Choosing the right place to get bulimia nervosa treatment is one of the most important choices a person in need can make. Options can be overwhelming; a bulimia nervosa disorder can require intensely specialized treatment. Because of the variety of bulimia nervosa treatment centers and programs available, what may work for one person may not work for another. Asking the right questions can help a person make the right choice.

When inquiring about possible programs for treating bulimia nervosa, it’s essential to take both the client’s needs and the center’s available methods into account. One eating disorder treatment facility might offer only residential treatment or day treatment, while another might offer both or an integrated program. Because recovery from an eating disorder like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa is so complex and personal, people seeking out help or their loved ones should make sure the program is going to match their emotional, medical, psychiatric and spiritual needs as they move towards recovery.

Here are 10 questions every person should ask a bulimia nervosa treatment center’s admissions team before signing up for care.

1. How long has the center been open and how much experience does the staff have?

Eating disorder treatment is a complex mix of psychological and medical programs, so experienced staff with knowledge across the board in multi-faceted treatment techniques is a must.

2. Are the staff licensed and certified in their areas of expertise?

Find out if all members of the treatment teams are fully licensed, certified and trained in the treatment of bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders.

3. What are the actual facilities like?

Too often, people fear a residential bulimia nervosa treatment center will be cold and sterile.  However, home-like settings that provide state-of-the-art treatment through a combination of group therapy modalities, meal support, nutrition education, psychotherapeutic support and mindfulness training are often available and should be considered.

4. Is there a proven system of recovery in place?

As an example, a structured level system can provide structure, and using such a level system allows people to progress through the treatment program at their own pace.  

5. Does every have the same program or is it personalized?

When it comes to eating disorder recovery, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder may come with co-occurring disorders, exercise addiction, or even simply different levels of severity. A quality treatment facility should address co-occurring disorders, such as drug addiction, depression or anxiety.

6. Can I expect evidence-based treatments?

Each eating disorder recovery center has its own style of therapy. Some focus only on eating disorders, for example, while others may have a faith-based methodology. Asking questions about the style of therapy, focusing on evidence-based methodologies, helps to decide if they would feel comfortable in that style of therapy.

7. Does the center offer a wide array of treatment options?

People respond in different ways to different kinds of treatment, so they often benefit from a recovery program that offers a wide variety of treatment components. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to identify and replace disordered thinking and the ideas that contribute to those thought patterns, for example. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) helps people deal with painful emotions, and is helpful for those who find that certain situations can trigger extreme eating behaviors.

8. Does the recovery center offer alternative and experiential therapies?

There are many new types of therapy past the traditional talk-based models which can be vital for a complete recovery. Many people find cultural outings, dance and movement classes, yoga, nature walks, and other creative therapies to enhance the quality of life and long-term efficacy of bulimia nervosa treatment.

9. Does the recovery center allow for training and guidance about proper nutrition?

It’s worthwhile to ask if the center has meal-planning and grocery shopping training activities. Individual nutrition sessions, nutrition education and counseling, and nutritional supplements can help restore the body’s nutritional balance during and after treatment.

10. Does the recovery center offer adolescent day treatment programming?

Adolescent day treatment programming focuses on adolescent clinical and developmental issues. These recovery center programs provide a positive and healthy environment for adolescents with eating disorders.

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