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One of the biggest challenges in seeking treatment for an eating disorder is determining what level of care is appropriate. It can be difficult to balance the need for medical stabilization and accountability with you or your loved one’s desires for independence. Northside Consulting can help you determine which option might be best for you, to provide the most support and best chance at sustained recovery.

Outcomes for eating disorders are most successful when individuals gradually stair-step down into less intensive levels of treatment as they progress in recovery. This means that typically, after assessment and placement in an appropriate level of care, we recommend clients participate in each subsequent treatment level as outlined below. This helps provide the most support and avoids any sudden disruptions in the recovery process.


Inpatient Hospitalization

Inpatient hospitalization is the most supportive and highest level of care to address an eating disorder. Hospitalization is appropriate in acute cases, when someone has life-threatening symptoms including unstable vital signs, severe lab results, or cardiac issues related to their illness. This level of care is also necessary when someone is suicidal or at risk for harming someone else. Inpatient hospitalization offers 24/7 monitoring and medical support with a goal of safe weight restoration. Participants in this setting will also participate in group therapy and nutritional support to develop a recovery plan for long-term growth. A typical stay in an inpatient setting is 2-4 weeks, but can vary depending on medical need.


Residential treatment

Residential care is similar to inpatient hospitalization in that it includes 24/7 care and support. However, this level of care is most appropriate for individuals who are medically stable and not in an acute state. Residential treatment includes group and individual therapy, as well as nutritional support and supervision of all meals. Residential programs can range from a few weeks in length up to several months, depending on the individual’s needs and wishes for support.


Partial Hospitalization Program

The partial hospitalization program setting, or PHP, allows individuals to live independently or at home while still participating in a high level of support. PHP treatment programs usually meet five days per week for several hours each day, and include supervision and support for any meals or snacks that occur in that time. PHP is mostly comprised of group therapy and skills- building sessions, while also including nutritional support and individual therapy at least once weekly. PHP treatment typically lasts 4-8 weeks.


Intensive Outpatient Program

An intensive outpatient program, or IOP, is a group-based therapy program that meets at least three times per week for three hours at a time. IOP settings provide ongoing peer support and coping skills education while allowing participants to attend work/school and more fully participate in their day-to-day lives. IOP usually includes one supervised meal and ongoing individual and nutritional support for recovery. A typical stay in IOP treatment is 4-8 weeks.


Individual Therapy and Nutritional Support

Individual therapy offers the most flexible support for those who are independent in their recovery. Individual therapy is most appropriate for someone who is stable in their recovery but looking for ongoing support and accountability. Many individuals participate in therapy weekly or bi-weekly, in addition to receiving individual nutritional support from a registered dietician. Participation in individual therapy and nutritional counseling is a key component of long-term support and stability, and many people see their therapists for months or years to maintain their recovery.


While the path to recovery can be difficult and long, it is well worth the journey. Contact Northside Consulting today to get more information about your options and how we can help.