Treatment Options For Eating Disorders

Treatment options for individuals with eating disorders almost always involve a team approach. Typical team members include a primary care physician, a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and nutritional consultants. This team of professionals assists with medical monitoring, dietary coaching and therapeutic interventions to change behaviors and distorted thoughts that accompany the illness.

Treatment can occur in a hospital setting, residential setting or on an outpatient setting. An additional component to the team approach is family involvement in treatment.


Psychotherapy treatment involves counseling an individual to identify and challenge irrational thinking that distorts body image. Counseling helps the individual to examine what is healthy and positive about their body size and shape, and develop healthier eating habits. Effective treatment modalities include cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy. Most treatment plans involve family involvement to provide education to family members and build support for recovery.

Medication Management

Psychotropic medications are considered when co-occurring disorders such as depression complicate recovery from an eating disorder. Some psychotropic medications can help with common symptoms that occur with eating disorders, such as anxiety, poor self-esteem and compulsive thoughts. It is important to have a comprehensive physical exam and discussion with your treatment provider. Additionally, medical complications are common with eating disorders and must be addressed in the overall treatment plan. Some medical complications, from eating disorders, are so severe they become life threatening.

Treatment Settings

Treatment for eating disorders is provided in different types of settings determined by the individual's needs and medical stability. Inpatient hospitalization and residential treatment facilities are the most intense level of care and appropriate for individuals that require medical monitoring. Intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization offers day programing including therapy and some medical services.

Updated: 4/12/2021 11:12:19 AM