What Are the Treatment Options for Eating Disorders?

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Well the treatment options really depend on the severity of the disorder. Eating disorders as a diagnostic category kind of range from relatively minor for somebody who might periodically kind of go out of control with their eating to life threatening. So there is a huge range. The kind of settings where treatment is provided range from inpatient, hospital to, day treatment, to out-patient.

And who ends up the inpatient? When is the inpatient necessary? It's usually when there is acute medical risk. For anorexia often when weight slips much below 75% ideal body weight, it is difficult to get that person managed on an outpatient basis. You need to do something to change the pattern of the eating.

There's no recovery from anorexia if you don't regain weight, so that's a pretty basic part of it, but also most programs are set up on, our program and we're not unique in this. Most programs that treat eating disorders, inpatient provide a lot of therapy. That's really important because it's not just dealing with the symptom it's trying to deal with all the psychological issues that underlie the problem that maintain the problem and you can't do that by just eating more, you need the combination.

So that's one option, inpatient. There are people sometimes that kind of fall in between or they were inpatient now they need some extra supporters and outpatient. There are other people who might have tried the outpatient route but that really didn't work so well but they are not so bad yet that they need inpatient.

So there are day programs, partial hospital programs. I'm a big believer in partial hospital programs, they cover a lot of issues. They can work with people who are not severely medically compromised. They are not going to be inpatient, but they are starting to have real behavioral compromise, they're struggling if they're in school or at s work, social relationship is starting to fall apart, so it's having a major impact on their lives, but they're not quite at a point where they are at acute medical danger they haven't had ER visits for example because of dehydration which somebody with bulimia whose going to need inpatient care, that's inpatient material.

But if somebody is just, feels like it's taking over their lives, they're eating, for bulimia they're eating very few regular meals, it's either a binge or a purge, the anorectics again who are really, really struggling a day treatment is a nice option, because it typically is going to provide somewhere between three and five days a week of therapy several hours a day.

At least nutritional counselling, the psycho therapy piece of it, the nutritional piece of it, and medical piece usually in some form. So that's kind of the in between, and then on the other side is outpatient which is talking therapy, typically 1-2 times a week, usually individual, might involve family, occasionally would involve group, and that is either when the problem is not so severe, catching it early and trying to make some intervention or you got somebody whose been through inpatient or partial and they are doing better, but you need to make sure that, that improvement continues.

Plus there are some issues that you are just not going to resolve in a two, three, four week inpatients stay or even a two or three month partial hospital stay, it's going to need some on going work and that's kind of the role of outpatient.