Get to Know the Different Levels of Care for Eating Disorders

There are a wide variety of levels of care in the eating disorder treatment community. Our goal here at Gemmed is to provide a middle of the road option between basic and intensive treatment. So what does that look like? Let us break it down for you!
Here are the various levels of care for anyone seeking anorexia treatment, bulimia treatment and binge eating disorder treatment. These types of eating disorder treatments are all available in the Los Angeles area.
Individual Therapy: Seeing a private therapist is a great first step in your eating disorder recovery. A clinician that specializes in eating disorders will be able to help you understand the root causes of your eating disorder (ED), coping skills to manage your ED behaviors/urges and additional maintenance of your symptoms so you can begin on the path to recovery. A one-hour session in therapy is either covered with a copay through insurances (approx. $30-$60 depending on your plan), or generally around $150 per session if paying out of pocket.

Individual Dietitian: Since therapists cannot ethically provide information on nutrition and the types of foods and mealtime procedures you should be incorporating in your ED recovery, adding in a dietitian to your treatment team is an extremely helpful way to get even more tools to use in your daily life. Changing how you look at food and rethinking the role nutrition plays in your life is an essential piece to becoming fully recovered. The one caveat here is that it’s extremely important to see a dietitian who specializes in eating disorders, otherwise they may recommend you try out certain diets, lose weight, etc. Dietitians are not always covered by insurance panels, so they can generally cost anywhere from $50-$150 per session.

Drop-in Support Group: EDs are such an isolating disorder, and it is so amazing to be in a support group with other people who have struggled with the same thoughts and behaviors as you. Drop-in support groups in the community are often free of charge, but the folks in these large groups vary in their age, disorder, level of recovery and much more. These type of open groups are good resources if they are the only ones available to you, but we often hear from clients who have participated in them that they have the potential to be quite triggering given the sort of “mixed bag” of people that these groups often see.

Closed Support Group: Being a part of a closed support group, where you are in a session with the same group of people each week fosters friendship, intimacy and increased support inside and outside of group. Being able to set goals and hold one another accountable, knowing you will see the same people each session, is extremely rewarding in recovery. The downside is that closed support groups for eating disorders are few and far between. Offered in either IOP/PHP programs or through specific private practices, it can be difficult to find one of these groups to join. If you do find one, insurance will sometimes cover a portion of it, with the average out of pocket cost being around $40-$60 for each hour-long session.

Gemmed: Here at Gemmed, we wanted to create a program that incorporates all of the previously mentioned elements of recovery, and a few more, into one class. Starting with a creative activity to take our minds outside of our bodies and foster new hobbies and ways of self-care, then sharing a meal together and ending with a closed support group led by Annie, our LMFT who is recovered from her own ED and has extensive experience in treating them for clients, you are surrounded and uplifted by a group of friends who are as committed to recovery as you are. We’re going to tackle the daily challenges of living with an eating disorder; we’re going to give you coping skills and tools and exercises and goals that will take you onward toward the recovered life; we’re going to help you relearn how to eat socially among friends and focus more on the conversation than what’s on your plate; we’re going to get you RECOVERED! We’re a great fit for anyone who needs more support than individual therapy, but doesn’t need to be in an IOP/PHP/Residential program. And on the other hand, we’re also a great fit for anyone stepping down from those IOP/PHP/Residential programs who need support as they reenter their daily lives. And at $129 for a 2.5 hour class, that’s less than the cost of one 50 minute individual therapy session.

Individual Outpatient Program (IOP): For anyone feeling they need to step to an even more intensive level of care, IOP at an eating disorder treatment center is generally covered by insurance and offers anywhere from three to six hours multiple days per week of check-ins with therapists, family processing groups, closed support groups with fellow clients and shared mealtimes.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP): A step-up from IOP is PHP, with longer hours and more individual and group support sessions. This is also covered by insurance for a set amount of time.

Residential Treatment: With around the clock care, set mealtimes, all-day therapy processing and support, residential programs offer the most amount of care if inpatient stabilization in a hospital setting is not needed. Insurance plans will often cover your stay here for at least two weeks to a month.

Inpatient Stabilization: For the most severe and acute of clients with eating disorders, an inpatient program at a hospital provides you access to top-level care with doctors and nurses who will help you become stabilized and fully weight-restored and in a safe place to slowly step down into residential and then PHP/IOP.


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