Science in the Service of Improving the Treatments for Eating Disorders
There is a growing understanding of how powerful brain processes contribute to behaviors that create and sustain anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Such knowledge has resulted in court rulings, such as a recent New Jersey case, that have classified eating disorders as a biologically based brain disorder. In turn, this has compelled insurance companies to cover eating disorders in the same way they pay for physical illnesses. However, relatively little has been done to apply new understanding of biology to develop more effective treatment. The ED program at UCSD is an international leader in employing new treatments based on science and research into the neurobiology of AN and BN. The following are examples of how we are using this new knowledge to provide better treatment for you:
- The relapse rate in AN and BN is very high, because people are often unable to deal with the reduced structure after discharge from inpatient or residential programs. Families may not have developed effective supportive strategies to maintain the gains made in inpatient treatment , and help the patient cope with stress.. Our primary goal is to prevent relapse by helping individuals with eating disorders, and their families, learn to be successful in a “real-world” environment.
- The fees charged by our program are mainly used to support our highly talented, full-time, faculty and staff who have advanced degrees (MD, PhD, etc.) and many years of experience. Patients and families often have some choice in where they seek healthcare. Those who value the incorporation of new science into treatment, and prioritize the skill of the staff over the looks of the facility, will find our philosophy most appropriate to their needs.
- We use treatments derived from evidence-based or best-practice methods supported by the scientific literature. Moreover, we seek to deliver lower cost treatments, in the least restrictive setting.
- Our program helps people develop more effective strategies to cope with the altered appetite, reward, anxiety, obsessionality, and impulse control alterations that contribute to a vulnerability to develop an ED and the difficulties in sustaining recovery.