Outpatient care is usually where the treatment process will begin. The patient lives at home and attends hourly sessions in their providers' offices. The outpatient treatment team is made up of a psychologist/therapist, nutritionist, physician, psychiatrist, and family therapist. It is very important that all members of the treatment team are knowledgeable and specialized in the treatment of eating disorders.
The next level of care is intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP will typically occur in a specialized setting (i.e. treatment center, hospital, etc.) and clients will typically attend two to three times a week, at least three hours each time. IOP will allow the client to continue working or attending school while in treatment. The client will gain access to all the services in one location and they will generally include individual therapy, nutritional therapy, family therapy, group counseling, art therapy, and more.
Day Treatment (Partial Hospitalization)
More comprehensive and concentrated than IOP, Day Treatment (which is also known as partial hospitalization) is the next level of treatment available. These programs are usually held five days week, six to eight hours a day. The client will return home to sleep at night. Day treatment programs will offer individual therapy, nutritional therapy, family therapy, group counseling, art therapy, and more, and will usually one to two structured and support meals.
Residential treatment provides 24-hour care/supervision for those who are medically stable but who are still engaging in eating disorder behaviors. Intensive supervision and support are still needed to help the patient stop his/her self-destructive eating disorder behaviors (i.e. self-induced vomiting, restrictive eating, compulsive exercise, etc.) that remain out of control. Specialized psychological intervention is more intensive then what is available with inpatient care. Daily self-reflection activities along with individual and group therapy are provided encouraging increasing self-responsibility for recovery. Residential treatment programs may be located in medical hospitals or exist separately on home-like grounds or estates.
Inpatient treatment is for people who are in significant physical danger and/or medically unstable. The person on an inpatient unit cannot be treated safely without the availability of immediate medical intervention. The intention is to provide a structured setting with the necessary intensive treatment required to deal with out of control and dangerous behaviors while providing medical management. Inpatient treatment provides 24-hour care in a medical or psychiatric unit which is designed to handle medical complications, begin weight restoration, respond to other self-destructive behaviors and begin psychological intervention.
*Insurance coverage, if available, will most likely cover only inpatient care. Typically a person struggling with an eating disorder who cannot be maintained on an outpatient basis is admitted to inpatient or residential treatment. The person struggling with an eating disorder may begin in an inpatient program and then move into residential care when he/she becomes medically stable.