You recently decided to look at eating disorder treatment centers and want to start your recovery or help a loved one who needs it. Congratulations on making that decision and a huge first step!
What you may be starting to realize is that getting help of any kind has changed due to situations caused by COVID-19. Social distancing, face masks, stay at home orders, and other precautions are influencing eating disorder treatment, especially residential options.
If you need some guidance with navigating the path to recovery amidst COVID-19, the following questions will help you find the right treatment plan.
Is Residential Treatment the Right Option?
The first question you should ask is whether inpatient treatment is the best option. You should consider what eating disorder is present, and how effects from COVID-19 may influence it.
An example would be social distancing. While it is important to follow this regulation, it can increase social isolation, which makes it harder to access a support system. This would make outpatient recovery difficult for those who have eating disorders and live alone. In this case, residential treatment could be a better option since you will live at the facility and have access to clinicians or other staff members at all times.
You should also consider how severe the eating disorder is. Generally, more severe cases require residential treatment. If you are malnourished, dangerously underweight, or experiencing physical complications, seek emergency care at a hospital.
In any situation, make sure that you consult with a doctor about the most effective options, as everyone is different. If you would like to consider online treatment options, Seeds of Hope is offering all outpatient services through teletherapy.
Do I Have Underlying Health Conditions?
Another major factor to consider is underlying health conditions. Increased risk factors from COVID-19, such as being immunocompromised or having asthma, can make getting treatment for an eating disorder difficult. Finding appropriate residential care can seem especially challenging. You don’t want to risk potential exposure by traveling to a treatment center.
Again, consult with a doctor to determine if you are at increased risk for coronavirus. Also, keep in mind that leaving an eating disorder untreated can be just as dangerous as having COVID-19. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
How are Treatment Centers Responding to COVID-19?
If you have decided that a residential treatment program is the correct path to follow, then the next step is to decide which center to choose. One way to do this is to evaluate how each residential treatment center is responding to COVID-19.
For instance, our residential treatment facility at Lake Ariel is taking several precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including two separate screenings for incoming clients: once during the Level of Care Assessment and again on the day the person is admitted.
Other factors that you should consider besides COVID-19 screenings include:
- Stress reduction techniques for clients
- Mask requirements at the facility
- Sanitation guidelines
How Else Can You Evaluate Eating Disorder Treatment Centers?
Outside of the way a center is responding to COVID-19, there are more methods you can use to pick which center is right for you or your loved one. If you can’t travel to the center to find out more, other ways to obtain information include:
- Reading reviews – Google My Business, Yelp, and others will help provide perspective.
- Exploring virtual tour options – Some centers have walkthroughs of their facilities available online.
- Reading about the programming – Finding out what structure and techniques a center uses will give insight into if the treatment center is right for you.
Overall, make sure you focus on which center and program would be the most beneficial for the current situation.
Whether you enter a residential treatment center or decide to do outpatient teletherapy, remember that the most important thing is finding the right treatment option for you or your loved one. You can request an eating disorder Level of Care Assessment by calling Seeds of Hope at (610) 644-6464 or visit our admissions page. We will help you determine whether outpatient or residential care is required.