Eating Disorders Affect the Whole Family

When someone has an eating disorder, the entire family is affected. They not only require help coping with the illness, they need to be a strong support system for their loved one.

The Role of the Family in Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment

Family-based treatment (FBT) is the focal point of Walden’s treatment programs for children and adolescents. FBT creates an active and positive role for parents and siblings.

As part of the FBT model, parents/caretakers learn the skills to combat the eating disorder alongside their child. Parents are required to attend various group sessions, individual family meetings and supported family dinners while their child is enrolled in our intensive outpatient program. This is extremely hard work – and a big time commitment – for both the adolescent/child. It requires a lot of patience, but it works.

We provide family members with the education, skills and resources to best support their loved one, from the most challenging days all the way through recovery. We want families to feel engaged and empowered.

Results of Walden’s Family-Based Program

Walden’s family-based approach is achieving even better results compared with traditional popular family-based interventions.

In a published study, adolescents who discharged from Walden’s intensive outpatient program (IOP) were followed after one year post-treatment and again after five years. It was found that two-thirds of these adolescent clients with anorexia were medically recovered at the one-year follow-up, while 75%-90% of adolescent clients remained fully weight-restored at the five-year follow-up.

The Role of the Family in Adult Eating Disorder Treatment

Wherever possible, Walden encourages the participation of a loved one in the treatment process our adult patients. We know that the eating disorder voice is incredibly strong. As such, an individual can never have enough support, especially once they have discharged from a more intensive treatment setting.

Loved ones are encouraged to attend individual therapy sessions not only to learn how to better support their family member, but also to receive education about the disorder and the effects it can have on all aspects of life.

A Specialized Program for Families Dealing with Eating Disorders

With family involvement a priority, Walden Behavioral Care has treated thousands of individuals seeking to recover from ARFID, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or OSFED.

We offer one of the nation’s only full systems of care for treating eating disorders. Our promise to all families is:

  • The right level of care, as close to home as possible
  • An individualized treatment program aligned with your family’s unique needs
  • A specialized treatment team to fully support you, every step of the way
  • The highest level of respect, privacy and safety for your family

Treatment for your loved one at Walden includes many things. In addition to family-based therapy for children and adolescents, individuals can receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), medical management, nutritional counseling, expressive therapy, psychotherapy and relapse prevention.

A Special Team to Assess Your Family’s Needs

We’re here to ensure the health and safety of your loved one. To achieve that goal, we begin with a comprehensive assessment by a team of professionals with expertise in many different fields.

Families work collaboratively with a specialized team of eating disorders experts with dozens of years of collective experience. This may include psychiatrists, nurses, dietitians, therapists, social workers and mental health counselors.

Walden provides all levels of care: inpatient care, residential care, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care and outpatient care. As your loved one progresses toward recovery, the level of care will change to best suit their needs at any given time.

For Your Family’s Convenience, Care Is Nearby

Eating disorders create challenges for both families and loved ones. One of Walden’s roles is to help you manage that stress by providing treatment that’s as accessible and close to home as possible.

That’s why Walden has sought to establish clinics in convenient locations throughout the states we serve. Having treatment close to home minimizes the pressure of keeping medical appointments and enables most individuals to remain at home throughout the treatment process.

We also want the families we serve to continue to lead their lives and enable their loved ones to attend school, and spend time with their family and friends.

Walden has clinics throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia. Our 14 locations include two inpatient units, a residential facility and 11 ambulatory care clinics. Patients can receive care in Amherst, Braintree, Milford, Peabody, Waltham and Worcester, Mass.; Guilford, South Windsor and Vernon, Conn., and Alpharetta, Decatur and Dunwoody, Ga.

Regain Your Life. Walden Can Help.

If you are concerned that your loved one may have an eating disorder, do something about it. Please call 781-647-6727 to speak with a Walden eating disorders intake specialist or complete the form on this page.

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