TREATMENT SETTINGS and LEVELS OF CARE
P.Santucci, MD. FAED, FAPA
Eating disorder treatment can be delivered in a variety of settings. Based on a variety of criteria recommended in the Guidelines for Eating Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, your therapist will recommend a specific setting that is best for you.
It is important to understand these treatment settings represent different levels of care and are based on your symptoms. In general, treatment should be conducted in the LEAST restrictive setting possible that provides safety for you. Basically, the more stable you are, emotionally and physically, the lower the level of care. Outpatient is the lowest level of care, the least restrictive, and usually the first one to be tried. The highest level of care is inpatient hospitalization.
Because of the severity of the nature of eating disorders and the complexity of care, it is important that the best possible decision be made to help you overcome your eating disorder and get on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. Recovery from an eating disorder generally takes a long time. Duration of treatment can vary from 3 months to several years, depending on the severity of the illness and diagnosis. It is also important to understand that relapse rates are high and often expected during the recovery process, and that there may be various times when another level of care is needed.
Be sure you discuss your treatment options with your therapist. Learn all you can about your eating disorder and the clinical guidelines. Contact your insurance company to discuss your policy’s benefits. Obtaining authorization for treatment at the appropriate level of care can be frustrating but support is available to help you through this process.