What Does Day Treatment for Eating Disorders Look Like?

When you’re researching possible treatment program for for eating disorders, there will be a number of possibilities that arise, including day treatment (sometime called outpatient treatment). There is no one-size-fits-all way to treat eating disorders since every case is different, the flexibility afforded by day treatment offers a number of advantages. One of the most important of these is the fact that the person comes to an eating disorder treatment center for a certain amount of time in order to obtain specialized eating disorder counseling and other individualized treatments while still being able to maintain responsibilities regarding family, school, or work.

Look for These Components of High-Quality Day Treatment Eating Disorder Programs

  1. Day and Evening Options

A high-quality treatment program for eating disorders offers choices that fit into anyone’s schedule. For those who can free up time during the day, a day treatment program allows them to be at home with their families in the evening. For others, a day treatment program scheduled for the evening allows them to fulfill their work or school responsibilities and still attend their treatment sessions.

  1. Individualized Treatment Plan

While an outpatient eating disorder treatment center might provide the same list of options for treatment to all of their clients, not everyone will complete them at the same time or at the same pace. Creating an individualized treatment plan involved acknowledging that each woman has their own goals to meet before progressing further in treatment.

  1. Evidence-Based Therapy

A variety of eating disorder counseling options are usually present at modern eating disorder treatment centers. For most people, this comprises a combination of individualized counseling sessions with a psychiatrists and therapist, as well as group therapy sessions. Behavior-modification techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are also very useful in treatment most eating disorders. These kinds of evidence based therapy, in combination with exposure therapy, talk therapy and nutrition training, make recovery much more accessible.

  1. Therapeutic Groups

Therapeutic groups, such as those devoted to mindful eating, relapse prevention, and body image are important treatment options for eating disorders. They allow people to self-examine and develop coping skills in a supportive and peer-focused environment that facilitates healing and growth.

  1. Re-establishing a Relationship with Food

Whether it’s a restrictive, binging, or purging type of eating disorder, a client’s relationship with food and eating becomes distorted when an eating disorder strikes. Avoiding the topic of food might seem like it would be helpful to someone made uncomfortable by food, outright avoiding it altogether is nearly impossible and could even be counterintuitive. A notable component of virtually every eating disorder treatment program is the many ways in which food is incorporated naturally into each day. For example, a registered dietitian works weekly with clients to provide individualized nutrition therapy to meet their needs.

  1. Food- and Recovery-Based Activities

Other activities focused on food might include cooking classes and meal-planning sessions that educate about nutrition and the importance of eating for pleasure. Supported meals, restaurant visits, and grocery store outings provide real-world experiences that offer benefits to people in treatment. They help clients navigate these often-tricky social experiences in a way that is supportive. These real-world experiences also provide exposure to food in a setting that helps guide and support the clients every step of the way so they experience success, hope, and recovery.

Types of Treatment to Expect

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was originally developed for treating mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, and it has been proven to be equally effective for the treatment of eating disorders. In simplest terms, CBT is a kind of talk therapy that promotes mindfulness and objectivity through a Socratic dialectic process. This type of therapy is often used because it can help people quickly identify and learn to cope with challenges in their lives.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

This type of therapy is a modified form of CBT that is helpful in a talk therapy milieu as well as being an effective improvement tool for socialization. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) builds on the principles practiced in CBT. DBT is especially useful for people with especially strong emotions or who are prone to extreme mood swings. It’s one of the few therapies found to be useful with borderline personality disorder.

Nutritional Therapy

Nothing is more central to a successful long-term recovery from eating disorders than nutritional education and training. Nutritional therapy is almost always used in conjunction with other types of psychotherapy in eating disorder treatment centers. Most eating disorder treatment centers keep a staff of nutritionists and dieticians on hand to teach their clients about the importance of proper nutrition and how to achieve it. These professionals can help individuals rebuild their relationships with food and eating. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) states that treatment goals for both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa include developing a positive, or at least neutral relationship with food.

Art and Music Therapy

These types of alternative treatment combine creative arts and psychology therapy to promote healing and growth. Creativity can come in many forms when used in therapy, including music, dance, painting, or even journaling and other kinds of writing. Expressing themselves through a form of creative art can bring new perspectives, especially if the person has not been particularly artistic beforehand. A therapist will observe an individual’s impulses during the time of artistic expression since they provide new avenues of discussion in later therapy sessions.

Finding the Right Eating Disorder Treatment Center

You’ll want to find a center that provides a warm, supportive and medically-grounded option for eating disorder day treatment. By providing thorough management of both psychiatric and medical conditions, the highest level of care found outside of a hospital setting and daily exposure therapy, a modern treatment center can offer an accepting environment for clients to heal and recover from eating disorders people of all genders.  Reach out today to learn more about possible treatment options for eating disorders.

With 20 years of behavioral health business development experience, Carrie combines world-class marketing, media, public relations, outreach and business development with a deep understanding of client care and treatment. Her contributions to the world of behavioral health business development – and particularly eating disorder treatment – go beyond simple marketing; she has actively developed leaders for her organizations and for the industry at large.