Inpatient eating disorder treatment is not talked about much yet it's just as important as an addict going to rehab. Eating disorders affect the health of millions of people. Although the eating disorders stereotype is a super skinny person this is not accurate. Many people with eating disorders are of average weight and over even overweight. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating are common eating disorders.
So, when should a person with an eating disorder go to an inpatient facility? Above all else, if you want to go to treatment, go! A general rule of thumb for inpatient treatment is when the disorder reaches a point that the person can't control their behaviors for any length of time, or when medically the person is ill or risking death. When a person is unable to stop their eating disorder on their own or with the help of a nutritionist, counselor, therapist, or support groups, inpatient treatment should be considered. Eating disorders are deadly and people can be resistant to treatment. Inpatient facilities offer 24 hour care. It is this round the clock care and removal from the environment that is so helpful. Unlike substance addiction, where users can gain abstinence, people must continue eating to live. Therefore, telling a person to stop is not effective.
What can an eating disorder do to the body?
Eating disorders wreak havoc on the body. They can damage a person's brain, liver, kidneys, heart, gastrointestinal tract, bones, teeth, skin and hair, as well as cause a variety of medical conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease. People who are having physical problems should consider inpatient treatment. Candidates for inpatient often are medically vulnerable. There is hospital based eating disorder treatment and then there is residential treatment; the difference between the two is the level of medical malnourishment of the individual. The treatment will vary depending on the person's eating disorder. A person who has Anorexia cannot "just start eating" because their body can shut down and they can die.
Hospitalizing someone is not an easy process if they are resistant, but if you are ready to go into a treatment facility please go. Hospital and residential programs will do an intake to see if the person meets their admission criteria. People going to a residential treatment program may need to be hospitalized first, but not always. Hospitalizing someone to stabilize them can consist of tube feeding, etc., if a person is unable to tolerate food. This process of stabilization is like a detox process for a drug addict. Safely stabilizing a person medically is the first priority of an eating disorder treatment program. It's necessary to give the person nutrients that are required for health and lost during the cycle of starvation, binging/purging, or other unhealthy behaviors.
**Do not overlook men with eating disorders. Unfortunately, men and boys are not often recognized as having eating disorders. Guys that are working out at the gym, severely restricting calories, binging and purging (either through laxatives, exercise, or throwing up), and have body image issues are just as likely to be suffering from eating disorders as women. There are special treatment programs for men.
You should go to an inpatient eating disorder treatment facility if you are unable to gain control of your eating disorder on your own or with other help. If you want to start eating again or stop purging, but you are unable to physically follow through then go to treatment. Eating disorder facilities offer a unique opportunity to gain insight into your behaviors and find out the root of your eating disorder. There is a life free from being ruled by thoughts about weight and food. It is not easy, but inpatient eating disorder treatment can give you a foundation for you to live.
There is no shame in admitting that you have an eating disorder. Getting help and recovering from one is hard work.