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Intensive Outpatient Programs for Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are very hard addictions to overcome because they deal with a behavior that we all must do to survive – we all must eat. It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men. The number of people who have eating disorders and actually receive treatment is low.

Eating Disorder Treatment Statistics

  • Only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment.

  • About 80% of the girls/women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do not get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery – they are often sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay.

  • It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from 3 – 6 months of inpatient care.

Common Barriers to Eating Disorder Treatment

  • Eating disorder stigmas prevent people from seeking treatment – Non-shame models of promotion throughout the community can help.

  • Lack of skill and knowledge of health care professionals – Not every health care professional is going to be prepared to diagnose or treat eating disorders.

  • Unclear pathways to care – People just do not know what to do or where to go to get help for their eating disorders.

Types of Treatment for Eating Disorders

Not everyone who has an eating disorder will need long-term hospitalization as the stigma suggests. There are regular outpatient programs for eating disorders and intensive outpatient programs for eating disorders. These programs will also include a mixture of

  • Inpatient treatment

  • Individual or group therapy

  • Family therapy

  • Eating disorder education

  • Nutritional counseling

  • Medical monitoring

Intensive Outpatient Programs for Eating Disorders

One of the best ways for a person with an eating disorder to recovery is to participate in an intensive out patient program. Intensive outpatient programs for eating disorders provide more structure and supervision and gives you treatment based on proven medical methods for recovery. If you’re trying to avoid hospitalization then intensive outpatient programs are good places to start. Intensive outpatient programs are evident based and focus on treated the emotional triggers that cause negative behaviors that further perpetuate eating disorders like restricting and bingeing.

Dialectic Behavioral Therapy is a way to treat those emotional triggers that can exasperate eating disorders.

Because of the emphasis on regulating emotions and finding healthier coping mechanisms, DBT is increasingly being incorporated into contemporary eating disorder treatment. Eating disorders are often characterized by deeply negative emotions, impulsive behavior, and desperate attempts to relieve emotional or psychological pain. According to eating disorder specialists, DBT is a natural fit in treating these life-threatening conditions.

Specifically, DBT teaches eating disorder sufferers to identify triggers for disordered eating and find better ways to respond to stress, such as breathing or relaxation exercises, taking an emotional timeout, or finding a healthy distraction. It also guides eating disorder sufferers through the practice of mindful eating, increasing awareness of emotional responses to food while preparing and eating meals. To combat guilt, shame, and other self-defeating emotions, DBT encourages people to recognize and accept their feelings without judging them as “good” or “bad” or acting out behaviorally.

According to Thomas Marra, Ph.D., author of Dialectical Behavior Therapy in Private Practice: A practical and comprehensive guide, the goals of a DBT approach to eating disorder treatment are:

  • Increasing the variety of emotional inputs available in a patient’s environment;

  • Increasing the variety of need fulfillments;

  • Validating the worth of the individual;

  • Increasing frustration tolerance, learning strategic behavior skills;

  • Increasing sensory input (mindfulness) to substitute sensual activities for food satiety.

For more information about Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program or other programs we offer please give us a call at 888-506-1573.