One of the first choices to make when searching for bulimia nervosa treatment is the decision between outpatient and inpatient care. For many, outpatient care can seem more appealing because it allows individuals to keep up with their day-to-day lives, going home between treatment sessions. In contrast, inpatient care for bulimia and anorexia nervosa requires that individuals stay at the treatment center, which is obviously a larger commitment.
However, it is important that those seeking recovery understand that inpatient bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa treatment has definite advantages—benefits that can make treatment more effective.
Whether the individual is still struggling with the signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa after outpatient treatment, or the individual’s doctor, therapist and/or treatment team is recommending inpatient treatment from the beginning, inpatient care is sometimes the best path to becoming fully recovered.
Inpatient bulimia nervosa treatment is not always required. All individuals who see the signs of bulimia nervosa should consult with their doctor and therapist prior to choosing a treatment option. Of course, if the doctor or therapist indicates that inpatient treatment is most appropriate, individuals should take such advice to heart and do their best to find an inpatient program that is right for them.
10 Benefits of Inpatient Bulimia Nervosa Treatment
1. Inpatient treatment is equipped to help with other health issues related to the eating disorder.
The signs of bulimia nervosa can be quite concerning both for individuals and their families. Bulimia nervosa side effects can include heart problems, kidney failure and other severe health complications that require medical care. Unlike outpatient care, many inpatient programs can address these health concerns while also providing the treatments that are available in outpatient programs. Inpatient treatment programs typically have the professional staff and facilities necessary to help with bulimia nervosa side effects.
In situations where the health issues are most severe, it may be necessary for the individual to be hospitalized prior to admission to the treatment center. Once the major risks have been addressed and the individual is safe to leave the hospital, an inpatient treatment center makes the ideal transition. The medical team at the inpatient center can watch over the individual and ensure that he or she is safe and healthy as the other aspects of treatment begin.
2. Inpatient treatment can better address serious risks like suicidal thoughts.
Eating disorders are often accompanied by mental health issues. Sometimes these mental health issues can become severe enough that the individual considers self-harm, or even attempts self-harm. Inpatient treatment centers are staffed with mental health professionals who are qualified to treat a wide range of conditions including self-harm. There is also a staff on-site at inpatient treatment centers that can provide round-the-clock monitoring until the worst passes.
In treating eating disorders, it is always necessary to address the most pressing concerns first before moving on to other issues. An individual who is considering self-harm must be helped to emerge out of such thought patterns to ensure his or her safety, then treatment can begin for the eating disorder. The great advantage of inpatient care is that all of these issues can be addressed in one location with a trusted staff of compassionate professionals.
3. Inpatient care can make it easier for individuals living far from treatment to get help.
The signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa can be seen across the country, in both urban and rural settings. While many of those who struggle with an eating disorder will be near a treatment center, many others will not. For those far from treatment, outpatient programs can put an unwanted burden on individuals and their families due to long travel times to and from the center.
Outpatient care is desirable for many because it leaves time to do other things in life. But for those who may have to spend hours traveling to and from each treatment session, the free time is not always enjoyable. For such individuals, it may make more sense to go and stay at a treatment center for the time it takes to become fully recovered. Inpatient care is comfortable, and often luxurious, making it much less intimidating than many people expect. When an individual living a great distance from treatment notices the signs of bulimia nervosa, it may be beneficial to consider inpatient treatment.
4. Inpatient care lets individuals escape negative environments that may be contributing to the eating disorder.
It is often hard for those with bulimia nervosa symptoms to determine exactly what is causing their eating disorder. Part of the difficulty is due to the complexity of eating disorders. Part of the difficulty is also due to the closeness of the individual to the contributing factors, such as the environment he or she resides in. Friends, family, home life, work, school—there are numerous areas where individuals find that their bulimia nervosa symptoms get worse. However, many individuals are only able to see clearly when they are able to step away from the environment and gain perspective.
Inpatient treatment for bulimia nervosa symptoms is excellent for gaining perspective and escaping negative environments to see them for what they truly are. The individual can leave all of it behind for a time to focus on bulimia nervosa recovery, self-discovery and strengthening coping skills to avoid relapse. They are able to see the forest for the trees and go back home with a new appreciation for which environments are good for them, and which are not.
5. Inpatient treatment is excellent for treating severe cases of bulimia nervosa.
In situations where the bulimia nervosa is severe and requires regular monitoring, inpatient care just makes sense. If someone needs care round-the-clock in order to prevent behaviors related to his or her bulimia nervosa, there are few centers better equipped than inpatient centers for such monitoring.
There can be considerable variations in the extremity of bulimia nervosa symptoms, which is why individuals are always advised to see their therapists and talk with treatment center staff before choosing a treatment option. It can be hard for individuals to get an accurate picture of the severity of their conditions, so it is better to refer to a professional opinion in most cases. If the therapist, doctor or treatment center believe that the individual is in a condition that should require full-time monitoring, inpatient treatment is preferable to outpatient treatment.
6. Inpatient treatment can prove effective when outpatient treatment is not.
Sometimes individuals go through outpatient treatment and find that the results are not what they had hoped. While outpatient treatment can be excellent in many circumstances, there are times where individuals complete an outpatient program without achieving the bulimia nervosa recovery they had hoped for. When this happens, it may be time to consider an inpatient treatment program.
Outpatient treatment utilizes many of the same treatments found at inpatient centers. However, there is a significant difference between going to treatment two or three times a week and spending 24/7 at a treatment center for weeks or even months. Inpatient treatment focuses on treatment and supporting real change day after day and week after week. The momentum of such ongoing treatment develops is considerable, often enough to transport individuals from the struggle of an eating disorder to the clarity that comes with being fully recovered.
7. Inpatient treatment can more easily help treat anxiety and depression along with eating disorders.
The signs and symptoms of bulimia nervosa may be the most pressing in the mind of the individual and his or her family, but the eating disorder may not be the only issue. Eating disorders are often accompanied by other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. These mental health issues are just as important as the eating disorder and must be addressed if there is going to be progress in treating the eating disorder.
Inpatient treatment centers are staffed with mental health professionals that are qualified to treat anxiety and depression. A therapist can help individuals address their anxiety and depression while also addressing the eating disorder, which greatly increases the odds of becoming fully recovered.
Treatment center staff are trained to help individuals with a wide range of mental health concerns, so individuals can expect a warm and supportive environment—one free of judgment. It is well understood in treatment centers that it is necessary to treat the whole person, not just the eating disorder, to ensure success.
8. Inpatient treatment centers are often equipped to help individuals with coexisting medical conditions.
While bulimia nervosa side effects can certainly be severe, some individuals struggle with coexisting medical conditions that must also be considered during treatment. Not all treatment centers are capable of addressing medical conditions like diabetes or heart issues, especially outpatient treatment centers. Sometimes inpatient treatment is advisable because it makes the time spent in treatment safer for the individual. If a medical concern does arise, the staff at the inpatient treatment center is often better equipped to deal with it.
One of the significant benefits that come with inpatient care is having a full staff of treatment professionals available. The staff typically includes medical doctors, therapists, and nurses, all trained to cover the wide variety of physical and mental health concerns that are common in the treatment of eating disorders.
9. Inpatient care is ideal after hospitalization.
There are times when an eating disorder can become severe enough that hospitalization becomes a necessity. Few people desire to go to the hospital, but it is required nonetheless when the health of the individual can be best maintained in a clinical hospital setting. However, hospitalization is expensive and is not as comfortable as it could be. When the risk has been reduced and hospitalization is no longer required, inpatient treatment can provide the safe transaction individuals and their families need.
Inpatient treatment is less expensive than staying in the hospital and far more comfortable. The welcoming surroundings are staffed with medical and mental health professionals who can take care of most situations following a release from the hospital. It can be comforting for individuals and their loved ones to know that the support is there if needed. And it can be gratifying to realize that there is a path out of the difficulties of the eating disorder and toward a life of being fully recovered.
10. Inpatient care lets individuals dive fully into treatment—helping them become fully recovered and in control.
Part of the intimidation factor of inpatient treatment is the length of time it often takes to complete. Many individuals will spend a period of months in treatment, which can seem like a long time. When they look at outpatient treatment, they see that it may take longer because it is less frequent, but there is free time in between treatments that allows them to live their lives, go to work, go to school, etc.
There is something to be said about full immersion, however, which all potential individuals should think over before making a decision. Much like a language program that forces participants to speak only the new language for an extended period of time, inpatient treatment forces individuals to learn the language of recovery and use it day in and day out. The amount of change that can be achieved with such a full focus on treatment is often impressive.
A respected inpatient treatment program such as Oliver Pyatt will take the individual through the stages of the treatment process from beginning to end. Over time, the individual will be given increasing control over his or her eating, meal prep and exercise. The individual increases autonomy over an extended period, which strengthens his or her ability to act the way they prefer in real-world settings.
Even if inpatient treatment is not required by a doctor or therapist, it can still be the right choice for those who want to recover as quickly as they possibly can.
Walking the Path to Becoming Recovered
It is never easy to admit, to oneself or to others, that one struggles with an eating disorder. But once the admission is made, it becomes much easier to move forward with bulimia and anorexia nervosa treatment. Once treatment begins, the individual graduates to the path of bulimia nervosa recovery. Walked long enough, and with enough commitment, it will lead to a state of being fully recovered.