Finding the Right Eating Disorders Treatment Center for Your Needs

Learn more about finding the right eating disorders treatment center for your needs in this comprehensive article.

Table of Contents

An Overview on Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are severe mental health conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. An estimated 70 million people worldwide suffer from an eating disorder. With that, there is a significant increase in the number of people seeking treatment for eating disorders in the US. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some treatment centers have reported up to a 70% increase in demand. Finding a reputable eating disorders treatment center can make all the difference in the care and help you or a loved one receive.1

Questions About Treatment?

Let us guide you through your options and treatment opportunities. Contact Alternative Options today.

Finding Treatment

Eating disorders have significant physical and psychological effects. They can also be challenging to overcome without professional treatment.

However, finding the right treatment for you can feel equally as challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with the available options. Here, we will discuss important factors to consider when choosing an eating disorders treatment center. We will also cover the criteria to find one that meets your needs.

What Are Eating Disorders?

An eating disorder is a mental health condition characterized by abnormal eating habits. These eating habits negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health. They may also negatively affect them the longer that someone struggles with the disorder, as it can cause multiple health issues. Depending on the type of eating disorder that people have, they may be obsessed with their weight or attempt to purge the food they do eat from their body.2

Understanding Eating Disorders

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

These disorders can cause physical and emotional symptoms, such as:
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Depression and anxiety

Types of Eating Disorders and Associated Treatment Needs

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, and there are many types to be aware of. Some of them include the following:3

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by extreme food restriction, often accompanied by overexertion and exercise. Excessive weight loss happens due to these behaviors. Treatment for anorexia often involves cognitive-behavioral therapy or medical monitoring.

A Deeper Look at Anorexia

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by episodes of eating large amounts of food followed by behaviors to rid the body of calories. This means a person binge eats and then tries to rid themselves of the food. They use methods such as vomiting or taking laxatives. 

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is characterized by episodes of eating large amounts of food followed by feelings of guilt or shame. This is similar to bulimia, but those with binge eating disorder don’t always attempt to rid their bodies of the food afterward.

Binge Eating Disorder: Dispelling Common Myths

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

Extreme avoidance of certain foods characterizes ARFID. This is often because the individual feels overwhelmed or too anxious to eat certain foods. 
Finding a reputable eating disorders treatment center that can provide comprehensive and evidence-based treatment for eating disorders is essential to help those who struggle with their eating habits and body image.

Overview of Eating Disorder Clinics

Eating disorder clinics are designed to help individuals who battle eating disorders. These eating disorders can vary greatly and affect people in a multitude of ways. These issues may also be compounded if someone struggles with co-occurring disorders as well, such as anxiety or depression.4

Eating disorder clinics provide various treatment options depending on individual needs and the severity of the eating disorder. Treatment modalities include:5
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Exposure response prevention (ERP) therapy
  • Family-based treatments
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Inpatient treatment

Relevant Considerations

When looking for the right eating disorders treatment center, it’s essential to consider their screening process. This often includes ensuring that the clinic is accredited by the Joint Commission or another governing body. This shows that they have the training and certification to help with your symptoms.

Also, it’s important to take note of if they have a multidisciplinary team of eating disorder specialists with experience. Make sure to check whether or not the eating disorder clinic offers additional services such as nutritional counseling, support groups, or psychiatric medication management as well.

Importance of Finding the Right Eating Disorders Treatment Center

When it comes to eating disorders, getting the proper treatment is imperative. This means that finding an eating disorders treatment center that meets your needs is vital. This way, you or your loved one can get the quality care and help you deserve. Here are some of the key reasons why choosing the right eating disorder clinic is so important:

They Offer Tailored Programs For Your Individual Needs

Not all eating disorders are alike, and patients do not respond equally to the same treatments. That’s why finding a place with experience dealing with your particular type of eating disorder is crucial. They can create a tailored program for you to address symptoms.

They Have Qualified Staff

Eating disorders treatment centers have staff that are experienced in delivering care. This includes doctors, nurses, therapists, nutritionists, and other professionals. These professionals need to be adequately trained in eating disorder treatment methods.

They Offer Effective Therapy Modalities

Eating disorders treatment centers should offer various therapeutic modalities and are separate for individuals with different eating disorders.

They Are Accredited

This is very important. Quality eating disorders treatment centers need to be accredited and state-certified to offer the best care. Accreditation organizations include the Joint Commission and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD).
Additionally, some non-accredited eating disorder treatment centers may employ treatments not backed by scientific evidence.

They Offer Comprehensive Care

Eating disorders treatment centers should provide comprehensive treatment programs. They offer care that includes medical and psychological services, support groups, and other therapies to help you recover.

They Have a Good Reputation

Proper eating disorders treatment centers should also have a proven track record with delivering quality care. Speak with friends, family members, or colleagues to see if they have recommendations for care as well. 
Finding the right eating disorders treatment center can make all the difference in your treatment. Ensure you take the time to do your research. You will find an eating disorders treatment center that provides the support necessary for successful recovery.

Screening Process for Finding an Eating Disorders Treatment Center

The screening process for finding an eating disorders treatment center may involve several steps. Here are some key factors to consider:

What Are the Services They Offer?

When looking for an eating disorders treatment center, you should find one that offers the services you need. This means they have services that will help you achieve your recovery goals. These could include services such as:
  • Inpatient or outpatient program
  • Medical care
  • Dietary counseling
  • Therapy options, such as CBT and DBT
Eating disorder clinics offer various treatment modalities. So, screening based on the type of treatments they provide can be helpful.

Evaluating Staff Qualifications and Experience

Another factor in finding the best eating disorders treatment center is the personnel. Ensure you evaluate the staff’s qualifications and experience. Many eating disorder clinics employ a variety of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, nutritionists, nurses, and other professionals with expertise in eating disorders. It is essential to find out what qualifications each professional has and their level of experience with eating disorders.
Ask questions such as:
  • How long have they been working with eating disorders? 
  • What success rate have they achieved in helping people with eating disorders? 
  • Have any staff been personally affected by eating disorders? 
This information can help you gain insight into a particular eating disorder clinic and determine whether it suits your needs.

Location: Accessibility to Family and Transportation Options

Next up is accessibility. When searching for an eating disorders treatment center, consider the accessibility to family and transportation options. It is helpful if the eating disorder clinic is close enough to visit the center in person or via public transportation.
Looking for eating disorders treatment centers close enough for family and friends to visit regularly may be beneficial. Eating disorder treatment often involves family-based therapies. These therapies often involve the entire family in helping the one struggling with an eating disorder in order to truly get them the care they need. Finding a treatment center close to where you live can especially help in these situations.

Cost: Insurance Coverage, Payment Plans, Or Financial Assistance Available

Another vital consideration is financing. When finding the right eating disorders treatment center, the cost is often a deal breaker. Before committing to any clinic, it’s essential to research. This way, you can compare costs to find an affordable option that meets your needs. Many eating disorder clinics accept insurance, have payment plans, or offer financial assistance. 
Start by researching eating disorder clinics in your area that accept your insurance. Look at their websites for information about their services and what types of payment plans are available. If you don’t have health insurance, you may be able to pay out-of-pocket or apply for financial assistance through government programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.


Word of mouth is often the best bet for services like this. Ask friends and family with experience with eating disorders or treatment centers if they can provide any referrals. It’s also a good idea to look up eating disorder clinic reviews online or talk to your primary care provider about providing you with a referral. Additionally, many eating disorder clinics will have their own websites listing their services and accreditation status.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to visit an eating disorder clinic before deciding on one. Most eating disorder clinics will allow you to tour the facility and meet with clinicians before committing. This will allow you to better understand the eating disorder treatment center and ensure it provides a safe, secure environment for recovery. By taking the time to research eating disorder clinics and ask questions, you can find the right eating disorders treatment center that can help you or your loved one successfully recover from an eating disorder.

Questions to Ask When Narrowing Down Your Options

Now that we have considered all these factors, you may already have a list of eating disorders treatment centers that you are thinking about attending. Here are a few other questions you can ask to help narrow down your search:

What Is the Length of Stay? Long-Term Vs. Short-Term Treatment

Long-term eating disorder clinics are designed for individuals who need more intensive care and support over a longer period. This generally means a stay of two months or greater. These eating disorder treatment centers typically offer a multidisciplinary approach which may include the following:
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Meal planning
  • Medical monitoring

Additional Things to Consider With Treatment

Additionally, these programs may provide additional services such as art and music therapy, yoga, or meditation classes to promote holistic healing.

On the other hand, short-term eating disorder clinics usually offer programs that last two weeks or less and focus on providing support through individualized nutrition plans and culinary education. These eating disorder clinics are often highly specialized and provide a safe, supportive environment where individuals can focus on meal planning and eating habits. They may also offer family therapy or support groups to promote a collaborative approach to eating disorder recovery.
If you have any questions about how long you should stay in a particular eating disorders treatment center, discuss this with your healthcare provider. 

What Type of Aftercare Is Available?

Since eating disorders are serious illnesses that require comprehensive treatment, try to find out what type of aftercare services the clinic provides. Eating disorder clinics should provide ongoing support, as eating disorders are long-term illnesses with a high risk of relapse. Aftercare services may include the following:

  • Weekly therapy sessions
  • Diet and nutrition counseling
  • Monitoring weight gain or loss
  • Continued support from eating disorder specialists

Is There A Follow-Up Program in Place?

When looking for an eating disorders treatment center, it is important to ensure that there is a follow-up program in place. This means the eating disorder treatment center has established programs and protocols for follow-ups after the initial assessment. This varies from aftercare, as it tends to be more medical in nature rather than relapse prevention.
Any eating disorder clinic should have a clear and defined plan of care that addresses your individual needs and goals. This may include:
  • Regular check-ins with professionals
  • Doctor visits
  • Meal plans consisting of healthy food options

Tips for Supporting a Loved One With an Eating Disorder

Supporting a loved one who is suffering from an eating disorder can be challenging at times. However, it’s important to give your loved one as much support and care as you’re able to. Here are some tips for ways to provide support to your loved one:

  • Educate yourself about eating disorders. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to help support them.
  • Listen and validate their feelings without judgment or criticism. Allow your loved one to express themselves fully and openly so they do not feel like they have to hide anything.
  • Remind them of their worth and importance in your life. Speak positively and encourage them to reach out for professional help if needed.
  • Show kindness and patience during difficult times, as eating disorders can take time to heal. Utilize positive reinforcement, such as praising them for eating meals and taking steps towards recovery.
  • Accompany your loved one to doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions. This can help give them a sense of comfort and security in knowing they have someone who cares by their side.
  • Offer practical help, such as grocery shopping or meal prepping.
  • Respect boundaries. Eating disorders are deeply personal struggles, so be mindful of not pushing too hard or giving unsolicited advice.

Getting Help For Eating Disorders at Alternative Options

Eating disorders are severe mental health conditions. They require specialized treatment for successful recovery. Finding the right eating disorders treatment center is crucial to a full and lasting recovery.
The most important thing is to remain understanding and supportive throughout recovery. Eating disorders are severe mental health conditions and can be challenging to overcome. Still, it is possible to recover fully with the right help and a supportive network of family and friends. You can also build a foundation for eating disorder recovery with the right eating disorders treatment center. You can learn new ways of managing your symptoms and working through potential risks as well.6

Alternative Options: Opportunities for Wellness

Alternative Options is a patient-focused treatment center that helps individuals recover from various mental health issues and eating disorders with proper care. We offer outpatient and inpatient counseling services to individuals for mental health, eating, and substance abuse disorders.

Alternative Options provides treatment for various types of eating disorders, including:

Reach Out and Begin Healing

We offer evidence-based treatments for these disorders, including individual therapy, group therapy, and nutrition counseling. Reach out to us today if you or a loved one need help recovering from your eating disorder. We will be with you every step of the way during your healing process.