Choosing the Right Treatment Center: 5 Factors to Consider
You’ve reached a pivotal moment—the decision to seek treatment for your eating disorder. It’s a courageous step, and we understand the fear and uncertainty that often comes with it. Now, as you embark on a path toward healing, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the task of finding the right place to begin.
We know that choosing the right treatment program is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about finding a program that truly understands the complexities of eating disorders and recognizes your unique needs. That’s where we come in—to provide you with the knowledge and tools necessary to find the treatment center that’s just right for you.
Let’s explore five essential factors to consider when searching for eating disorder treatment: evidence-based interventions, individualized care, a collaborative approach, a continuum of care options, and comprehensive support.
Table of Contents
Eating disorders are complex, deeply rooted illnesses. Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, ARFID, and other eating disorders are all influenced by a variety of biological, social, and psychological factors, and they come with physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. To effectively address these complexities, you’ll need treatment designed by professionals with a comprehensive understanding of eating disorders and proven interventions.
Look for a program that takes a holistic approach to treatment, integrating evidence-based therapies such as CBT, DBT, and FBT, alongside nutritional, medical, and psychiatric interventions. You’ll also want to assess the provider’s experience and track record in treating eating disorders. Consider these questions:
- How long has the provider specialized in treating eating disorders?
- Are the treatment providers properly trained and licensed in their respective fields?
- Do they have specific expertise in treating the particular type of eating disorder you are struggling with?
- Can they provide testimonials from former clients who have successfully recovered from their eating disorders?
- Do they report on treatment outcomes?
No two eating disorders are identical, and no two treatment plans should be either. Find a program that offers individualized care tailored to your specific needs, circumstances, and goals. A thorough assessment should be conducted to identify any unique underlying medical conditions, co-occurring illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, or other factors contributing to your eating disorder, as well as to recognize important parts of your identity and cultural background. This level of understanding strengthens therapeutic relationships, improves communication, and ensures treatment interventions are personalized to you.
Recovery from eating disorders requires a comprehensive and collaborative approach that involves a full team of multidisciplinary experts. Therapists, for example, are necessary for assisting clients in navigating their emotions related to food and their body, dietitians provide education on proper nutrition and rediscovering the joy of eating, while medical providers address the physical effects and co-occurring medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and endocrine conditions. By fostering collective knowledge and a collaborative approach, the team can seamlessly integrate care and promote comprehensive healing.
The importance of ongoing support from a client’s community and other providers also cannot be overstated. Even after being discharged from treatment, the journey of recovery continues. Your loved ones and providers outside of treatment can be especially helpful during that transition period—their intimate knowledge of you and their ability to help you in your everyday life make them incredible assets. They will be able to best support you if they can collaborate with your treatment team. For family and friends, this may mean receiving eating disorder education, participating in family therapy, or attending support groups led by the treatment center. By working together, the treatment team, community of support, and other providers form an interconnected web of care that ensures sustained progress and lasting recovery.
When selecting a treatment center, consider whether they offer a continuum of care—including residential, partial hospitalization (PHP/IDP), intensive outpatient (IOP), outpatient, and virtual services. This comprehensive range acknowledges the nonlinear nature of eating disorder recovery. You may need to move down a care level and back up, depending on your needs, and by choosing a treatment center that offers a continuum of care, you can navigate these transitions with greater ease.
Another significant advantage of selecting a treatment center with a continuum of care is the enhanced communication and collaboration between providers at different levels. As you transition from one level of care to another, your providers can share crucial information, treatment plans, and progress updates effortlessly. This open communication ensures that you do not have to “start over” with every new provider, offering a continuity of care that supports the ongoing recovery process.
Because eating disorders stem from a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors, recovery is possible when all these elements are addressed. Care for eating disorders should include the following multidisciplinary program components: medical, psychiatric, psychological, and nutritional treatment.
In addition to addressing the primary eating disorder, it is important to treat any coexisting conditions as well. Many people suffering from eating disorders also experience other mental health conditions.
- Approximately 65% of patients with eating disorders meet the criteria for at least one anxiety disorder (Swinbourne, Hunt, et al., 2012).
- Approximately 50% of women with eating disorders have a substance use disorder (Killeen, Brewerton, et al., 2014).
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 42.1% of adults with anorexia, 70.7% with bulimia, and 46.4% with binge eating disorder also have a mood disorder.
- PTSD is seen in up to 50% of adults admitted to higher levels of eating disorder care (Brewerton, et al., 2023).
Integrative interventions such as yoga and expressive arts are also important aspects of well-rounded care. Mindful movement, breathing, and meditation provide an opportunity to pause and choose how you will respond to an eating disorder trigger. Meanwhile, creating art can assist you in translating and expressing your feelings and experiences and help heal the psychological challenges associated with your eating disorder.
We understand the importance of finding the right treatment center for your needs. Factors such as evidence-based treatment, individualized care, a collaborative approach, a range of care options, and comprehensive support all play integral roles in the recovery journey. With the right treatment program and support, you can embark on a path of healing and regain control over your life from the grasp of your eating disorder.
At The Emily Program, we provide a continuum of multidisciplinary care options for individuals of all ages and genders who struggle with food issues. With our personalized, evidence-based approach and decades of experience in treating eating disorders, we are dedicated to supporting you throughout your recovery journey. Our team of experts is committed to understanding and addressing the complexities of eating disorders, providing you with the care you need and deserve. Remember, you don’t have to face this fierce illness alone.
When it comes to finding the right treatment for your eating disorder, don’t settle for anything less than evidence-based, personalized care. Find it at The Emily Program by calling 888-364-5977 or, if you prefer we call you, submit our online form.