Treatment Services

Upon admission, each patient is evaluated by a board-certified psychiatrist to determine the most effective level of care. Treatment levels include:

  • Inpatient treatment. Our 20-bed inpatient unit offers psychological, medical, nursing and nutritional care in a highly structured environment. We are one of only two programs in New Jersey to provide inpatient care for eating disorders patients.
  • Acute Partial hospitalization. A five day a week program, with five hours of staff directed programming per day.
  • Intensive outpatient services. A three day a week program, with three hours of staff directed programming per day.
  • Weekly support groups for patients. We also offer educational sessions and free weekly support groups for family and friends to help them better understand the nature of eating disorders and the recovery process.

Eating disorders can be destructive physically, emotionally, socially, financially and intellectually, and without treatment and intervention, can ultimately cause death. Eating disorders, unfortunately, can serve a purpose in a person's life, as maladapted and harmful as they can be. And even though these illnesses are life threatening, the disorder often is used as a coping mechanism or a way to feel "in control" when life feels unmanageable.

Treatment in a safe supportive environment can provide individuals skills and insights to challenge distorted beliefs, change harmful behaviors, and work on identifying and treating the underlying issues that can sustain the disorder.

Who is Appropriate for Treatment

People experiencing the following should seek an evaluation of their condition:

  • Dramatic weight loss through self-imposed dieting and/or binge-eating followed by self-induced vomiting or the use of laxatives
  • Significant weight fluctuations which may be accompanied by severe gastrointestinal problems
  • Continuous concern with food, weight, and body image which cause significant disruptions in their daily lives

Program Features

After a comprehensive evaluation the patient’s treatment is planned to ensure that she or he receives the services needed for recovery.

Treatment may include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy and education
  • Specialized groups (body image, women's issues, spirituality, and stress reduction)
  • Medication management and education
  • Nutrition education
  • Self-help groups
  • Occupational therapy
  • Creative arts therapy
  • Aftercare groups

The program typically combines a goal-oriented hospitalization with a continuum of outpatient treatment that allows individuals to remain within the social network of family and friends, school, or job. The program also coordinates school services for hospitalized and home-schooled students.

The location within Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset assures that the full spectrum of diagnostic and emergency services is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

How Patients Start Treatment

Treatment begins with a phone call to our Assessment Center (800) 300-0628 for an appointment. On their appointment day individuals will have an initial evaluation with a psychiatrist to determine the level of treatment necessary to start the process of recovery. Individuals determined appropriate for inpatient care will be admitted on the day of the evaluation and are encouraged to bring belongings from home to make themselves more comfortable. Individuals who start at the inpatient level of care will receive medical and/or psychiatric stabilization.

In some cases, based off of admission criteria for outpatient care, individuals may be admitted to the acute partial hospital program or our intensive outpatient program .

Family Involvement

As a patient's eating disorder may affect the entire family, our program offers family education sessions that enable parents and siblings to better understand the nature of eating disorders and the process of recovery.

A Caring and Experienced Staff

Our interdisciplinary staff includes psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, therapists, registered dietitians, creative arts therapists and occupational therapists who have special expertise in eating disorders. Our staff members are nationally recognized as experts in the field, appearing on CBS' "48 Hours" and NBC's "Today" and participating in a White House conference on mental health.

If needed, patients have access to specialists at the medical center, including cardiologists, gastroenterologists, obstetrician/ gynecologists, and pediatricians. In addition, licensed teachers work closely with patients' schools to coordinate an educational plan. Tutors are available to provide one-on-one assistance with schoolwork.

Patient Stories

  • “They had everything the family was looking for.”

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  • “The people at RWJUH Somerset helped me realize that there was so much to fight for and that all the things that we did each day were going to add up to something.”

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  • “It was reassuring to talk with people who experienced the same problems"

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Patient Stories

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