10 Questions You Should Ask an Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Center

10 Questions You Should Ask an Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Center

Choosing the right place to get anorexia nervosa treatment is one of the most important choices a person in need can make. Options can be overwhelming; anorexia is a complex disease that can require multifaceted and intense treatment. Because of the variety of symptoms and complications that can occur, what might work for one person in treatment may not work for another.

When inquiring about possible programs for treating anorexia nervosa, it’s essential to take both the client’s needs and the center’s available methods into account. One eating disorder treatment facility might offer only residential treatment or day treatment, while another may offer the latter as a follow-up to the former. Because recovery from an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa is so complex and personal, people seeking out help or their loved ones should make sure the program is going to match their emotional, medical, psychiatric and spiritual needs as they move towards recovery.

Here are 10 questions you should always ask when seeking out an anorexia nervosa treatment facility.

1. How long has the center been open and how much experience does the staff have?

A proven track record is a must when it comes to treating any illness as complex and dangerous as anorexia nervosa – make sure they have been doing this for a long time and are properly experienced.

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2. Are the staff licensed and certified in their areas of expertise?

Find out if all members of the treatment teams are fully licensed, certified and trained in the treatment of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders.

3. What are the living arrangements and facilities really like?

Too often, people fear a residential anorexia nervosa treatment center will be live living in a hospital with all the linoleum and fluorescent lighting that entails.  However, home-like settings that provide state-of-the-art treatment through a combination of therapy sessions, meal support, nutrition education, psychotherapeutic support and experiential therapies like nature walks and food shopping are often available and should be considered.

4. Do they have a proven methodology?

As an example, a structured level system can provide structure, and using such a level system allows people to progress through the treatment program at their own pace.

5. Are the programs “cookie-cutter” or do they individualize treatment?

When it comes to eating disorder recovery, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Like any mental health illness, an eating disorder may come with co-occurring disorders like substance abuse or exercise addiction, or even simply different levels of severity. The program should be able to alter the plan for each individual’s needs.

6. Can I expect evidence-based treatments?

Each eating disorder recovery center has its own style of therapy. Some focus only on eating disorders, for example, while others may have a faith-based methodology. Asking questions about the style of therapy, focusing on evidence-based methodologies, helps to decide if they would feel comfortable in that style of therapy.

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7. Is there a variety of treatment options?

Just like every person is different, so is each case of an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa.Individuals often benefit from a recovery program that offers a wide variety of treatment components, so they can find one or more methods that work. As an example,cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to identify and replace disordered thinking and the ideas that contribute to those thought patterns.  For some, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is more useful for dealing with painful emotions. There are countless other possible treatment methods, so check around.

8. Does the recovery center offer alternative and experiential therapies?

There are many new types of therapy past the traditional talk-based models which can be incredibly useful for a complete recovery. Many people find cultural outings, dance and movement classes, yoga, hiking and swimming, art or music therapy, and other creative therapies to enhance the quality of life and long-term success of anorexia nervosa treatment.

9. Is there nutritional training and education?

It’s worthwhile to ask if the center has meal-planning and grocery shopping training activities. Individual nutrition sessions, nutrition education and counseling, and nutritional supplements can help restore the body’s nutritional balance during and after treatment.

10. Is the family involved?

Especially in adolescent treatment programming, the family is a huge part of a successful, long-term recovery.  Programs that teach family members how to avoid codependence, provide a healthy support system, and provide a nutritionally-balanced diet can mean the difference between recovery and relapse.

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