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Residential or Day Treatment? The Right Eating Disorder Facility Makes All the Difference

The time spent researching and learning about treatment options for eating disorders is often filled with uncertainty and intense emotions. However, in spite of the challenge, the act of seeking information about eating disorder treatment programs is an important first step. As one learns about different treatment types—like residential and day treatment—they gain a better understanding of what is needed specifically for their own situation.

There are programs for all types of disorders, including binge eating disorder treatment, which means individuals can find a program that suits their unique needs. But first, they must determine which type of program, like residential or day treatment is appropriate.

Residential or Day Treatment?

The key to choosing the right treatment option is to draw on informed professional opinions. As long as the individual reaches out to a reputable treatment center and consults with a doctor and/or therapist, he or she will have help in making a decision. This professional support can guide those in need towards an appropriate treatment option based on individual circumstances.

Residential Treatment

What is residential treatment?

As the name implies, residential eating disorder programs take place in a residential setting—a facility where the client lives for the duration of the program. While staying at the facility, an entire professional support staff is close by to assist whenever they are needed. That means the client is never very far from a helping hand, an open ear and informed professional insight. Everyone working at the facility is dedicated to client recovery.

A residential program will focus on the factors that have helped numerous other recovered clients, including:

  • Gaining symptom control
  • Understanding the eating disorder
  • Working on psychological issues that co-exist with the disorder
How does residential treatment work?

Monte Nido’s residential eating disorder programs apply real-world experience with the latest developments in treatment to create a permanent shift the life of the client – one that allows the client to move on with his or her life while reaching their healthy self. To accomplish this goal requires a multi-pronged approach that addresses all facets of the disorder. Mood, behavior, food, weight goals and relationships must all be examined and accounted for in the treatment process.

Treatments at a residential program will combine group therapy, meal support, nutrition education, mindfulness training and psychotherapeutic support. As the client progresses through the program, he or she will advance in level and begin taking personal control of recovery. Residential treatment is appropriate for all types of eating disorders, including binge eating disorder treatment.

What are the advantages of residential treatment?

The benefits of residential eating disorder treatment can be considerable. When the client walks through the door of the treatment center, he or she enters a world that centers around attaining a nutritionally and psychologically positive mindset—very different from the outside world. The transition to a safe space makes it possible to dive deep in a way that is not possible in day-to-day life. The safety of the treatment center also frees the client to work hard on the skills that are needed to live a recovered life without distraction.

Retreats, where individuals leave work, school and outside relationships behind to focus on something of importance, have long been used to create transformative experiences. Residential treatment centers take this concept and ground it with scientifically verified treatment modalities and professionally certified staff. Clients get a chance to escape the stresses of the outside world and spend significant time working on building a natural relationship with food and exercise.

What are the challenges of a residential program?

Residential treatment takes time, time spent living at the residential treatment center. This means taking time away from work, school, family, etc. For intensive, long-lasting growth, there is no better way to spend that time away than seeking recovery from an eating disorder. However, the reality is that some people do not feel like they have the time to dedicate to a residential program.

Day Treatment

What is day treatment?

Day treatment, or outpatient eating disorder treatment, is a treatment program that does not require living at the treatment center. Instead, it allows clients to access all the treatment options and professional support of a treatment center while still leading their normal lives. Day treatment is often used by graduates of residential treatment programs to help with the transition from full-time treatment to regular life.

Depending on the severity of the eating disorder and the condition of the client, day treatment may include partial hospitalization before beginning the intensive outpatient program.

How does day treatment work?

Day treatment programs are customized to the needs of the client. Some clients may seek day treatment multiple times during the week, while others may seek treatment less often. After an initial assessment, a schedule is chosen that includes all the treatment types needed by the client over a certain time frame. As treatment progresses, additional medical and psychiatric assessments allow the treatment team to adjust as necessary to keep the individual on the right track.

The ultimate goal of outpatient eating disorder treatment is the same as that of residential treatment, to help the client leave behind the eating disorder self and realize the fully recovered, healthy self. However, the clients in day treatment tend to be further along the path towards the healthy self. They would not have been advised to choose day treatment otherwise. Those in day treatment are going back out into the world each day and meeting the challenges of daily life and attempting to use their training to overcome those challenges. Succeed or fail, they are then able to come back to day treatment again and discuss what they learned, review their situation with a supportive staff, and gain insight and new strategies to try again.

What are the advantages of day treatment?

Day treatment is an excellent option for clients whose eating disorders are not severe and clients who have completed residential programs. Day treatment gives clients access to all the tools and support available at a treatment facility, including therapists, medical doctors, nutritionists and the emotional support found through other clients who are facing similar challenges. No matter how difficult the real world becomes, one can always come back to the treatment facility and get the help necessary to avoid engaging in eating disorder behaviors.

For many clients, a residential program is a necessity, an intensive transformation that makes real life changes possible. But no matter how well the residential program goes, true recovery takes time—meeting obstacles, drawing on training and overcoming those obstacles. Each new obstacle presents another opportunity to incorporate what one has learned.

Day treatment works in step with residential treatment. It offers a long-term program for true transformation in a real-world setting. It includes challenges and assignments that are specific to eating disorders and the other factors, including mental health challenges that often accompany such disorders. With each week of participation, clients get stronger and more capable of being recovered in their day-to-day lives.

One major advantage of day treatment for many clients is the fact that they can keep up with their regular lives—work, school, social obligations—while still participating in treatment. Day treatment is ideal for many adolescents (depending on the severity of the disorder) specifically because it allows for full school participation.

It must be noted that day treatment is often the preferred choice due to cost constraints. Because day treatment requires fewer resources from the treatment center—room, board and 24/7 support are not required—the cost to the client is less than a residential program.

What are the challenges of a day treatment program?

The same factors that make day treatment appealing to many clients make it unsuited for some situations. While many clients are attracted to the idea of being able to keep up with their daily lives and participate in treatment, day treatment may not be the first choice of the client’s doctor and/or therapist.

Eating disorders can be extremely traumatic both physically and mentally. Depending on how long the disorder has been going on, or how much damage it has done, hospitalization may be necessary and residential treatment required.

It can be hard sometimes for clients looking forward to day treatment to hear that they need residential treatment. But ultimately treatment professionals are focused on helping clients recover long-term, which means steering them towards the treatment option that is most likely to ensure that recovery.

The Importance of a High-Quality Eating Disorder Facility

Deciding between a residential and day treatment program is often the first thing on the minds of those seeking treatment. But choosing between these two options is much less a matter of preference than one of necessity. If a client’s doctor, therapist and treatment center team think he or she should choose one over the other, that advice should be followed if possible. The next thing to determine is which eating disorder center is the right one to choose.

There are a few things clients want to consider when choosing between eating disorder treatment centers:

  1. What is the reputation of the eating disorder center? Not all centers are equal. Some have just opened up their doors, while others have been around for decades. A reputable center will have plenty of real testimonials from recovered clients.
  2. Does the center offer the desired programs? The programs offered by different centers can vary considerably. There is no need to compromise on recovery. Seek a facility that has a program that fulfills all requirements. For instance, if one wants a females-only program or a binge eating disorder treatment program, the topic should be raised early.
  3. Look for a facility that will prioritize honesty.When it comes to recovery, honesty is of paramount importance. Clients want a team that will tell them what treatment options for eating disorders are the ones they really need, and that will help them set reasonable expectations of what it will take to reach their goals. Individuals trying to get help for eating disorders deserve truth without judgment.
  4. Know that becoming fully recovered is possible. Different treatment centers have varying philosophies about what treatment can accomplish. Some believe that clients will always be in recovery, while others are firm believers that clients can become fully recovered. Look for a treatment facility that sits firmly on the “fully recovered” side of the fence.
  5. Look for eating disorder facilities staffed by recovered professionals.There is nothing like personal experience to make a person empathetic towards the plight of others. Personal experience can also help a professional be better at his or her job. There are facilities staffed by recovered professionals, so expecting this is not unreasonable.

Get the Help you Deserve at Monte Nido

There is no denying that it can be difficult to choose the right treatment program for your situation. Fortunately, the decision does not need to be made without help. The team at the Monte Nido eating disorder recovery center is standing by to answer questions and help on the road to becoming recovered.