Choosing An Eating Disorder Treatment Center

If you, or someone you know, have a serious eating disorder, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as you can. Eating disorders can be fatal, but the risk of death or permanent injury decreases with prompt and aggressive treatment.

The term “eating disorder clinic” can describe several types of treatment, but the likelihood of full recovery is higher for inpatient and residential eating disorder treatment programs.

Treatment in an eating disorder clinic will be designed not just to reduce the symptoms of the eating disorder, but to treat the possible causes, and learn about body image, healthy exercise, family dynamics, and relapse prevention (among many other things!)

How Do You Find the Very Best Eating Disorder Facility?

A quality eating disorder clinic will have:

  1. a license in the state where treatment is provided
  2. accreditation through either CARF or through the Joint Commission
  3. experienced and licensed clinical staff
  4. qualified medical staff
  5. psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in eating disorders
  6. a licensed and credentialed nutritionist and dietician on staff
  7. a recreation therapist
  8. a family recovery program that is a minimum of 4 days in length
  9. a relapse prevention specialist and an aftercare recovery program

Check the last requirement very carefully. Is the clinic just sending you home with an appointment to see your therapist, or is your aftercare plan all-inclusive?

Always check to see how many actual therapeutic hours (actual therapy) are offered during the day. And find out if the eating disorder clinic provides therapeutic services during the weekend.

Questions to Ask When Choosing an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

To make sure that you choose an eating disorder clinic that is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does the eating disorder clinic specialize in treating the type of eating disorder that I have? What about treating any co-occurring issues?
  2. Is the program gender-specific, and is that best for me?
  3. How does this program differ from other eating disorder clinics?
  4. What is the treatment philosophy of the program?
  5. What is their nutritional philosophy?
  6. Are detoxification services available?
  7. What is the length of stay?
  8. What clinical services does the program provide?
  9. What is the campus like? Is it a hospital setting, recovery apartments, a residential treatment, etc.?

Finding an eating disorder clinic is critical to aggressively treating this complex disease.  With the help of your comprehensive treatment team, your recovery will be well supported!

Last Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 25, 2012

Page last updated: June 12, 2012
Published on, Eating Disorder Resources