Residential Treatment for Eating Disorders


Q: I have a few questions. My daughter is currently recovering from anorexia with a b/p subtype, and is currently and inpatient on an eating disorder ward at the local hospital for the second time. The first admission she was very sick, had an NG tube placed and had some medical consequences, the second admission, which she is currently in is just a boost up after a period of restriction. The program that she is currently in does have faults, such as no activities go on in the afternoon leaving her to sit with her thoughts in her room, meal support is given when need, but she doesn't like to show her emotions. The program is very family based, and she leans on us a lot, however we can't spend all of our time at the hospital and she has openly told us that she has days that she does want to recover and does not want to recover, and on those days she wants us to not be involved because she wants to fight this illness herself. She has expressed to us that it is not her ED speaking to us when she says that, she just wants to overcome it herself in an environment where she can openly express her emotions without us, her parents around. She confided to us that she desperately wants to leave the hospital because it is doing nothing to help her, but she said the minute she gets discharged she is going to fall back into old habits. We talked about alternate treatment options such as the day program in the hospital, but the doctors said that it would not be the right suit for her, and she can't return to school as stress is a trigger for her and we want her to be recovered before she goes back into a different stressful environment. We were wondering if residential treatment would be a good option? The doctors have not thought of other treatment plans as they are trying to sort out her current health issues brought on by anorexia. Please let me know what my husband and I should do.



Symptoms:  Restriction, purging

A:   Thank you for your question. It is certainly possible that your daughter will greatly benefit from a residential treatment program once her currently medical issues are treated. This type of recovery program will allow your daughter to address her issues that lead her to becoming anorexic. Furthermore, she will be in close contact with those who are suffering from the same illness, and this can provide her with a great sense of support from those suffering with the same eating disorder. We cannot say definitively that she will benefit from this as further assessment by a psychiatrist is required to be certain. Please follow up with the psychiatrist for further consideration of this.

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