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Residential treatment centers for eating disorders can be found that cater to a wide variety of groups in need, including adolescents. Each type of treatment center is designed to provide a safe, welcoming environment for the group it serves. Centers for women offer a female-only environment where patients can interact with others going through similar situations. Centers for younger patients tailor their programs to meet the unique treatment needs of youth. When patients have treatment centers available that make them feel as safe as possible, it can make it much easier for them to start treatment and reach the fully recovered life they are seeking.

There are multiple reasons why residential treatment centers for teens are so effective. For potential patients and their parents, it can be quite helpful to understand why residential treatment centers for youth and those that cater to teens may be ideal for them. It is not always a simple decision to enter a residential treatment facility, nor is it a simple decision to determine whether to send one’s child to such a facility. The more information potential patients and their families have, the better they will be equipped to weight their choices and make a decision they can be comfortable with.

Why Residential Treatment Centers for Teens and Youth Work

1. Specialized eating disorder treatment centers understand there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment.

While every reputable eating disorder treatment program should cater to the individual needs of the patients they serve, specialized eating disorder treatment centers are uniquely equipped to treat every patient on an individual basis. Because they tailor their programs to groups who are facing special challenges and require a unique approach to care and healing, they tend to have a philosophy that accepts a wide variety of individuals. The experience of a child may not be the same as the experience of an adult. The appreciation treatment center staff have for the unique qualities of those they treat makes it possible to treat every patient individually and tailored to his or her needs.

There are numerous reasons eating disorders manifest. And as such, the type of treatment or the angle of approach that works for one individual may not work as well for another individual. If a treatment program assumes one approach will be effective for all patients, it will not be able to achieve the best possible results for all patients. Eating disorder programs that cater to females, teens, youths, etc. are flexible enough to treat patients in the way they need to be treated to help them reach their goals.

2. Residents at teen and youth treatment centers are able to focus fully on recovery.

There are plenty of treatment programs available for eating disorders, many of which focus on outpatient recovery. Outpatient recovery includes programs where patients participate in individual therapy and group therapy several times a week, then return to their normal lives between treatment sessions. These programs can be excellent for many patients, particularly those who are need a higher level of care than individual therapies or those who have already gone through a residential treatment program and are ready to step down to a lower level of care. However, there are limitations that come from the outpatient approach; specifically, patients must try to navigate their day-to-day lives while going through treatment. They must participate in school, family life and possibly maintain their jobs.

A residential treatment facility, one that caters to teens and youth, offers a different kind of treatment experience, one where residents can focus fully on recovery. The residents live at the facility, which allows them to participate in treatment each and every day. Treatment options may include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy and more. The constant attention to the mental health and ongoing recovery of the residents is one of the most unique and immersive aspects of a residential program. These treatment modalities are provided within the comfortable, home-like environment of the treatment center.

3. Teens and youth are able to take a break from their regular lives and potential triggers at treatment centers.

Many adults assume the lives of teens and youth are breezy and fun, with few complications and even fewer responsibilities. The reality for today’s teens and youth is much different. Teens are forced to juggle numerous responsibilities, all while trying to learn how to transition from childhood to adulthood. The stress they face can be immense. All of these various stressors can make it more difficult for those with eating disorders to recover and begin on the path to recovery.

Being able to take a break from regular life is a major benefit that residential treatment centers offer teens and youth. They can step away from various triggers so they can focus more intensely on their recovery. Every individual with an eating disorder has triggers, and teens and youth are no exception. The stay at a residential treatment center for teens and youth will let the individual remove themselves from a large portion of the triggers they may struggle with. Not all triggers will be removed, but the patients will be in a safe environment to challenge these triggers with the support of treatment staff. However, because the triggers are fewer and further in between the patient can more easily examine them and learn to respond with less intensity and with different behaviors, especially while they are working with a therapist throughout their treatment experience.

4. Residents of treatment facilities are supported to develop a more balanced relationship with food.

Treatment centers are proactive and collaborative in their approach to the health of their patients. Eating disorder programs at residential treatment centers carefully design the experience to help patients develop a more balanced and mindful relationship with food. The goal is that the patient will leave the treatment center with the ability to enjoy nutritious foods in ways that allow them to lead the lives they most want to lead.

Residents are taught to make their own meals. They learn about nutrition and its importance for their overall enjoyment and longevity. Over time, they learn to navigate the challenges they face with food so they can challenge the behaviors they want to avoid and engage in more positive behaviors overall. The goal is for patients to begin to feel comfortable on the path to trre recovery. Changing the relationship patients have with food is a major step towards reaching that goal.

5. Teens and youth have access to well-trained professionals at all hours, day and night.

When recovery is the main priority, it makes sense to surround the patient with highly trained individuals who are passionate about helping them reach their goals. Residential treatment centers for youth and those for teens are fully staffed with healthcare professionals who are trained specifically for treating eating disorders. The staff is there because they believe youth and teens deserve every possible chance for living happy, fulfilled lives, and they want to apply their knowledge and expertise to help patients in any way they can. There is no better environment for young people to go and learn to walk the path to full recovery.

While patients can certainly access trained professionals in other settings, such as visiting a therapist, these moments are temporary. The individual must deal with all the stressors of their lives without the support of the therapist throughout most of their days. But at a residential treatment center, patients have access to help 24/7. There is always someone available to help. The level of security this provides to patients is unparalleled in any other setting. They know they only need to ask for assistance and they will receive it.

6. The residents at the treatment center are able to engage in multiple types of therapy.

There are a variety of therapies that can be effective in treating eating disorders in teens and youth. Each of these therapies, including individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and more, offer benefits that can help patients make great strides toward full recovery. Any or a combination of these therapies may be beneficial. When multiple forms of therapy are combined, the results can be even more comprehensive and dramatic. That is why residential treatment centers encourage patients to participate in multiple types of therapy through their stay at the treatment center. And because patients are there day after day, they can easily participate in all the various therapies they need to heal.

Individual therapy allows the patient to work one on one with a therapist to learn more about their eating disorder and to learn tools to help alleviate their symptoms. The patient may also work with a psychiatrist to determine if they would benefit from medications, such as antidepressants, to help them avoid eating disorder related behaviors. Group therapy offers a different type of setting where patients can work together with a therapist to learn more about how different individuals overcome the hurdles they face to reach full recovery. Family therapy lets patients include their families in the treatment process. Since the family is often the most important support structure for the patient, it can be quite helpful for the family to learn more about eating disorders and the most effective ways to support their loved one.

7. A specialized residential treatment facility allows teens and youth to work on their recovery in an environment of their peers.

It is vital for those diagnosed with eating disorders to be able to open up about their own experiences so they can learn how to manage their feelings and behaviors.  Residential treatment centers for teens and residential treatment centers for youth are made to be the most comfortable possible environment for patients so they can feel safe enough to recover. They can interact with their peers who are facing similar challenges. They can see they are not alone. And they are not at risk of being intimidated or made uncomfortable by the presence of individuals who are not of their peer group. The benefits of teen-oriented and youth-oriented programs are readily apparent to treatment professionals. Both treatment professionals and parents appreciate the support these programs offer their participants.

8. Programs catering to younger participants can tailor treatments in a way that ensures they will be best received by the patients.

The principles of different therapies, such as CBT, are effective for people of all age groups. However, that does not mean it is ideal to present therapy in the same way to every patient. A younger child is not going to be able to understand information conveyed in the same way one would convey it to an adult. Complex techniques are not ideal for younger patients, for example. They must be simplified to be utilized by children.

Treatment programs catering to younger patients are well aware of the need for adapting treatment to age groups. They are skilled at helping younger patients receive the benefit of therapies, which is why their services are sought after by the parents of younger people with diagnosed eating disorders.

Find an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

If you are searching for a treatment center for teen, please contact us. We can help you understand your options and find the right place for your child.

Areas We Serve:

Houston, TX | South Miami, FL | Malibu Lake, CA | Naperville, IL | Portland, OR | Briarcliff Manor, NY | Twin Lakes, VA



Melissa Spann, PhD, LMHC, CEDS-S

Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD, LMHC, RTY 200, is Chief Clinical Officer at Monte Nido & Affiliates, overseeing the clinical operations and programming for over 50 programs across the U.S. Dr. Spann is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and clinical supervisor as well as an accomplished presenter and passionate clinician who has spent her career working in the eating disorder field in higher levels of care. She is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals where she serves on the national certification committee, supervision faculty, and is on the board of her local chapter. She received her doctoral degree from Drexel University, master’s degree from the University of Miami, and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.