What Are the Benefits of Residential Treatment Programs for Women?
Women’s eating disorder residential treatment provides a highly-structured environment that also offers round-the-clock medical and psychiatric treatment in a controlled, safe environment. While every program is different, there are some unique benefits of a program that prioritizes women-only treatment.
First, What Exactly Is Residential Treatment?
Because they are all dedicated to helping people overcome their eating disorders, on some level, every eating disorder center tends to provide certain kinds of programs, chief among which is a dedicated residential program. Residential, also sometimes termed “inpatient,” simply means that the individual lives at a treatment center for a set period while they receive treatment. There is a full-time staff available for the physical and mental safety of their clients. This team is typically comprised of therapists, psychiatrists, and other staff members who are working together to support the client and her treatment plan. Regular therapy sessions, as well as weekly meetings to assess progress toward goals, are other components that one is likely to find in nearly any eating disorder residential program.
“When deciding on getting help for a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa or another eating disorder, looking beyond the generalized programs toward the more specialized ones can be a great advantage for women seeking the kind of treatment that takes gender into consideration.”
Unique and Beneficial Features of Residential Treatment for Women
To get a real feel for an eating disorder residential program, it's necessary to look beyond the basics and determine what unique programs are available that match your needs. The psychiatric and medical communities learn more every day about the importance of specialized programs for specific populations, such as transgender groups, seniors, adolescents, or importantly in eating disorder treatment, women. While the common misconception that only women get eating disorders isn't true by a long shot, they do affect women more commonly than men. That's why programs that cater to women's specific needs are often necessary.
Specialized Focus Groups
Many people who enter residential treatment centers for women do so with co-occurring conditions. While every woman's experience is different, these conditions are common enough and complex enough to require co-occurring treatment. For some, a co-occurring condition such as anxiety or depression could lead to an eating disorder. Other women might find that pressure by the media and society at large to fit a certain weight or image requirement has caused their distorted self-image and the disordered eating. In either of these situations, there is a certain level of comfort which can come from being around people of the same gender who understand these pressures and feelings.
During any women's residential treatment program, attending groups provide a level of support and camaraderie that builds on that which she receives from the medical professionals she is working with. Focus groups that specialize in recovery and healing from substance use disorder, for example, ensure that women are interacting with others who have shared some of the same experiences.
Same-Gender Programs Can Ease Re-Entry Into the “Real World”
“At the end of her stay at a women’s residential treatment center, each woman will have a somewhat anxiety-inducing choice to make – how to best go back to their daily lives and maintain their recovery. The best eating disorder inpatient centers build real-life exposures into the treatment plan, to in essence ‘practice’ going home recovered.”
Some examples of those kinds of experiences that allow women who are rediscovering their healthy self might take part in could include preparing a meal and eating it together, family-style, with other residents, meal planning and shopping for food for the coming week or ordering a meal in a restaurant. By practicing these skills in a supportive environment, women can practice their coping skills so they come more naturally to them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CARRIE HUNNICUTT
With 20 years of behavioral health business development experience, Carrie combines world-class marketing, media, public relations, outreach and business development with a deep understanding of client care and treatment. Her contributions to the world of behavioral health business development – and particularly eating disorder treatment– go beyond simple marketing; she has actively developed leaders for her organizations and for the industry at large.