In California, Who Seeks Eating Disorder Treatment and Why?

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The State of California is often known for being progressive, forward-thinking, and on the cutting edge of scientific, health and research developments. When it comes to eating disorder treatment in California, there are a wide variety of options across the state, including special treatment for those who may need care for co-occurring disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and more.

California also offers a wide variety of eating disorder treatment levels, including everything from inpatient treatment, residential care, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient clinics. Specialty focused eating disorders treatment for males, pediatrics/adolescents, and LGBTQ community can be found in California as well.

Overview of California Treatment Centers

Currently, Eating Disorder Hope offers an online directory of California Eating Disorder Treatment Centers, to provide a central place for reviewing the many eating disorder treatment centers and levels of care provided throughout the state.

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Because of the severity and complexity of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, seeking out specialized care through a comprehensive treatment center, is often necessary for recovery.

It is not uncommon to temporarily relocate out of state, in order to participate in a treatment program that offers the resources that are most appropriate for an individual’s needs.

Relocation to California for eating disorder treatment may be dependent on a variety of factors, including insurance coverage options, the severity of the eating disorder, and treatments that have been deemed necessary and/or appropriate by an eating disorder specialist.

Feet on the beach standing up for selfParticularly in the earlier phases of treatment, which can last a few months, constant supervision may be needed to provide intervention for eating disorder behaviors and monitor nutrition intake and medical care.

The variety of inpatient and residential eating disorder treatment centers in California can provide this level of care, though accessibility may be dependent on insurance coverage and other factors.

Available Eating Disorder Treatment

Accessibility to eating disorder treatment continues to be an issue for many individuals who are seeking help for recovery. According to the Federal Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, hospitalizations for complications caused by eating disorders grew 18 percent between 1999 to 2006 [1].

With increased awareness of eating disorders and improvement with evidence-based treatment, more people are able to come forward and ask for the help they need.

Some of the academic institutions, including universities and hospitals in California, may be able to offer low-cost or free eating disorder treatment, which is an option many may consider who is in need of this type of care. Academic institutions may also have clinical trials available, in which participants can receive therapy and/or medication as part of the eating disorder research.

Examples of these type of academic institutions may include but are not limited to the UC San Diego Eating Disorder Center for Treatment and Research, Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, University of California Los Angeles, and Stanford University.

Other eating disorder treatment centers in California offer more intensive forms of treatment over a shorter time that may be more affordable. An example of this would be family-based therapy, or the Maudsley method, which is a form of eating disorder treatment that directly involves families for monitor and supervision under the guidance of a specialized therapist.

This form of treatment may work for a family with a child who has received a diagnosis of anorexia or bulimia, as the majority of treatment can be completed at home. Research has found that family-based therapy is more effective in facilitating full remission for adolescents with anorexia compared to individual therapy, so this may be a suitable option depending on individual/family needs [2].

Connecting to Eating Disorder Treatment

Research has demonstrated that early interventions can help a person achieve full recovery from an eating disorder, with one particular study finding that over 75 percent of adolescents with anorexia nervosa reaching full recovery from the eating disorder within 10 to 15 years of the initial hospitalizations [3].

California sandy beachConnecting with professional care at an appropriate level for an individual’s needs is an essential component for eating disorder recovery.

Whether eating disorder treatment occurs in California or anywhere else across the state, it is important to find a location that is the best fit for a person and that offers the needed resources and tools for their recovery journey.

Connect with an eating disorder specialist today to acquire a professional recommendation for eating disorder treatment.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is a Contributing Writer for Eating Disorder Hope.

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH and nutrition private practice.


[1]: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Mental Health: Research Findings”, Accessed July 10 2017
[2]: James Lock, MD, PhD; et al. Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Family-Based Treatment With Adolescent-Focused Individual Therapy for Adolescents With Anorexia Nervosa.  Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(10):1025-1032
[3]:  Strober M, et al.  The long-term course of severe anorexia nervosa in adolescents: survival analysis of recovery, relapse, and outcome predictors over 10-15 years in a prospective study.  Int J Eat Disord. 1997 Dec:22(4)339-60

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on September 12, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 12, 2017.
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