Residential Treatment: An Expensive Joke

$30,000. That number right there is the average cost for just ONE month of ED treatment at a residential facility. Now most patients don’t just stay at these centers for a month, most of the time these patients can be condemned there for anywhere from 4 to 6 months. This means that this level of care can suck $120,000 to $180,000 right out of your wallet. The worst part? Insurance companies tend to turn their noses up when it comes to paying for residential treatment. Why? Because they claim their is no concrete evidence that shows that residential treatment facilities do anything to help save the person from the clutches of their merciless eating disorder.

And you know what? I agree with them.

After experiencing a residential treatment center firsthand at the over-rated Rogers Memorial Hospital, I’ve seen how one can completely lose any motivation to recover. Every day, you find yourself fighting with the staff for “privileges” that should be considered a God-given right! I remember nearly falling on my knees to beg the therapist to allow me to contact my parents or go outside. As more days pass by with you being treated like some type of criminal, you find yourself falling into a deep depression.  You begin to hate yourself even more and whatever hope for recovery you once had, just dissolves like sugar in water. You then turn to your eating disorder more than ever before in order to cope with the maltreatment.  Hiding food at mealtimes, exercising in the bathroom, and purging in the dirty porcelain toilets becomes something you do a lot more regularly than you ever before. Of course you get caught and of course that results in some major repercussions (like taking away your phone privileges, outside time,  or even having some staff member stalk you 24/7), but the more disciplinary actions that take, the more you want to fight back. Inevitably, this results in a vicious and unending cycle.

I am not the only one who has been failed by residential treatment for ED and evidence suggests that the odds were against me. You see, there is NO scientific proof that shows eating disorder residential treatment centers have better outcomes that outpatient treatment. If anything, residential treatment centers probably have WORSE long-term outcomes. According to a study published in 2006 by the International Journal of Eating Disorders, it was found that a majority of the treatment was spent in unproven therapies such as art and spirituality. The therapies that are PROVEN to be the most effective in the treatment of eating disorders (CBT, DBT, and family therapy) were given the least attention during the course of residential treatment, with an average of only about 21 minutes per week!  How can one expect to recover form an eating disorder when therapies that are most effective are almost completely neglected?

I find it utterly disturbing that residential treatment centers brag about how many people have recovered while in their program and how absolutely wonderful the center is. In reality, all these centers care about is the money. There is no evidence that supports their outlandish claims, but their IS evidence for treatments like the famed Maudsley Approach, CBT, and DBT. These are ALL therapies that can be done on an outpatient basis! So please, don’t waste a penny on residential when there are treatment options that have been shown to actually kick ED’s ass instead of just hiding him.


For more information, check out these links!

Should Insurance Companies Cover Residential Treatment for Eating Disorder?

Rethinking Residential Treatment: Less is More

Effective Treatments and Long-term Outcomes for People with Eating Disorders

FEAST-ED.ORG – The Maudsley Approach

World Psychiatry – The Maudsley family-based treatment for adolescent anorexia nervosa


One thought on “Residential Treatment: An Expensive Joke

  1. I am so sorry that has been your experience of treatment centers! I know that the one I went was great for the most part. Some out there are really trying to do the right thing. But many lose sight of it. 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s