What is Inpatient Eating Disorder Treatment?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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Many experts consider eating disorders to be a serious problem that is frequently misunderstood and often incorrectly explained. Like alcohol addiction, eating disorders are often considered to be mental or psychological problems that manifest through physical behaviors. Treatment options for eating disorder patients often combine psychological treatment in some form with support groups and medical care. An inpatient eating disorder treatment allows people with conditions such as anorexia and bulimia to receive constant structured care meant that can give them tools to deal with their condition effectively.

Inpatient eating disorder treatment facilities operate in a similar manner to addiction rehabilitation centers. Patients live in the facility and attend daily treatment sessions, group discussions, and activities. Unlike a rehab, inpatient eating disorder treatment is almost always on a voluntary basis, except in the case of minors or those requiring hospitalization due to severe disorder-related health issues.

In addition to receiving medical and psychological attention, many inpatient eating disorder treatment programs provide education in proper nutrition and fitness habits. By giving patients accurate factual information on the nutritional needs of the body, treatment specialists hope to give them reasons to make healthy choices about food. As compulsive exercise or exercise addiction is often a common sign of unhealthy body image and related eating disorders, it is also important to instill the difference between a healthy exercise routine and a destructive one.


Probably the most important part of an inpatient eating disorder treatment is the constant attention given to psychological well-being. People with eating disorders are often characterized as vain, but many experts suggest that patients instead suffer from devastating self-image delusions that result in unhealthy behaviors. Treatment centers work to get at the underlying psychological issues that drive a patient's symptoms, instead of simply trying to correct unhealthy behavior. In addition to therapy sessions with mental health professionals, patients often have the opportunity to interact with each other through group sessions.

There are many private inpatient eating disorder treatment facilities throughout the world, each with specific rules and requirements for entering patients. Although the cost of inpatient programs can be quite high, some do accept health insurance, particularly if the treatment is at the referral of a doctor or mental health professional. Some experts believe that, rather than a last resort treatment, inpatient programs are very effective when used as a first strike against an eating disorder. In addition to helping patients quickly identify body issues and replace unhealthy habits, early treatment can help prevent the multitude of severe health consequences caused by long-term eating disorders.



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