Treatment for Eating Disorder

Eating disorders (including anorexia and bulimia) are serious illnesses which require professional intervention in order to promote long-term recovery and well being.

Eating disorders are complex, and treatment may involve a team approach. Although the individual with an eating disorder may appear to be overly focused on food, body weight, and a refusal to eat, the actual issues go much deeper. It is important to work through the underlying concerns that have contributed to the person using their eating disorder as a coping strategy.

The First Step: Restore Weight

The first step in the treatment of an eating disorder is to restore weight, and ensure that any physical problems are taken care of. A nutritional specialist may need to work with the person suffering from the eating disorder to ensure that an adequate amount of food energy is being consumed in order to maintain a healthy weight.

A therapist or counselor can also help by talking with the person who has an eating disorder, and assisting them to identify negative thoughts and body image distortions. Eating disorder treatment also involves replacing unhealthy coping strategies (such as binging, purging, or starving oneself) with non-destructive ways of dealing with stressful situations.

Often, people who suffer from eating disorders need help working through relationship issues and/or dealing with anxiety. Long-term treatment goals may include stress management, increasing self-esteem, and working through difficult emotions and feelings.

Some individuals with eating disorders may require hospitalization at first to stabilize their condition, or more intense intervention through a residential facility. Long-term therapy usually takes place on an outpatient basis.

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.