Many people who need eating disorder treatment try to manage it on their own, go to therapy, see a registered dietitian or discuss it with their medical doctor. They may spend needless years of suffering trying to recover. The key to recovery is to start with a solid foundation of recovery at an eating disorder treatment center then step down to seeing a therapist, medical doctor and/or registered dietitian. If you want eating disorder treatment, bulimia treatment or anorexia treatment, it can be hard to decide which eating disorder treatment center to go to. Here are some tips that will help you make the best choice:
1. Make sure the entire staff knows about eating disorders, not just one person. Many programs treat chemical dependency but employ only one or two staff members with some experience in eating disorders, or they may have a simple eating disorder track. This is not appropriate eating disorder treatment for bulimia treatment or anorexia treatment.
2. Although many people with eating disorders do have co-occurring disorders, it is almost always true that the eating disorder came first and is primary for the client. Substance abuse and other co-occurring disorders can be addressed in a good eating disorder treatment program.
3. Therapists need specialized training to treat eating disorders, not just alcohol and drug training. It takes a team to treat eating disorders. The medical staff at an eating disorder treatment center must understand the health complications that are caused by eating disorders and the proper medication, labs and testing protocols; the registered dietitians must understand re-feeding for anorexia treatment and nutritional maintenance for an bulimia treatment and anorexia treatment client in addition to understanding the clients themselves and their difficulties in making a paced shift to a healthy relationship with food; and the therapists and clinical support staff have to understand the vast difference in treating the ED client verses the chemically-dependent client. Most eating disorder treatment clients want help and are motivated, but have a hard time getting out of their own way — this is part of their need for perfectionism and the constant eating disorder dialogue in their head. Empowerment, encouragement, understanding and commitment to go the distance from ALL staff are needed to help the patient seeking eating disorder treatment make a lasting shift.
4. Ask if they have a registered dietitian, psychiatrist, medical doctor, and licensed therapist who has been certified as an eating disorders specialist (CED). Ask about their philosophy and approach to treating someone who needs bulimia treatment, anorexia treatment or eating disorder treatment.
5. Make sure there are different levels of care so the clients can transition from eating disorder treatment to real-life experiences. Most clients can abstain from their eating disorder in eating disorder treatment because of the close supervision, but without the supervision they relapse. The real recovery comes while doing “real” life without using the eating disorder.
6. Eating disorder treatment can be expensive — ask the eating disorder treatment center if they accept insurance. Billing for anorexia treatment, bulimia treatment and eating disorder treatment in some cases is more likely to be covered by an insurance company than chemical dependency treatment. Be sure the eating disorder treatment program you choose is set up properly to support the financial options for care for an eating disorder treatment client.
7. A good eating disorder treatment program will have a strong family component. Family participation, healing, and growth are extremely beneficial to someone on their recovery journey. A strong family component should include family therapy sessions at the appropriate point in the client’s care, family support groups, and family participation and communication throughout care as well as in discharge planning.
Provided courtesy of Rebecca Cooper, MA, LMFT, CCH, CEDS of Rebecca’s House Eating Disorder Program