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Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

In order to help you or your loved one simplify the process of searching for an eating disorders treatment center, Eating Disorder Hope has thoroughly reviewed eating disorder treatment programs around the country, and structured them in an organized directory. This resource can help you navigate through the various options when considering the available treatment options for this important decision. We understand the importance of working with a comprehensive, accredited treatment program for eating disorders to help facilitate recovery.

Visit our Featured Treatment Centers for Eating Disorders page.

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    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.

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  • 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:

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    • 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

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    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.

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  • 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

    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.

    Residential Treatment

    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.

    Inpatient Treatment

    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

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    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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    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    Kimberley October 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Are they any centers for treatment of eating disorders in MA that use equine therapy?

    Aqua October 24, 2014 at 6:29 am

    how can i get help if Im in China

    Dr. Jeramy May 20, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    This is a fantastic resource for individuals who struggle with eating disorders. The most important advise I can lend is that if you have identified that you struggle with a problem that you see help, no matter where you live. Search the web and you will find resources in your area, no matter if you are in China, Massachusetts, or any place else. Many do not recognize the severity of a disorder until it causes physical harm, sometimes life long damage.

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