When I have written about eating disorders previously for DietsInReview, I have stated that eating disorders require special treatment by a specially trained professional and often a team of professionals. The best treatments with which I am familiar include medical professionals, nutritionists, counselors, psychiatrists, and peer groups. Eating disorders are complicated syndromes that must take into account and treat a variety of factors. Because the professionals generally need to specialize in eating disorders, finding appropriate treatment options can often be more difficult.
Generally, stereotypical outpatient therapy is not enough for an eating disorder due to the health risks and impact eating or not eating has on one’s daily life. Generally, outpatient mental health treatment consists of one on one meetings with a therapist for 45-50 minutes every week or every other week. In more extreme cases, a therapist may meet with a client twice per week, but sometimes even that is not enough. One wonderful woman I know who is now recovered from her eating disorder shared, “When I was first confronted about my struggle with food, I attended an outpatient treatment center where I saw a doctor, psychiatrist and dietician two times a week. It was not enough to help me at the time, and I lost a lot of hope for ever finding freedom there.”
She reports that when she found Selah House, an inpatient treatment center, she “finally found true healing and freedom”, stating, “I needed the 24/7 accountability, spiritual and emotional support that Selah House provided.” For many, the inclusiveness and all consuming nature of an eating disorder truly requires such all-inclusive treatment. Eating-Disorder.com is one source where you can find treatment facilities in your area. Often after inpatient or residential treatment, patients enter an intensive outpatient treatment program, where they reside in their own home, but come for treatment for several hours three to five days per week. This allows the transition to living in recovery to be less drastic, preventing unnecessary stressors on the patient.
When considering various treatment options, it is important to consider the training, experience, and approach of the treatment professionals. It is also important to check with your insurance company to know what kind of coverage is available. There are several different approaches which may be differently funded and may have differing levels of effectiveness, depending on the individual. Meghan Bennett, Recovery Care Specialist of Selah House, LLC stated, “Selah has found that an ‘intuitive eating’ model is most effective with working with eating disorders, teaching clients to listen to their bodies and that all foods are good foods in moderation. We have found that calorie counting or “exchanges” only enforces food rules and obsessive focus on food.”
Don’t allow confusion about treatment options stall you from seeking treatment for eating disorders which can be complicated and dangerous.