Eating Disorders Treatment Centers are designed to provide 24 hour care to individuals with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder in a residential setting. Eating Disorders Treatment Centers typically also provide individuals with treatment for dual diagnosis (the combination of an eating disorder and an alcohol or drug problem) and co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD (an anxiety disorder occurring after trauma) or other issues that patients may need help coping with. Centers are staffed by health care professionals, but are not designed for individuals who are in immediate medical danger and should be admitted to a hospital or inpatient treatment unit.
Men and women who have not successfully responded to outpatient therapy or day treatment programs (patients return home at night) are typically good candidates for Eating Disorders Treatment Centers.
What to Look for When Choosing an Eating Disorders Treatment Center
The most successful Centers have programs designed to target both the medical and psychological components of disordered eating. The Center should have high treatment success rates and low relapse rates. The other components to look for in a Center include:
Individualized Treatment Plans: The most effective therapies will vary across different individuals depending on their particular eating disorder, health status, related mental health issues, interrelationships with family members, and with their level of external support. Staff members should also be experienced in assessing and treating dual diagnosis patients, and patients with other issues that are typically associated with eating disorders.
Medical Staff: Physicians should provide consultation in order to manage the medical aspects of the illness.
Nutritional Rehabilitation/Therapy: Patients should learn effective meal planning, portion sizes, and how to incorporate healthy eating into their lifestyles from a Licensed Dietician.
Individual, Group and Family Therapy: Patients should be offered one on one and group counseling sessions with a Licensed Mental Health Professional. Families should be an integral part of the treatment.
Nursing Staff: The health status of patients should be monitored on a daily basis. Staff members should be licensed to dispense medications if necessary.
Support Groups: Patients often benefit from peer support and discussion.
Supervision: Staff members should be monitoring the premises and the patients 24 hours a day.
Referral network: Patients should have access to experienced professionals across the country for continuing care after they leave the Center.