The number of inpatient treatment centers that specialize in treating eating disorders is growing. Due to the difficulty of treating eating disorders and the serious health risks involved in living with an eating disorder, they occupy a necessary niche in the healthcare system. They offer patients a supportive environment with staff trained in treating health complications associated with long-term eating disorders as well as therapists trained in treating eating disorders. Here's what to expect from an eating disorder center and why attending a center is helpful in starting your life of recovery.
1. Medical Supervision
Eating disorders are associated with numerous health risks – both anorexia and bulimia can cause severe malnutrition, dehydration, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. In addition, the binging and purging present in bulimia can cause gastrointestinal complications such as gastritis or esophageal tears. Because of the serious risks involved with eating disorders, it's important to receive treatment as soon as possible and begin your life of recovery.
While you're at an inpatient eating disorder center, you'll be supervised by medical professionals and treated for any complications arising from your eating disorder. You will receive medical care for any health issues that you may have and will be carefully monitored to ensure that no new complications develop. With medical professionals trained in spotting and treating complications that come from having an eating disorder, you can be sure that you're in good hands – while you work on recovering from your eating disorder, the medical staff will work to make you healthy.
2. Behavioral Therapy
During your stay at an inpatient eating disorder center, you'll undergo intensive therapy to aid you in your recovery. Licensed therapists use techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy to help you change the way you feel about your body and how you feel about eating. Eating disorders can be difficult to treat, as it requires a two-pronged approach of treating body dysmorphia as well as treating a disordered relationship with food. Eating disorder centers have therapists on staff who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders, maximizing your chances of recovery.
3. Nutritious Prepared Meals
Inpatient eating disorder centers offer you the chance to change your relationship with food in a supportive environment by providing healthy meals. With dieticians and chefs on-site to prepare meals, you'll have the chance to put the tools you learn in therapy into practice over the course of your stay. Eating delicious and nutritious meals prepared by professional chefs gives you the chance to work through your feelings with food over the duration of your inpatient stay – your therapist will have you note your feelings about eating and develop strategies to help you eat in a non-disordered way. In addition, meal plans developed by dieticians will help treat complications such as malnutrition that are often present in patients with eating disorders.
Due to the health risks involved with eating disorders, it's important to begin the process of recovery as soon as you can – contact an inpatient eating disorder center to discuss insurance coverage, take a tour of the facility or hear success stories from alumni living their lives in recovery.