Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are serious mental health issues that affect millions of people in the UK alone.
Clinics offer specialist services, including psychological treatments, nutritional support, and family therapy on an inpatient or outpatient basis to help those struggling with eating disorders manage their symptoms and recover.
People with EDs have the highest mortality of any psychiatric illness, yet they have nearly the lowest rate of engagement with treatment. 80% of people with psychosis access treatment, whilst it’s estimated that only 23% of people with an ED will.
As with any health problem, getting help at the early stages is important.
Choosing the right clinic is an important and difficult decision often made during a crisis which makes a choice even harder; this blog post will discuss some key considerations when selecting an eating disorder treatment and recommend questions to ask.
- Eating disorder clinics provide specialist mental health services for those suffering from disordered eating such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
- Evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and family-based therapy are offered to help individuals identify maladaptive thoughts or behaviours contributing to their condition.
- Qualified professionals provide nutritional support, including meal plans, nutrition education, and an understanding of metabolism.
- Inpatient treatment programmes for more severe cases as well as outpatient care, is available in addition to specialist aftercare provision following recovery.
What Makes An Eating Disorder Clinic?
Eating disorder treatment provides specialist mental health services to individuals suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other disorders related to disordered eating.
Of all the mental health problems clinics, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate. It is estimated that one in five sufferers of anorexia nervosa will ultimately die from direct or indirect consequences of their illness.
This is why specialist understanding and knowledge is important in eating disorder treatment clinics and in inpatient treatment in particular.
It is a safe and supportive space. Just as people can accelerate their academic progress by being together in an educational organisation such as a university, it is the same for learning how to manage an Eating disorder.
By being alongside other people with the same problems, it is much easier to recognise our own unhealthy behaviours and psychological processes, and it is also much easier to see how we can recover.
Seeing someone else making progress just a little way ahead of us in their treatment process can give us the confidence to take one more small step forward.
Seeing someone much further down the line or speaking with a therapist can feel like too big a leap, but seeing someone in treatment with us who was struggling last week and this week has made a little progress gives us immediate hope.
The types of evidence-based therapy that may be offered include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), family therapy, group cognitive processing therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy.
Although an Eating disorder is a painful problem to live with, it is something that people have become used to living with. It may also have become a primary coping mechanism.
This means that any change can feel unusual and uncomfortable simultaneously. Having support 24 hours a day gives them a chance to change this.
Support will often be provided by a team of highly skilled professionals, including dietitians, nurses and occupational therapists, which can help patients to understand their relationship with food better. Healthy meal planning strategies targeting body weight restoration along with management of associated medical complications caused by malnutrition.
Patients at an eating disorder treatment centre can access multidisciplinary teams of consultant psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and trained therapists.
Having this team working in the same place makes it easier for them to coordinate their help and integrate their insights into each other’s care plans.
Services Offered By Eating Disorder Clinics
Eating disorder clinics provide essential services, including evidence-based therapies, nutritional support, and inpatient and outpatient care.
Evidence-based therapies are the foundation of any effective treatment for eating disorders, and many clinics provide a range of therapeutic approaches to meet the needs of their patients.
These include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and family-based therapy.
CBT is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify maladaptive thoughts and behaviours contributing to their disordered eating, replacing these with healthier coping strategies to break destructive patterns.
DBT helps those suffering from emotional dysregulation understand how distorted feelings affect thinking, promoting mindfulness techniques that can help manage stressful events without resorting to old habits.
DBT – RO is a newer form of DBT specifically designed to assist with controlling and restrictive behaviours.
Family-based therapy takes place with family and loved ones present. Rather than focusing on the person receiving treatment, family therapy should involve every member and invite them all to talk about themselves and the family dynamics.
There is also a focus on how the family members can engage in contact and activities that will be fun and engaging for everyone and promote recovery.
In treating eating disorders, patients can expect to receive nutritional support from qualified health professionals on their recovery journey.
This may include understanding how to develop healthier relationships with food and their bodies.
Eating plans should be simple, so they will be easy to replicate back home.
Inpatient eating disorder treatment And Outpatient Care
Eating disorder clinics offer a range of treatments for adult patients, including inpatient and outpatient treatment. Inpatient eating disorder treatment involves staying at the clinic for a period of time, usually anywhere between one to four weeks.
Meanwhile, outpatient services provide access to similar therapies with less structure than inpatient ones. Patients generally attend daily or weekly sessions and can continue to meet their daily responsibilities while engaging in their ongoing treatment plan.
These may include group or individual therapy sessions supplemented by nutrition education and medical monitoring if needed.
Choosing The Right Clinic: Factors To Consider And Questions To Ask
When it comes to deciding on the right clinic, there are a number of things you should take into consideration and questions you should ask.
Important factors can include treatment options, the qualifications and experience of the therapists at the clinic, location convenience and costs associated with seeing specialists or undergoing treatments.
If possible, try to get feedback from former patients about their experiences at different clinics to make an informed decision. When considering which clinic may be best for your recovery journey, here are some suggestions of what you might ask:
– How long has this specific practice been serving individuals with eating disorders?
– What types of evidence-based therapies do they offer for short-term acute care and ongoing services?
– What is the scope of their multidisciplinary team (e.g., mental health professionals such as psychologists or psychiatrists, occupational therapists, dietitians)?
– Are group therapy sessions provided? If so, how often and what’s covered in each session?
– What family therapy options are offered by specialists within the facility (if any)?
These questions will help you find a suitable clinic to provide an effective treatment plan for your needs.
Taking time to research all factors before committing yourself can enable one to create healthy changes over a period rather than expecting overnight results – something extremely helpful when embarking on one’s recovery journey towards better physical well-being alongside improved mental health.
When treating individuals with eating disorders, it’s important to consider whether they benefit from being treated alongside others with similar conditions as well as individuals who suffer from different compulsive disorders.
Being with clients with different compulsive disorders can help them recognize parallel processes. Being Only among people with the same symptoms can create a culture that makes it difficult to imagine how individuals who don’t have an eating disorder might act or feel. Ideally, it’s best to seek an environment with both.
It is important for people suffering from eating disorders to seek professional help. This group generally gets too little help and gets it too late.
Eating disorder clinics offer eating disorder specialists who deliver evidence-based therapies, nutritional support and other services which work together to promote positive outcomes in recovering individuals.
A range of professionals with different specializations provides individualized care that helps recovery journeys. When looking into options for appropriate eating disorder treatments, one should consider the location and level of care best suited, costings, and ongoing availability of aftercare services while selecting a clinic best able to meet one’s needs.
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