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Anorexia Treatment Centers

Learn about anorexia treatment centers, both inpatient and outpatient anorexia treatment facilities. Who needs an anorexia treatment center and cost?

Patients seeking treatment for anorexia, a serious eating disorder, will find that there are two major types of anorexia treatment facilities. One type of anorexia treatment facility offers outpatient care, while others provide care in a residential facility. Both types of facilities will tailor the anorexia treatment program to meet the needs of each patient.

Services Provided by Anorexia Treatment Centers

Treatment options for anorexia can include medical care, nutritional counseling, or psychological treatment through either group or individual sessions. The range of services offered is intended to help anorexia patients return to a healthy weight with a healthy outlook regarding food and weight. The options offered vary by anorexia treatment facility. Details of the treatment plan and individualized goals are normally worked out during the first treatment meeting.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Anorexia Treatment Facilities

Inpatient anorexia treatment centers provide 24-hour care at a residential facility. The patient lives there for the duration of treatment. The average stay at an anorexia treatment center is about four to five months, but it can extend to six months or longer. Treatment at this facility includes both medical and psychological care. Examples of the treatment offered include medical care for the symptoms of anorexia, nutritional counseling, eating disorders group therapy and support sessions, and individual psychological counseling.

Typically, inpatient anorexia treatments are meant for those with more extreme or long-term cases of anorexia. The goal of an inpatient anorexia treatment facility is to transition patients to less intensive levels of treatment, such as outpatient services. Meanwhile, the residential facility provides a high level of supervision and care, helping the patient to achieve a healthy weight and improved outlook regarding body image and food.

The major difference between these anorexia treatment facilities and outpatient treatment is the amount of supervision provided. Inpatient care offers a very structured atmosphere, and allows the patient to focus on their psychological and physical well-being, away from the distractions and pressures of daily life. The constant care is preferable for patients in danger of relapsing or who need medical attention for the complications of anorexia. In addition, treatments in inpatient facilities are more likely to be tailored to each patient's individual needs.

Outpatient programs, on the other hand, allow a patient to continue to attend school or work. Usually, patients commit to treatment programs that meet a few hours per week, although there are more intensive outpatient programs requiring patients to meet with counselors for several hours each day. When compared to inpatient anorexia treatment facilities, outpatient care usually means fewer hours of treatment, and may not offer as many therapy types. Outpatient anorexia treatment facilities are not as comprehensive as inpatient ones, but provide more flexibility by offering the option to choose which types of therapy are appropriate.1

Choosing Inpatient or Outpatient Care

Both inpatient and outpatient anorexia treatment facilities can be beneficial. Each facility differs in the amount and type of care provided. Consider how much you and afford to spend, as well as how much time you can take away from work and other obligations. Outpatient care can be a very helpful means of recovery for anorexia patients who cannot afford to stay at an inpatient treatment facility for months at a time. On the other hand, the constant medical attention available through inpatient care may be necessary for severe cases. An intake assessment can help you determine whether an inpatient anorexia treatment center is needed.

The Cost of Anorexia Treatment Facilities

The cost of treatment for anorexia varies greatly due to the range in severity of anorexia cases. Because treatment for this disorder requires a range of behavioral, psychological, nutritional, and medical approaches, treatment costs can be high. In general, patients with long-term, extreme cases will require more extensive treatments than those whose eating disorder has been caught earlier. In addition, therapy for anorexia nervosa can last two years or more, increasing the cost of treatment. Costs for inpatient treatment average about $30,000 per month. As can be expected, less intensive outpatient treatments come at a reduced cost. Many patients opt for outpatient therapy because of its lower cost.

Insurance Coverage for Anorexia Treatment Centers

Treatments for anorexia, a recognized medical disorder, are generally covered by insurance. However, many insurance policies do not cover long inpatient treatments. Often, patients opt for outpatient treatment because of the high cost of inpatient anorexia treatment centers, or end treatment before they are fully recovered, if staying in a residential anorexia treatment facility. It is a good idea to consult with your insurance company before being admitted to a treatment program in order to determine what amount of insurance reimbursement to expect for the services provided by the anorexia treatment center.2

article references

next: Anorexia Support: How to Support Someone with Anorexia
~ all anorexia articles
~ all articles on eating disorders

Last Updated: 14 May 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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