Rehab for Eating Disorder: Treatment Centers, Signs, Causes and Outpatient vs Inpatient  Program Options

Find out about the different symptoms, warning signs, causes, types, diagnosis, and eating disorder treatment center options

 Also, many people assume that an eating disorder is a lifestyle choice.

However, this could not be further from the truth because it is a serious mental disorder that can be fatal if rehab for eating disorders is not gotten from professional outpatient or inpatient treatment centers.

According to the National Institute of Health, surveys show a 2.7% lifetime prevalence of eating disorders among adolescents in the U.S. The survey also showed the prevalence for adults is as follows: bing eat 1.2%, bulimia nervosa .3%, and anorexia nervosa .6%.

When a person is preoccupied with body weight, food, and body shape, it could be a sign of an eating disorder and finding the best rehab for eating disorder asap at a treatment center is extremely important.

This types of mental disorders are associated with disturbances within the eating behaviors of a person and can be very severe.

Recovery starts with a proper diagnosis. So if one is showing signs of eating disorders, then it is important to contact outpatient or inpatient eating disorder treatment centers or primary physician so that he or she can be screened the right treatment plan.

What are eating disorders?

So what is an eating disorder? Eating disorders can be described as mental illnesses which cause severe disturbances in a person’s eating behaviors.

These behaviors are usually associated with emotions and thoughts.

Persons with this kind of disorder are usually preoccupied with body weight and food. 


So what are the causes of eating disorders? Since there are many different causes, knowing more about them can help you appreciate just how serious the issue is and therefore, take it seriously ad seek treatment.

This type of mental disorder is complex and there are many factors that influence it.

The exact causes are still not well known, but there are beliefs that the causes come due to the combination of psychological, environmental, and biological factors. 

Biological factors

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Genetics
  • The irregular function of hormones

Psychological factors

  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative body image
  • Problems of identity

Environmental factors

  • Sports that are aesthetically oriented, especially when one is required to maintain a very lean body to enhance their performance (like running long distance, wrestling, gymnastics, diving, rowing)
  • Careers and professions that promote weight loss and being thin like modeling and ballet 
  • Dysfunctional families
  • Life changes or stressful transitions
  • Peer or cultural pressure
  • Childhood and family traumas like sexual abuse, etc.

The different eating disorder signs and symptoms 

There are different signs of eating disorders that can tell you that there is a problem so that you can take action. Some of these symptoms and signs are:

  • Occasional weight fluctuations 
  • Chronic dieting even when one is too underweight
  • Ritualistic kind of eating patterns like hiding food, eating all alone, or cutting food into small pieces
  • Being obsessed with fat contents and calories
  • Periods of fasting and then periods of overeating
  • Avoiding friends, family, and social functions due to being withdrawn or isolated
  • Lethargic state or depression
  • Being too fixated with cooking, recipes, or food in general-A person can cook very intricate meals for other people but refuse to eat themselves.

If you notice any of the above signs, it may be time to check into an eating disorder treatment facility

Short and long term effects & complications

Eating disorders are serious and they can be life-threatening if they are not handled effectively and immediately.

They can affect physical and emotional health. They are not a phase or a fad as many people assume.

They are complex, real, and can create quite devastating conditions with some serious consequences on relationships, productivity, and health. 

It is important to seek help from a treatment facility to have a chance at recovery from this type of mental problem.

The effects of the disorder depend on whether one is starving the body, overeating, purging, or binging. Some of the complications and effects include: 

  • Self-starvation:
  • A very slow heart rate
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Fatigue, fainting, and body weakness in general
  • Very severe dehydration that can lead to kidney failure
  • Muscle weakness and loss
  • Growth of a hair layer on one’s body as the body struggles to stay warm
  • Hair loss and dry skin and hair
  • Irregular heartbeat because of electrolyte imbalances
  • Heart failure
  • Effect on all major organs
  • Death
  • Pancreatitis and peptic ulcers
  • Irregular or chronic bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Tooth staining or decay because of acids released from the stomach as one vomits 
  • Rupture or inflammation of the esophagus because of the frequent vomiting
  • Heart disease due to high levels of triglycerides
  • High levels of cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes mellitus (type II diabetes)


There are different types of eating disorders and they are discussed briefly below.

  • Anorexia Nervosa

This is a very well-known disorder. It is rampant among young adults and adolescents, but mainly affects women more than men. A person with the disorder usually views him or herself as being overweight even if they are too underweight.

They keep on monitoring their weight and can even avoid eating some very specific food types.

They can also restrict calories in a severe way.

 Research has found that annual mortality rates associated with anorexia nervosa eating disorder are twice the mortality rate of psychiatric female inpatients in the age range of 10-39 years so it is a serious psychiatric disorder, according to a PennState College of Information Sciences and Technology article.

As you can see from the about mentioned study this is a serious type of eating disorder that causes havoc to someone’s overall health if not taken seriously and addressed.

  • Bulimia nervosa

This is another type of eating disorder. This disorder also develops in early adulthood and adolescence. It affects men more than it affects women.

People with this disorder usually eat very frequently. They also happen to ingest a lot of food in a very short time. 

This episode can continue to the point of being painfully full. During the binge, the person is out of control and he or she may not be able to control the amount being consumed. 

Any type of food can be consumed, but it is mostly with foods that a person may normally avoid.

It is also common for people with this disorder to purge as they try to compensate for all the calories that were consumed and to relieve any stomach discomfort. 

  • Binge eating

Initially, this was not considered as an eating disorder, but it is now. It is a very common issue, especially in the United States. This disorder starts in adolescence, most of the time and early adulthood. It may occur later in life in some cases. 

The symptoms are very common with those of anorexia or bulimia. Such persons take very large food amounts and in very short periods. They have no control over the binge. 

The only difference is that calories are not restricted in this case. They also do not apply any purging behaviors like vomiting or taking laxatives to compensate for the binge. 

  • PICA

This new condition was recognized only recently. Anyone with this disorder craves for substances which are not foods like cornstarch, detergent, pebbles, wool, cloth, hair, paper, soap, chalk, soil, dirt, or ice. 

This is an issue that affects all age groups but is more rampant in pregnant women, people with mental illnesses or disabilities, and children. Such a person is at a high risk of nutritional deficiencies, stomach injuries, infections, and poisoning. 

  1. Rumination Disorder

This has also been identified as a disorder recently. It is a condition where a person regurgitates the food that had been chewed previously and swallowed. He or she then re-chews that food. He or she may choose to re-swallow it or to spit it out. Rumination is often done within thirty minutes of having a meal. This is a voluntary act not like medical conditions. 

This condition can occur in infancy, childhood, and adulthood. In children, it may happen anywhere between 3 months to a year, but will often clear on its own. In adults and older children, there may be a need for therapy to deal with the issue. 

  • ARFID: Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder

This was previously called feeding disorder in early childhood and infancy. The diagnosis was reserved for children that were below the age of seven. However, it was noted that it may persist and may go all the way to adulthood.

It is also common in both women and men. Persons with the disorder experience eating that is disturbed either because they don’t have any interest in eating the food or they are turned off by some smells, temperatures, textures, colors, and tastes. 

  • Purging disorder

People with this disorder make use of purging behaviors like excess exercise, diuretics, laxatives, and vomiting to control shape and weight. They do not binge.

  • Night eating syndrome

Under this category, people eat excessively when they wake up from their sleep. 

A treatment hospital or center can be very beneficial if you are determined to heal from all the above eating disorders. 

Eating disorder statistics & facts

Eating disorders affect millions all over the world. In the United States alone it is estimated that at least 30 million people may have an eating disorder in their lifetime.

The most affected age group is between 12 to 35 years of age.

Below are more statistics

What these statistics show is that you are not alone. So don’t be ashamed and know that there are others suffering just like you. What matter is that you get help

If you are dealing with this issue, then eating disorder treatment is a serious option to consider and get help from as soon as possible.


In order to successfully treat any type of eating disorder, the first step is to get a medical screening and diagnosis from a licensed medical professional.

An eating disorder diagnosis is made according to ICD-10 and DSM-5 criteria. The ICD stands for the international classification of diseases while the DSM stands for diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders.

There are different types of eating disorders and so it is important to get a proper diagnosis to get the much-needed help as soon as possible. 

Diagnosing this type of mental disorder is primarily done by looking at the eating habits, signs, and symptoms at hand.

The screening typically includes psychological evaluations, physical evaluations, and blood tests.

The right diagnosis will help rehab for eating disorder plan show a positive outcome.

What are eating disorder treatment centers?

We have been mentioning the need to get help from eating disorder treatment centers, but what are they?

An eating disorder treatment center programs goals is to attempt to decrease or eliminate any symptoms associated with the disorder and also address any underlying causes.

These mental health clinics facilitate education regarding family dynamics, nutrition, healthy exercise, and even body image in regard to this type of mental illness. In some cases, they will also administer medication to help treat this type of mental disorder.

They also try to work with issues that cause a relapse in a patient after they have undergone therapy. 

Why are eating disorder treatment centers important?

Rehab for eating disorders is very necessary and important. It is advisable to take a person dealing with an eating disorder to a facility where they can get help.

These centers have a personal approach to ensure that the treatment is as comprehensive as possible. This means that every individual is treated to their individual needs.

With the personal approach, it becomes possible for the patient to recover completely and without any relapse. This approach is very vital, especially when mediation and medical intervention is required. 

The treatment centers offer an environment that is controlled and structured. This is the kind of setting that is needed in the healing process. They usually have professionals who are specialized in the field and this adds to how successful these centers are.

The different types of rehabilitation centers 

There are many treatment program options that you can choose once you get to eating disorder rehab facilities.

They are also known as the type of eating disorders treatment clinic or center. They are the:

  • Inpatient program
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Outpatient

Inpatient rehab for eating disorders

There are some people who require the kind of treatment where they must be confined to the center, especially those dealing with chronic eating problems.

The patient sleep, eat and get to go through their treatments sessions daily in a residential facility.

The main aim is to make sure your health and nutrition are stabilized so that you may be ready to start the outpatient program.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)

: Here, most of the day will be spent in a clinic dealing with eating disorders. You will then spend your night at home.

You access counseling, meal supervision, and nutrition support. The program serves as an alternative to inpatient care.

They are well structure just like the inpatient facilities with the exception that one does not live in the center.

Intensive outpatient eating disorder rehab

These are night or daytime programs that are designed for persons who need to work or attend school.

They include medication management, nutrition education, meal support, individual therapy, group therapy, etc.  In some facility programs, the patient goes to a session 3 to 5 times a week for about 3 to 4 hours for each session.

Outpatient eating disorder treatment facilities

This combines family therapy, nutrition counseling, medical monitoring, and therapy. The sessions are less restricting and one may attend a couple of times every week.

The program can serve as a transition from inpatient care. the patient will go in for a scheduled time and after treatment will go home. 


Eating disorders are a serious issue that affects people of all ages, even though the highest prevalence is with the younger population.

Today, there are different eating disorder prevention programs that can be applied to help reduce the risk of eating disorders. 

There are primary prevention intervention programs that aim to prevent the development of eating problems and the secondary prevention programs that aim to lower the duration and risk for those already with eating disorder illness.

Most early eating disorder prevention programs are psychoeducational. There are some programs that can be used to reduce the risks of developing eating disorders as well as obesity.

It is necessary for programs to be delivered through professionals. 

Some of the programs that have been created to deal with early eating disorders tended to have some limited outcomes. Because of this, researchers are now targeting the underlying risk factors that could be present and this has added to the success of some of the programs.

Some of the programs include:

  • The Body Project
  • Healthy Weight Intervention
  • Girl Talk
  • Student Bodies
  • Weight to Eat

All in all, eating disorder prevention programs involves minimizing different social pressures, family issues, individual factors, and so on. 

If prevention is started early then there is no need to spend resources going to a rehab facility for a mental disorder. Health, relationships, cost, and lives will be saved with effective prevention programs.

Tips for coping after treatment 

There are different ways to cope with eating disorders after treatment.

Below are some of the coping skills that might work for you.

  • Boosting the individual’s self-esteem by being active in the things that hold their interest
  • Talking to friends and family members about your need
  • Taking time to think of safe and comfortable places where you don’t have to be preoccupied with things that could cause you harm
  • Making a list of all positive affirmations and saying them to yourself repeatedly
  • Receiving therapeutic massages
  • Playing with or walking a pet
  • Grow and seek support systems
  • Take a walk after a meal

The above eating disorder coping skills after rehabilitation can help some patients get well faster and see more long term positive outcome.

Ways to paying for your treatment

Private rehabilitation for eating disorder treatment can change the life of an individual drastically.

When you have great health, then you can have fulfilling relationships, make informed choices, and reduce any physical health problems.

How to pay for these kinds of services is one of the biggest struggles for most people.  The good news is that the Affordable Care Act has been expanded to make it easier to access insurance for mental health problems treatment such as the disorders of eating.

The insurance market used to exclude people with issues like eating disorders from getting coverage.  Today, there are some variations in the coverage.  You can use private insurances or your employer’s insurance benefits. 

It is also possible to use public insurance like Medicare and Medicaid, scholarships, and grants.

Prosper Health Care lending is also a healthcare lending option.

Gofundme also offers people with different needs to raise funds for their mental health cause.

What’s next? Call 866-557-8604 to get help

You may have some more questions or ready to get checked into a private outpatient or inpatient treatment center for eating disorders.

So call to be connected with a private treatment facility counselor to weigh your options for rehabilitation.

There is no charge or obligation when you call 866-557-8604 to speak with an admission counselor.

Related articles

  1. Rehab For Depression: Depression Disorder Treatment Centers, Definition, Signs, Causes, Effect, Types, and Outpatient vs Inpatient Recovery Programs:
  2. Rehabs For Anxiety Disorders: Treatment Centers, Signs, Causes, Effect, Types, and Outpatient vs Inpatient Recovery Programs:
  3. What You Need To Know About Rehabilitation For Panic Disorders: