Residential treatment for eating and exercise disorders provides a highly-structured environment that also offers round-the-clock medical and psychiatric treatment in a controlled, safe environment. It provides a higher level of care than any other setting expect full hospitalization, and offers the best long-term outcomes than IOP of PHP do by themselves. While every program is different (as is every individual in treatment, of course), there are some unique benefits of a program that places their clients’ focus entirely on recovery.
First, What Exactly Is Residential Treatment?
Because they are all dedicated to helping people overcome their eating disorders, on some level, every eating disorder treatment center tends to provide certain kinds of programs, chief among which is a dedicated residential program. Although outpatient programs are usually offered as a standalone as well as step-down levels of care, for more ingrained or serious cases of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, residential treatment is preferred.
Residential, also sometimes termed “inpatient,” simply means that the individual lives at a treatment center for a set period while they receive treatment. There is a full-time staff available for the physical and mental safety of their clients. This team is typically comprised of therapists, psychiatrists, and other staff members who are working together to support the client and their treatment plan. As meals and snacks are provided at the facility as well, the program will include nutritionists and dieticians and often in-house chefs to ensure the food is nutritious, fulfilling, and delicious.
Regular therapy sessions, as well as weekly meetings to assess progress toward goals, are other components that one is likely to find in nearly any eating disorder residential program. When deciding on getting help for a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa or another eating disorder, looking beyond the generalized programs toward the more specialized ones can be a great advantage for people seeking the kind of treatment that takes their personal situation into consideration.
One key factor is the facility’s ability to treat co-occurring disorders. Eating disorders usually exist at the same time as other mental health disorders. Mot prominent among these is PTSD, which often acts as a trigger or underlying cause of disordered eating behaviors, but other mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder are also common. At a residential treatment center, there is also the capability to treat some of the medical complications that might arise from an eating disorder, such as anemia, malnutrition, lanugo, and dental isues.
Unique and Beneficial Features of Residential Treatment
To get a real feel for an eating disorder residential program, it’s necessary to look beyond the basics and determine what unique programs are available that match your needs.The psychiatric and medical communities learn more every day about the importance of specialized programs for specific populations, such as transgender groups, seniors, adolescents, or importantly in eating disorder treatment, women. While the common misconception that only women get eating disorders isn’t true by a long shot, they do affect women more commonly than men. Trans and LGBTQ people face an even higher rate of eating disorders. That’s why programs that cater to every person’s specific needs and gender identity are often necessary.
Although these kinds of groups can be organized in a group therapy session during day treatment (whether virtual or in -person), they are more effective when the relationships can buid day-to-day with largely the same group of peers. Residential treatment offers a unique opportunity for fellow recovering individuals to form bonds with and support each other. In combination with the in-house care providers, both medical and therapeutic, residential treatment provides the most focused method of enabling a full recovery.
Treating the Underlying Causes as Well as the Disorder
Many people who enter residential treatment centers do so with co-occurring conditions. While every woman’s experience is different, these conditions are common enough and complex enough to require co-occurring treatment. For some, a co-occurring condition such as anxiety or depression could lead to an eating disorder. Other people might find that pressure by the media and society at large to fit a certain weight or image requirement has caused their distorted self-image and the disordered eating. In either of these situations, there is a certain level of comfort which can come from being around people who understand these pressures and feelings, underlining the need for group therapy among peers.
During any residential treatment program, attending groups provide a level of support and camaraderie that builds on that which they receive from the medical professionals they’re working with. Focus groups that specialize in recovery and healing from substance use disorder, for example, ensure that women are interacting with others who have shared some of the same experiences. In other words, not every program will work for each individual. Thus, individualized programs that have the flexibility to focus on specific areas of development are a must.
Residential Programs Can Ease Re-Entry Into the “Real World”
At the end of their stay at a residential treatment center, each recovered individual may have a somewhat anxiety-inducing choice to make – how to best go back to their daily lives and maintain their recovery. The best eating disorder inpatient centers build real-life exposures into the treatment plan, to in essence “practice” going home recovered.
Some examples of those kinds of experiences that allow people who are rediscovering their healthy self might take part in could include preparing a meal and eating it together, family-style, with other residents, meal planning and shopping for food for the coming week or ordering a meal in a restaurant. By practicing these skills in a supportive environment, women can practice their coping skills so they come more naturally to them.