How to Find the Right Eating Disorder Therapy Program For You
Here in America, about 20 million women and 10 million men will experience some form of an eating disorder over the course of their lifetimes. These are illnesses that can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, or background; and specialists now largely agree that it is a combination of sociocultural, biological, and psychological factors that will make someone more or less susceptible to developing an eating disorder.
Side Effects of Eating Disorders
There are a wide range of side effects and health consequences that someone living with an eating disorder could experience, as these disorders can have a profound effect on every single one of the body’s organ systems. These issues can also harm people mentally, and can even prove to be fatal. This is why it is important to intervene early and find the best-suited treated program for an individual.
Types of Therapy Programs
The National Eating Disorders Association explains that there are many different levels of care in terms of eating disorder therapy; the one your doctor will recommend for you will depend on the particulars of your situation.
- This route is typically used with patients who do not need daily monitoring and are medically stable
- These patients are also psychiatrically stable and have their symptoms under enough control that they are able to function under regular circumstances while simultaneously recovering from their eating disorder
- This treatment route covers individuals who are medically stable as well, however:
- Their eating disorder impairs their functioning, though it does not pose an immediate risk
- They need daily mental and physiologic assessment
- This treatment may also cover individuals who are psychiatrically stable, although:
- They cannot function in regular settings
- They engage in pathogenic weight control techniques such as fasting, bingeing/purging, and more on a daily basis
- This treatment involves patients who are medically stable and do not need intensive medical intervention, however:
- They are psychiatrically impaired and are not able to adequately respond to outpatient or partial hospital treatment programs
- This treatment route is for patients that are medically unstable or psychiatrically unstable.
- The former is determined by:
- The patient having unstable or depressed vital signs
- They are experiencing complications from coexisting medical issues like diabetes
- Laboratory findings show an acute risk to their health
- The latter is determined by:
- Someone being suicidal or being unable to contract for their safety
- They are experiencing symptoms that are rapidly and progressively worsening
Another important part of your treatment plan will be determining what kind of psychotherapy you will undergo to accompany it. Different types of psychotherapy will work better or worse depending on your situation, so it is important to remember that no two recovery journeys from an eating disorder will necessarily look alike.
Questions to Ask a Specialist
The National Eating Disorders Association offers a list of questions you could ask a potential treatment provider. These questions include:
- Are you a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders?
- How are you licensed?
- How long have you been treating individuals with eating disorders?
- How would you describe your style of treatment?
- What is your experience in treating eating disorders?
- About how long will the treatment process take?
- How do you involve my family members and/or friends in my recovery process?
- Which insurance plans do you accept?
- Do you deal directly with the insurance companies, or does the responsibility fall on me?
- When is payment for your services due?
- Do you offer sliding scale payment options?
- How will we know if and when it’s time to conclude my treatment?