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Eating disorders are notoriously difficult to overcome, and must be handled by professionals in multiple fields of medicine. For the best odds of successful treatment, a patient should be seen by a physician, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, registered dietitian, and others. Another aspect of eating disorder treatment not everyone is familiar with are the levels of care for eating disorder treatment, which place various restrictions on the patient, based on the setting.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has guidelines for the various levels of care, and they take into account the patient’s overall health, comorbid psychological conditions, behavior, and social circumstances, rather than simply relying on the physical parameter of their weight. There are many considerations when determining the right treatment for any eating disorder patient. The most effective treatment ideally starts with the level of care the patient requires to manage their symptoms and set them up for effective recovery.

Eating disorder treatment levels of care, from most- to least restrictive, include:

  • Medical hospitalization involves 24/7 medical care, and is typically reserved for patient who need round-the-clock monitoring. This may involve intravenous fluids, tube feeding, and continuous monitoring of their vital signs.
  • Residential treatment (RTC) also provides 24/7 medical care, but is better for patients who have reached a state of medical stability. They are monitored around the clock, as well, to observe their eating and other behaviors.
  • Partial hospitalization (PHP) is less restrictive, because the patient is allowed to go home at night and only attends the treatment center during the daytime. They usually must attend a minimum of 5 days a week for up to 11 hours per day. Most meals are eaten at the treatment center, for appropriate monitoring.
  • Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) involves about 3 hours of programming for 2-3 days per week. The client is able to live at home and attend work or school, as needed. Usually a meal or snack is given at every visit as a part of their treatment.
  • Outpatient treatment involves meetings one on one with a psychotherapist and/or registered dietitian, to monitor eating disorder recovery progress.

If you have an eating disorder and you were denied insurance benefits to attend whichever level of treatment is appropriate for you, contact Kantor & Kantor, LLP today to schedule a FREE consultation.