Treatment Services

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

  • Inpatient treatment. Our 14-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.
  • Partial hospitalization. Up to five days a week, with five hours of therapy per day.
  • Intensive outpatient services. Up to three days a week, with three hours of therapy 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 can ultimately cause death. Eating disorders serve a purpose in a person's life. Although 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 skills and insights that enable the individual to challenge distorted beliefs, change harmful behaviors and work on the underlying issues that 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, 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 – causing their lives to become severely compromised

Program Features

After a comprehensive evaluation, each 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
  • Recreation therapy
  • Aftercare groups

The program typically combines a brief 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 schooling services for hospitalized and home-bound students.

The location within Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset assures that the full spectrum of diagnostic and emergency services is always available.

How Patients Start Treatment

Treatment begins with a phone call to our Assessment Center (800-914-9444). Patients then receive an initial evaluation with one of our psychiatrists to determine the level of treatment necessary to start the process of recovery. Many patients start at the inpatient level of care to "break the cycle" of the eating disorder. In some cases, patients are referred to the partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient levels of care.

Once someone decides to be admitted, they are "medically cleared" through lab work, and EKG and clearance by a family medicine position. Patents can be admitted on the day of the evaluation, and are encouraged to bring belongings from home to make themselves more comfortable.

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, social workers, registered dietitians and occupational and physical 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, a licensed teacher works closely with patients' schools to coordinate an educational plan. Tutors are available to provide one-on-one assistance with schoolwork.