Eating disorders bring about many complex challenges for young women – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally, as well. These disorders – whether bulimia, anorexia, binge eating – play a distortionary role in the brain, altering how a woman feels, thinks, and sees herself. Whether it is you or a loved one suffering from an eating disorder, know that there is help available. And despite how you might feel in this very moment, recovery from an eating disorder is possible.
There are a variety of options available for women today – inpatient, outpatient, psychotherapy, hospitalization. The right type of treatment for you will vary depending on your needs, your symptoms, their extent, as well as any co-occurring disorders that might be feeding your disorder. Right now, you may be considering outpatient eating disorder treatment.
What is Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment?
Outpatient eating disorder treatment is the most flexible level of care available, in that it enables women to attend counseling sessions and treatment appointments at a dedicated facility, while still continuing to live in their own homes. Unlike inpatient, women do not need to move into a treatment center to receive care, therefore keeping treatment from disrupting their work, family, or day-to-day lives. However, there is an important distinction to make. Outpatient eating disorder treatment is still very structured in nature, requiring women to receive counseling, therapy, and ancillary services on a routine basis.
Of course, outpatient eating disorder treatment will vary depending on a woman’s age and needs. Outpatient treatment for teens, for example, must take into account a young woman’s school schedule and outside obligations.
Because eating disorders challenge so many aspects of a woman’s health, outpatient eating disorder treatment must be multifaceted. According to , treatment “must address the eating disorder symptoms and medical consequences, as well as psychological, biological, interpersonal, and cultural forces that contribute to [it].” These are all important considerations when choosing an outpatient treatment center.
What are the Benefits of Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment?
Outpatient eating disorder treatment is advantageous in that it allows young women to continue engaging in work, school, and other life priorities while still getting the treatment they need. Even more, these women can actively practice their newly learned coping skills and nutritional habits throughout their daily lives. With outpatient treatment, women are able to utilize personal support systems at home – such as family – which can strengthen treatment benefits and lead to high rates of success in recovery.
Added to the fact that women do not need to put their lives on hold to pursue outpatient eating disorder treatment, there are many other benefits that this level of program can offer:
- Individualized Therapy Plans – Outpatient therapists who specialize in eating disorders provide regular counseling sessions that are tailored to each client’s needs. They help clients get to the root of their eating disorders, overcome any destructive thoughts, build confidence, and further establish a more positive self-image as a result.
- Nutritional Counseling – Outpatient eating disorder treatment centers often are equipped with teams of licensed, clinical Dieticians to help in the recovery process. At Turnbridge, for example, a trained Dietician helps clients to normalize eating and establish a balanced, sustainable relationship with food – free from negative or distorted thoughts about oneself.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a method of therapy used in a variety of recovery programs. For eating disorders specifically, CBT is used to help clients overcome issues with body image, to develop coping skills for negative or stressful thoughts, and to regain the skills needed to break compulsive eating or dieting habits.
- Support Groups and Meetings – Peer support is an essential part of the recovery process, and for women battling an eating disorder, having support groups to meet with on a weekly or bi-weekly basis is a hugely valuable resource. An outpatient eating disorder treatment center typically focuses heavily on group therapy and meetings, which are held by trained therapists.
Who is Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment Right For?
Outpatient eating disorder treatment is typically pursued by women who are medically stable and not at extremes with their eating disorders – they are not malnourished, and do not need hospitalization for their current condition. Outpatient programs are also often pursued by women who have already pursued an inpatient eating disorder treatment program, and need support in transitioning back to life while in recovery.
Another consideration when deciding on outpatient eating disorder treatment is the level of support at home. Women in outpatient treatment often rely on family members for help in staying on track and keeping healthy – and according to the , these loved ones can be an incredible source of support. Outpatient eating disorder treatment, however, is only right for the woman that is able to live her life and still commit to her recovery and health. She must be able to attend meetings regularly, as well as every appointment, to make outpatient treatment work.
It is important to keep in mind that there are varying levels of outpatient eating disorder treatment, from Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) to Partial Hospitalization (PHP), to standard programs of care. Again, the right program will be the one that best meets your physical, mental, and emotional needs.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder but are unsure whether (or which) outpatient eating disorder treatment is right for you, know that you can always reach out to Turnbridge. Our clinical staff will assist you in evaluating your treatment needs, and can guide you in taking the right next step. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.