Eating Disorder Recovery Programs: Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Treatment

Recovering from an eating disorder is an extremely difficult, lifelong process. Choosing the right recovery program is crucial to your success in staying healthy once you’ve overcome one of these dangerous, debilitating disorders.

There are several treatment options available, including inpatient and outpatient programs. Understanding the difference between these two types of recovery programs will help you decide which one is best for you.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

An inpatient or residential treatment program is one in which you receive 24-hour care at a live-in facility. Your physical and mental health are tended to during your time at one of these facilities, where you will likely stay for several months.

Various exams take place to assess the severity of your eating disorder before you are admitted to an inpatient facility. Constant supervision allows the staff to effectively monitor your health and ensure that you stay on track–keeping your food down, not weighing yourself, etc.

Inpatient treatment programs may be more effective than outpatient programs because they offer structured environments that can help you focus on recovery.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

An outpatient treatment program is more flexible than an inpatient program but requires more responsibility on your part. It allows you to continue living at home, attending school or work, taking care of your children, etc. But without the constant supervision that makes inpatient programs so effective, slipping up is easier and more likely to happen.

Outpatient treatment programs typically involve meeting with a counselor once or twice per week for a few hours at a time. Some of these programs may also offer family therapy or specialized therapies, such as art therapy.

Source: Casa Palmera Treatment Facility

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

How our helpline works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.