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Explaining Inpatient & Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment

outpatient eating disorder treatment

Eating disorders can place an individual at dangerous health risks as well as affect the brain. Both body and mind require a continuous intake of nutrient-rich foods to operate at their best. 

However, when someone is facing the challenges of an eating disorder, their nutritional intake is affected. Thankfully, there are a number of inpatient and outpatient eating disorder treatments available to help manage the symptoms of the illness and work toward recovery. 

If you or someone your love is struggling with an eating disorder and you would like more information on treatment, call us today at (844) 999-0874 or contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline via call or text at (800) 931-2237.

Eating Disorder as a Dual Diagnosis 

In some cases, disordered eating may be influenced by or co-occur alongside another mental health condition. This would be considered a dual diagnosis. To determine if a person is struggling with more than one illness, a doctor might ask them a series of questions. 

As stated by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, common conditions that may occur along with an eating disorder can include: 

  • Depression 
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD) 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) 
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse

General Signs of an Eating Disorder

While eating disorders comprise a broad spectrum, there are some general signs that someone is struggling with an eating disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), some signs that indicate disordered eating could include: 

Emotional Signs 

Because disordered eating can impact the brain and create maladaptive behaviors, emotional signs may become increasingly apparent over time. As stated by NEDA, a person who is struggling with an eating disorder condition may exhibit emotional symptoms like: 

  • Developing a sudden fixation with diet-related subjects like weight loss 
  • Becoming preoccupied with dieting-related behaviors like calorie counting 
  • Completely eliminating certain types of food from their diet for non-religious or non-medical reasons 
  • Reluctance to eat in the presence of others 
  • Skipping entire meals or only eating very small portions
  • Frequent dieting attempts
  • Social withdrawal
  • Preoccupation with their body’s size and shape
  • Often checking the mirror to examine their appearance
  • Drastic changes in mood 

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of an eating disorder may become more visible and apparent over time, depending on the condition someone is experiencing. For example, they may lose or gain drastic amounts of weight within a few months to a year.

According to NEDA, some generalized physical symptoms of eating disorders can involve:

  • Visible fluctuations in body weight 
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like acid reflux or difficulty going to the bathroom 
  • Struggling to concentrate on tasks 
  • Menstrual symptoms like missed periods 
  • Dizziness, particularly when transitioning from a seated to a standing position 
  • Feeling cold and other body temperature irregularities
  • Unusual bloodwork findings like anemia or low blood cell counts
  • Fainting 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Hair, skin, and nail dryness
  • Problems with teeth from vomiting 
  • Immune system impairments
  • Slow or improper wound healing

Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment Options for Eating Disorders 

Depending on the nature of one’s eating disorder and whether there are any dual diagnosis factors present, a doctor may recommend an inpatient or outpatient treatment. 

Inpatient Treatment for Eating Disorders

Inpatient treatment for eating disorders is a type of care that is typically provided in a hospital or residential setting. Patients who receive inpatient care are typically those who are at a higher risk for serious medical complications related to their disordered eating condition. 

An inpatient treatment plan generally includes around-the-clock supervision, as well as access to medical care and mental health support. The length of time that someone spends completing an inpatient treatment program will often vary depending on their individual needs. In some situations, patients may need to stay for only a few days or weeks. Others with more severe symptoms may need to remain in treatment for several months. 

During their time in recovery, patients will work with a team of professionals to address their physical and mental health needs. If another mental health condition is dual-diagnosed alongside the eating disorder, providing care for both will be factored into the treatment plan. 

Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment

An outpatient eating disorder treatment program is one in which the individual who is living with an eating disorder engages in regular appointments with doctors and therapists but lives at home and continues to work or go to school.  

In most outpatient settings, treatment is generally less intensive than other levels of care, such as inpatient treatment or partial hospitalization,  but still provides significant support and structure. Most outpatient treatment programs require a  commitment of several hours per week,  and some may also include family therapy or meal support. 

Get Eating Disorder Treatment in South Florida 

At Compassion Behavioral Health, our team of doctors and experienced licensed therapists collaborate to provide the highest level of care possible from our beautiful South Florida community. If you are looking to receive treatment for an eating disorder, we can help you implement a treatment plan to begin your journey to recovery. 

To learn more, call us today at (844) 999-0874 or reach out online at any time.