treatment options for eating disorders

Freedom of Choice: Exploring Treatment Options for Eating Disorders

Are you or your loved one pursuing various treatment options for eating disorders? Learn about the various recovery opportunities here.

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Finding Treatment Options for Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions. No two people with eating disorders are the same. Each person in recovery will need comprehensive, individualized treatment.

It can feel overwhelming to choose from the various treatment options for eating disorders. Still, it’s important to look at the different options. People who educate themselves about treatment can make better choices about their recovery.
In this article, we’ll discuss how eating disorders are treated. We’ll share how to choose a treatment option that fits. Finally, we’ll talk about alternative treatment options to support recovery.

What Treatment Options for Eating Disorders Are Available?

Treatment for eating disorders usually involves a combination of treatments. Some of the main treatment options for eating disorders will be detailed below.

Medical Stabilization

In severe cases, medical intervention is necessary. It helps treat any health complications associated with the eating disorder.1
This type of treatment may involve:
  • Hospitalization
  • Nutritional rehabilitation
  • Monitoring vital signs


Psychotherapy is a cornerstone of eating disorder treatment.2 People work with a counselor or therapist. Counselors and therapists offer many types of therapy.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people identify and change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. These unhealthy thoughts are often related to food, body image, and self-esteem.
Other types of therapy used as treatment options for eating disorders include:
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)

Nutritional Coaching

Nutritional counseling is an integral part of the treatment options for eating disorders. Registered dietitians who specialize in eating disorders can help.
They guide people through the following:
  • Meal planning
  • Balanced nutrition
  • Establishing a healthy relationship with food
They help people develop regular eating patterns and overcome food-related fears.


Medication alone is not considered a primary treatment option for eating disorders. Still, medications can help.
Certain medications are often prescribed to manage co-occurring conditions, such as:

Support Groups

People in treatment for eating disorders might participate in support groups. Support groups provide people with a sense of community.
Sharing experiences and challenges with others with similar conditions can be valuable, as it not only creates a safe space for people to share, but helps individuals to hold one another accountable and celebrate milestones.

Family-Based Treatment

This is a treatment option for eating disorders that is often used for adolescents.3 Here, the family is involved in treatment.

Parents become empowered to take an active role in treatment. They help support their child’s recovery. They also focus on helping them restore healthy eating habits and healthy communication.

Residential Treatment

When outpatient treatment is not enough, residential programs might work. These programs offer intensive care in a structured environment. 


They provide round-the-clock care. Residential treatment helps people develop stable eating behaviors. It also helps them address underlying issues.

How to Make Informed Choices About Treatment Options for Eating Disorders

It takes courage to go to treatment for an eating disorder. Once a person chooses to go to treatment, they may face more decisions. Several treatment options are available.
People with eating disorders and their families can make informed choices about treatment. They might ask for healthcare professionals’ advice. They can also educate themselves about eating disorders and treatment.
When making treatment decisions, people should consider several factors. An informed treatment decision can ensure effective care. Here are some key factors to consider:

Disorder Severity

Severe cases may need more intensive treatment. This might include residential treatment options for eating disorders. Residential treatment is usually more intense and involves staying at a facility.
Mild or moderate cases are often managed through outpatient treatment. The person can stay at home and attend treatment sessions. The level of severity can help determine the right level of care.

Individual Preferences and Goals

People should think about what they want out of treatment. Treatment should fit their goals and preferences. They should consider the following factors:
Aligning treatment with the person’s preferences can enhance engagement and motivation.

Co-Occurring Conditions

Many people have mental health conditions as well as eating disorders. This is called co-occurring conditions. People with co-occurring conditions should look for programs that treat both conditions.

Medical Considerations

Some people need medical stabilization before psychological treatment. They may also need it during treatment. 


Medical stabilization might address complications from the eating disorder, like the following:

  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Cardiac issues
  • Malnutrition
It’s important to talk to a doctor if there are any medical concerns.

Evidence-Based Practice

Consider the research supporting different treatment options for eating disorders. Look for approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness in clinical research. 


Evidence-based treatments effective for eating disorders include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Family-based treatment (FBT)

Treatment Availability and Accessibility

Consider the availability of different treatment options for eating disorders. This might include:
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Treatment duration
  • Proximity of treatment providers
  • Feasibility of attending therapy sessions or treatment programs

Success Rates and Treatment Outcomes

Explore the success rates and treatment outcomes associated with different treatment programs. Look into whether they help people achieve and maintain recovery. They should help reduce symptoms and improve well-being.
No treatment guarantees complete recovery. Still, people can choose options with a track record of good results.

Support Network

Seek treatment options for eating disorders that provide support networks. These may include support groups, peer recovery communities, and online resources.

Tailoring Treatment to Individual Needs

Effective treatment options for eating disorders include personalized treatment plans. Each person’s treatment plan should be tailored to their needs. Here are some treatment plan considerations to make when looking for a program.

Comprehensive Assessment

Effective programs conduct thorough testing. They look at the following characteristics of each person:
  • Specific symptoms
  • Eating disorder severity
  • Any co-occurring conditions
  • Medical history
  • Psychosocial factors

Collaborative Approach

Treatment options for eating disorders should involve the patient in the decision-making process. This is called a collaborative approach.
Effective programs encourage open communication and active participation. People should be able to work with their treatment team to develop meaningful goals.

Individualized Treatment Goals

Treatment options for eating disorders should establish personalized goals. A few examples of goals include:
  • Healthy weight restoration
  • Reducing harmful behaviors
  • Improving body image
  • Addressing underlying psychological issues
  • Enhancing well-being

Integrated Treatment Approach

Many people with eating disorders do best with a combination of treatments. This approach is considered integrated treatment. People work with their healthcare providers to get comprehensive care.
Integrated treatment can include the following:
  • Psychotherapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medical monitoring
  • Medication if necessary

Cultural Considerations

Personalized treatment plans should take into account cultural factors. These factors may influence the experience of the eating disorder and treatment preferences.

Support System Involvement

Many people with eating disorders have a support network. It’s helpful to involve them in treatment. Family therapy or support groups are often valuable treatment options for eating disorders.

How to Access Reliable Information About Treatment Options for Eating Disorders

Accessing reliable information about treatment options for eating disorders is essential. Reliable information helps people make informed decisions about treatment.

Reliable Sources

Here are some ways to access trustworthy information:

Healthcare Professionals

When considering treatment options for eating disorders, it’s beneficial to reach out to healthcare professionals who specialize in eating disorders.
Consider seeking second opinions from different healthcare professionals. Establish open communication with professionals involved in the treatment of eating disorders.

Research and Literature

Review scientific literature and research studies on eating disorders and treatment approaches. Explore books written by experts in the field of eating disorders.

Reliable Organizations

Look for information from reputable organizations. Examples include:4
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
  • Academy for Eating Disorders (AED)
  • American Psychological Association (APA).

Conferences and Online Communities

It can help to have conversations with others. Stay updated on upcoming conferences or events focused on eating disorders. Engage with online support communities and forums.

Evaluating the Information

It’s important to check the sources of information on eating disorders. This ensures the information can be trusted.
Reliable sources will often meet the following standards:
  • Citing research studies
  • Presenting information in a balanced way
  • Aligning with established guidelines or professional consensus 

Shared Decision-Making for the Best Treatment

Shared decision-making is a collaborative approach to treatment options for eating disorders. It recognizes the importance of involving the individuals in the decision-making process.5
People with eating disorders and healthcare professionals can work together on treatment. It creates a more person-centered approach to treatment. This leads to better outcomes and a stronger therapeutic relationship.6

Benefits of Shared-Decision Making

Here are some benefits of shared decision-making:
  • Better Outcomes: Shared decision-making improves treatment adherence and engagement. It empowers individuals to take an active role in their own treatment journey. When people participate in their care, they have better long-term outcomes.

  • Autonomy: Shared decision-making respects the autonomy and agency of the individual seeking treatment. It recognizes that individuals are experts in their own experiences and preferences. 

  • Commitment and Motivation: Involvement in decision-making increases the individual’s commitment and motivation. They may be more likely to continue with treatment. 

  • Personalized Care: Shared decision-making supports the development of personalized treatment plans. These treatment plans align with the individual’s needs.

  • Communication: Shared decision-making promotes open and transparent communication. This can include communication between healthcare professionals, patients, their support system, and more. Shared decision-making can also involve caregivers in the treatment process. 

  • Informed Decisions: Shared decision-making can help people understand their conditions and their treatment options. They can make treatment decisions based on a good understanding of the facts.

Alternative Options for Eating Disorders

Established evidence-based treatments are the primary treatments for eating disorders. Still, many people consider emerging and alternative treatment options for eating disorders.

Considering Alternative Options for Eating Disorders

When exploring alternative treatment options, it is important to focus on safety. Here are some ways to determine the safety and effectiveness of treatment:
  • Seek guidance from healthcare professionals who specialize in eating disorders.
  • Look for credible sources of information. These provide evidence and expert opinions on emerging or alternative treatments. 
  • Engage with support groups or online communities. Share information and ask questions on alternative treatment options for eating disorders.
  • Involve healthcare professionals in decision-making. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of these options.
  • Track progress and maintain open communication with healthcare professionals.

Examples of Alternative Options

A few alternative treatment options for eating disorders include:
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): In this therapy, people focus on accepting and being present in the current moment. People make behavior changes based on their values. It can help people develop psychological flexibility. It also helps people improve their relationship with food and body image.7
  • Mindfulness-Based Interventions: Mindfulness-based approaches incorporate mindfulness practices. They help patients develop awareness, non-judgmental attitudes, and self-compassion. These interventions can include Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT).8
  • Yoga and Body Movement Therapies: Some individuals do better with yoga or body-centered practices as part of their treatment. It can help them accept their bodies. They are also forms of self-expression.9
  • Nutritional Interventions: Emerging research suggests the potential benefits of specific nutritional interventions. This might include targeted nutrient supplementation or dietary modifications. It’s crucial to consult with a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders. This ensures treatment safety and appropriateness.
treatment options for eating disorders

How Can J. Flowers Health Institute Help?

Are you or a loved one struggling with an eating disorder? J. Flowers Health Institute is here to help.
We recognize that each person’s experience is unique. That’s why our treatment plans are personalized to meet your specific needs and goals. Our specialized bespoke treatment programs offer a path to recovery and lasting wellness.

Our Program

We provide comprehensive care for eating disorders. We address the various aspects of these conditions. Join our safe environment and feel supported throughout your treatment.

We believe in the power of evidence-based practices. Our treatment options are rooted in the latest research. We use effective techniques that promote healing and recovery.

Our Team

Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to your well-being. Our multidisciplinary team consists of compassionate specialists. We work with you to ensure holistic care.

Contact Us

Don’t let your eating disorder define you. Take the first step toward healing with J. Flowers Health.
Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options. Start your journey to a healthier and happier life. Contact us today at (713) 715-1618 or visit