comprehensive treatment team within an eating disorder facility, longer-term recovery and healing become possible. This approach for treatment is vital when medical intervention and mediation are needed.

Eating disorder treatment centers provided a structured and controlled environment, which is essential for healing to occur. Having constant care by a team of specialized professionals makes this approach to recovery effectual and successful in overcoming the eating disorder.

Types of Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

Research and a history of successful outcomes tell us that eating disorder treatment by a team of professionals, specialized in the field, is the best course of action to take when eating disorder recovery is needed.

Eating disorder treatment can be provided on an outpatient basis by a team of a therapist, nutritionist, physician and if needed, psychiatrist or cardiologist.

Typically, an individual struggling with an eating disorder will attend appointments one to two times a week with both the therapist and the nutritionist.Often, the physician, psychiatrist and/or cardiologist may require multiple appointments too, in an effort to monitor the health of the individual.

Duration of outpatient treatment can vary from three months to seven years or longer.In most cases, a long term treatment plan is needed and it is not unusual to spend five to seven years in counseling in order to recover from an eating disorder.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP)

The next step up in treatment from an outpatient team approach is intensive outpatient. This often occurs at a hospital or treatment facility where the individual struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating attends a treatment clinic two or three times a week, and gains access to all the services in one location. These services generally include counseling, nutritional therapy, group counseling and more.

Partial Hospitalization (PHP)

This is an intermediary level of care, also referred to as day treatment. People in partial hospitalization are in an eating disorder clinic for 6 to 10 hours per day, 5 to 7 days per week. There they receive the majority of their day’s nutrition, participate in therapy groups, and meet with their therapists, dieticians, and psychiatrists. Partial hospitalization is an alternative to residential care, allowing individuals to continue living at home and keep a foot in the real world. Many partial hospitalization programs also have supportive housing options for individuals who do not live near the clinic.

If the two prior methods of eating disorder treatment are ineffective, then residential or inpatient treatment is recommended.This generally involves a stay at a hospital or treatment center for 30 to 90 days.

These residential eating disorder treatment centers often operate holistically and have staff and services to address the multiple needs of their patients.Art therapy, equine therapy, group counseling, individual therapy, nutrition counseling and more are typical fare at treatment centers.

This level of treatment offers continuum of care 24 hours a day in a hospital setting. The primary focus of this level of care is medical stabilization and interruption of weight loss, with typical stays less than 3 weeks. Once the individual is considered to be medically stable, they are usually discharged to a residential treatment center for ongoing care.

Accreditation of Eating Disorders Centers

The Joint Commission Accreditation Health Organization (JCAHO) awards certification to those treatment centers who apply for and gain accreditation.This is an arduous process that requires adherence to strict policies and procedures.The JCAHO mission is to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value JCAHO stands for.

Many consider JCAHO accreditation to be a bench mark for excellent and quality care.

Aftercare Following Treatment at an Eating Disorders Center

Eating Disorder Hope believes that aftercare is very important to the ongoing recovery work of an individual released from inpatient, residential or intensive outpatient treatment.It involves have a therapist and nutritionist to meet with regularly. in order to monitor behaviors and work through issues as the individual adapts back to their normal life outside of treatment.

In addition to the treatment team, it is often recommended that an individual develop an aftercare plan that also includes group support in the community.There are many organizations that provide free groups to help eating disorder sufferers stay on the road to recovery and/or recover from relapse.A few excellent organizations worth checking out are Eating Disorders Anonymous, ANAD and Overeaters Anonymous.

Last Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 19, 2014
Page last updated: January 15, 2014
Published on, Eating Disorder Help Information

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Eating Disorder Hope promotes ending eating disordered behavior, embracing life and pursuing recovery. Our mission is to foster appreciation of one’s uniqueness and value in the world, unrelated to appearance, achievement or applause.

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