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Road to Recovery: Eating Disorder Treatment Options


WRITTEN BY: Mental Health
Thursday, April 13th, 2017

When you confront an eating disorder, it’s helpful to know the types of treatment centers available to you and your family.

You may need to make tough decisions to get the right help. Just know that there are many treatment tools to aid in your recovery.

Specialists at the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders are on hand to discuss options. Contact them at 412-647-9329.

Understanding Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are abnormal eating patterns and dieting behaviors. They occur along with obsessive thoughts about food or body image and a number of other behavioral problems.

These disorders are not limited to girls — men and boys also suffer.

There are many kinds of eating disorders, but three commonly discussed include:

  • Anorexia nervosa — eating much less than your body needs to function well.
  • Bulimia nervosa — binge eating, followed by behaviors to offset the binge, like self-induced vomiting or using laxatives.
  • Binge eating disorder — binge eating at least once a week.

Disordered eating can cause a range of physical health problems along with emotional pain. Enrolling in an eating disorder treatment program can help you overcome these challenges.

RELATED: Can You Identify These Eating Disorder Warning Signs?

Treatment Centers for Eating Disorders

You have many of treatment options for your eating disorder — ranging from inpatient care to varied levels of outpatient care.

Knowing the different treatment levels and their goals can help you and your doctor decide what’s best.

Inpatient eating disorder treatment

Some people may need inpatient eating disorder treatment.

The goal of treatment is to stabilize your nutrition and health, so you can get ready for outpatient treatment.

Your care team will work together to design a treatment plan to meet your unique needs.

The team includes:

  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Therapists
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Dietitians

Some inpatient eating disorder treatment programs are in a hospital. They can also be in a residential setting.

Outpatient eating disorder treatment

At the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders, outpatient eating disorder treatment comes in three levels:

  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient care
  • Outpatient clinic

We decide your level of care based on how much supervision and help you need.

Partial hospitalization

You spend most of your day in the eating disorder clinic, but spend the night at home.

At the clinic, you receive:

  • Nutrition support
  • Meal supervision
  • Counseling

This program can serve as a:

  • Transition out of inpatient care.
  • Step up if outpatient treatment isn’t working.
  • Starting place for those who need more support than outpatient treatment provides.

Intensive outpatient

There are daytime and night programs for people who attend school or work.

These programs include nine hours per week of:

  • Group therapy
  • One-on-one therapy
  • Meal support
  • Nutrition education
  • Medication management if you need it

Outpatient clinic

Outpatient treatment often combines:

  • One-on-one therapy
  • Medical monitoring
  • Nutrition counseling

Family therapy is also a vital part of treatment.

The UPMC Center for Eating Disorders doesn’t currently offer individual outpatient services.

When we assess you, we can help link you to an outpatient therapist if it’s the proper treatment for you.

To make an appointment, call 412-647-9329.

mental health

Mental Health

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC and its academic partner, the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, constitute one of the leading centers for research and treatment of behavioral health disorders. For more than 60 years, the integration of research, academia, and clinical services has infused best-practice research into clinical settings for the individuals who need it most. Read More