Eating disorders are complicated and can be influenced by any number of factors. It is not just about food and weight; those are just signs of a more complicated problem.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is world-renowned for successful treatment of eating disorders. Our multidisciplinary team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, dietitians, occupational therapists, recreational therapists, and educational consultants who work together to help individuals replace dysfunctional eating habits with effective, healthy ways of thinking and eating.
Individuals with eating disorders may also be struggling with other psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse as well as medical conditions that often occur with these disorders. Our team starts by identifying all the areas of concern, and then designs a treatment plan that addresses each concern. Because we are housed in the state's only academic medical center, we have immediate access to any type of care that might be needed.
While inpatient care is a chance for individuals to remove themselves from society and all its pressures, we recognize that they will eventually return to their life outside of the UI Hospitals and Clinics. We prepare individuals for this return by:
A strong support network is crucial to a successful recovery. Our team involves family and friends in the treatment process by inviting them to participate in therapy sessions. The goal of family therapy is to improve communication, and ultimately help a loved one lead a happy, productive life.
Treatment for an eating disorder often begins with a stay on our inpatient unit. Here, our team conducts a thorough physical and psychological assessment, including a review of coping skills and family dynamics. From there, a comprehensive treatment plan is designed to meet the individual’s unique needs.
While on the unit, individuals are closely supervised by our staff while they get used to normal, healthy eating. Gradually, as they make good progress, individuals gain more freedom and independence.
A typical day on the inpatient unit might include all or some combination of the following:
Some specific signs that an individual needs to receive inpatient care include:
Regular or as-needed care is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm in the Adult Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic for individuals with eating disorders. Treatment options in an outpatient setting include individual therapy, nutrition assessments, and medication management.
Individuals in the Eating Disorders Track in the Partial Hospital participate in structured therapy programs during the day and spend the night at home. This program serves as a step-down from inpatient care and a step-up from outpatient care. Treatment may last from several weeks to a few months.
A typical day in the program might include all or some combination of the following: