National Eating Disorders Association

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How to choose path of treatment for my sister

I've done some research on eating disorder treatment (anorexia is my sister's issue) but how do you decide which kind of treatment? My sister works full time and has kids. There are centers that seem unrealistic due to the expectation that someone will spend many hours there per week. I also looked at psychiatrists which seem more realistic (1 hour per week or however many sessions you want to pay for). How to make a decision where to start? Each option is a little different. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks


Hi! Thank you for posting. We’re sorry to hear about what’s been going with your sister! We hope that you are able to get the support you deserve. We edited parts of your post as forum members cannot mention names of specific treatment centers. Please take a look at our community guidelines here: You can learn more about treatment here: you’re looking for resources, please feel free to contact the Helpline at (800) 931-2237. The Helpline is open Mondays-Thursdays 9AM-9PM EST and Fridays 9AM-5PM EST. During these hours you can chat with us also by clicking the chat now option at the top right hand corner!  Please continue posting! 


Hello. I am so sorry your sister is going through this terrible struggle, at the same time I am proud of you and want to say thank you to you on behalf of sisters who care enough to want to try to help their sibling. As said, unfortunately we are unable to mention specific programs, but I would like you to consider something. She is dealing with a life threatening illness. Going into a partial hospital program my take her away from her job, for which she should have protection, and spend long days in therapy. But if you look at the long picture, if it helps and she gets stronger, she will be able to be a better parent, and employee. Eating disorders take so much from someone. It is much like someone who is addicted to drugs. Their only thought is how to get the next drug. The brain is unable to function properly if not nourished. Sound decisions, thinking clearly, just can not happen because the brain is malnourished along with the rest of her body. So if she gets help now then she stands a better chance at weekly or bi-weekly therapy. Unfortunately, it can be expensive to seek treatment, and it shouldn't be this way. I am fortunate that I have Medicare and Medicaid and I can get therapy, but not with a trained eating disorder therapist. But that is okay because I am in recovery and am back in therapy to help deal with an abusive family member and a family member who is young and may be going onto hospice soon. But a therapist can help deal with underlying issues, fears, traumas, even if they don't specialize in eating disorders.

I hope this helps and thank you again for trying to help your sister. Remember too that unless she wants the help, it limits what a therapist or treatment center can do. Just a sad fact. I wish you the best.