When someone is diagnosed with an eating disorder, professional treatment is the best way to ensure the individual has a good chance of achieving a full recovery. Several different types of eating disorder treatment programs are available, but the two most common forms are residential treatment and outpatient treatment. In general, residential eating disorder treatment centers provide the most intensive treatment experiences, which raises the chances of success for patients. However, after completing eating disorder residential treatment, returning immediately to normal life can be overwhelming for some patients. As a result, some patients choose to enroll in a supervised living program following the completing of residential treatment. These programs can help to ease the patient’s transition back into society.
About Supervised Living Programs
A supervising living program is a program a patient typically enters after completing residential treatment. These programs are not the same as residential treatment facilities, in that they are not as stringent or structured. However, they provide a higher level of care than outpatient programs. While enrolled in a supervised living program, patients typically live in a controlled environment under the supervision of trained staff. During this time, patients continue to focus on their recovery and receive ongoing treatment services, such as psychotherapy. Patients may also participate in other activities designed to provide encouragement, help them build life skills and make it easier for them to transition back to their normal life.
Benefits of Supervised Living Programs
Below are five ways in which supervised living is beneficial to people recovering from an eating disorder.
1. Supervised living programs provide patients with more structure.
One of the reasons residential eating disorder treatment is so effective is the level of structure associated with an inpatient program. This structure provides patients with a sense of routine and stability that makes it easier for them to overcome their disorders. While in the eating disorder residential program, the patient’s activities for each day of treatment are typically scheduled by the facility. Schedules are designed to provide the maximum amount of support to patients, reduce stress and ensure a successful treatment outcome. If a client leaves the residential treatment program and goes immediately back to a life with no structure, they are more likely to face intense triggers and a higher risk of relapse.
Supervised living programs provide less structure than residential treatment centers, but more structure than a return to normal life. This intermediate level of structure eases the transition process for patients, allowing them to adjust to triggers, practice their coping skills and reduce their risk of relapse.
2. Supervised living programs require patients to remain more accountable for their behavior.
In eating disorder residential treatment, patients are supervised heavily at all times. This supervision ensures that patients are not able to engage in the behaviors that define their eating disorders. For example, when an individual with anorexia nervosa is in a residential treatment program, he or she will not be able to restrict food or engage in food rituals. However, once a patient leaves the residential treatment facility, he or she has the freedom to return to these behaviors in secret if he or she so chooses. Although most patients plan to avoid these behaviors, stress and other triggers may tempt them to slip back into old habits.
When a patient enters a supervised living program, they are held accountable for their behavior for a longer period of time. This accountability can prevent patients from relapsing by making it more difficult for them to engage in disordered eating behaviors. Many patients find that this accountability also encourages them to work harder to build better coping skills and maintain their recovery.
3. Patients have more support while enrolled in supervised living programs.
One of the most important components of residential treatment programs is the support patients receive during treatment. This support helps patients stick to the program and have the strength they need to overcome the illness. However, after leaving residential eating disorder treatment, patients no longer have as much support. Without encouragement from the staff at the treatment facility, it becomes more difficult for patients to deal with triggers and avoid the behaviors that perpetuate their eating disorders.
When a patient enrolls in a supervised living program after leaving residential eating disorder treatment, he or she will continue to receive a higher level of support than would be available outside of treatment. The staff at the facility, as well as the other individuals living in the facility, will be actively involved in the patient’s life. These individuals can provide advice, encouragement, and empathy that help the patient deal with stress and other triggers that may have led to relapse.
4. Supervised living facilities can provide ongoing medical care.
Many patients recovering from eating disorders require medical care as a result of the effects of their illness. For example, people who have anorexia nervosa may develop nutritional deficiencies, heart problems, and other complications, especially if the disorder remained undiagnosed or untreated for an extended period of time. During a patient’s time in residential eating disorder treatment, he or she will typically have access to medical care to help address some of these issues. When leaving residential treatment, some patients may need ongoing medical care to help them continue their physical recovery. Outside of treatment, continuing this care can be more challenging for patients.
In a supervised living facility, staff members can assist patients who need ongoing medical care in making their appointments and ensuring that they comply with healthcare professionals’ recommendations. This improves patients’ health, which in turn makes it more likely that the patient will maintain his or her recovery.
5. Supervised living facilities provide better access to aftercare resources.
Aftercare is an important part of recovery for many patients who have completed a residential treatment program. Many residential eating disorder treatment centers either offer access to aftercare resources at the facility or will direct patients to these resources after their inpatient treatment is complete. However, when patients return to their normal lives, taking advantage of these resources becomes a challenge. In many cases, patients fail to utilize all of the resources available because of scheduling issues, travel inconvenience or other obstacles.
Spending time in a supervised living facility provides patients with better access to the aftercare resources they need to maintain a successful recovery. In many cases, some of these resources will be available within the supervised living facility itself. In addition, the staff at the facility will make sure that patients are able to take advantage of any resources available outside the facility as well.
Finding a Supervised Living Program
Many residential treatment centers offer supervised living programs as well. However, not all of these programs will provide the same benefits or level of care to patients. For this reason, it is important for patients leaving residential treatment centers to consider all of their options carefully and select a supervised living program that will meet their unique needs. Some of the characteristics that should be considered include:
● Accommodations: Different supervised living facilities offer different accommodations. While some facilities are more comfortable and luxurious, others provide only the most basic accommodations. Patients should compare the accommodations available and choose a facility that they find to be a comfortable and calm environment.
● Cost of care: Supervised living programs require patients to pay a fee for their accommodations and the services they receive. Different facilities will charge different fees and may have different payment options available. Before enrolling in a supervised living program, patients should be sure that the cost is fair and that they are able to pay for services according to the facility’s requirements.
● Services available: Each supervised living program is unique and will decide which services will be available to patients. Patients considering different supervised treatment centers should compare the services available and make sure that everything they need will be provided at the facility they choose.
● Structure of the program: Supervised living programs vary according to their structure. While some programs may be more restrictive, others provide patients with more freedom. Patients should be sure that they are comfortable with the way a supervised living program is structured before they move in.
● Reputation: Learning about a facility’s reputation among past patients is one of the best ways to determine whether a supervised living program provides effective services. To learn about a facility’s reputation, patients can research the facility online or talk to patients who have completed the facility’s supervised living program in the past.
Seeking Treatment in Residential Treatment Centers
Before entering a supervised living facility, many patients will need to spend time in residential treatment. During residential treatment, patients will live inside a facility designed to help them overcome eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and others. While in residential eating disorder treatment centers, patients may participate in psychotherapy, medical treatment, group therapy, alternative therapy and other treatments as they recover from the disorder. Patients are not typically permitted to leave the facility during treatment.
Like supervised living facilities, residential treatment centers are not all the same. Before selecting a residential treatment facility, patients working to recover from eating disorders should consider all of the different characteristics of the various programs available, including cost, location, accommodations, services, reputation and any other characteristic of interest.
Finding a Supervised Living Program or Residential Eating Disorder Treatment Near Me
When someone is ready to enter a residential living program or a supervised living program, he or she may ask “how do I find a supervised living program or residential eating disorder treatment near me?” Fortunately, it is easy to find a residential treatment facility near you simply by searching online. However, it is important to keep in mind that the location of a residential eating disorder treatment facility is not the most important factor to consider when choosing a program. Ensuring that the patient receives the best quality of treatment must always be the top priority.
Oliver-Pyatt Centers is proud to offer both residential treatment and a supervised living program to patients who are seeking to recover from eating disorders. Both of our programs offer comfortable accommodations, a variety of treatment services, support from a trained staff and much more. During our residential treatment program, patients will explore and address the root causes of their eating disorders to begin the recovery process. During our supervised living program, patients will continue their recovery in a supportive, structured environment designed to help them transition back to life outside of treatment. Please contact us to learn more about enrolling in a treatment program.