Adult Intensive Family Therapy Program
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is often a chronic disorder with symptoms lasting many years or even a lifetime. When an individual suffers from the devastating illness of AN, all members of the family and the relationships between them are profoundly affected. Some of the latest research in the eating disorders field points to potentially unprecedented levels of success when families become centrally involved in the treatment process. The Adult Intensive Family Therapy Program (A-IFT) is one of the only programs available that focuses on involving carers in the treatment and recovery of individuals with AN.
AN develops as a result of a powerful biology that is difficult to overcome without the support and assistance from loved ones. Our model empowers carers to be involved in treatment to ensure successful recovery. Research suggests that enlisting support from loved ones can lead to better outcomes in recovery. If you or your loved one have failed to benefit from individually-focused treatments, a family-based model may improve your success.
The purpose of this unique treatment is to provide support members of persons with eating disorders (CARERS) with the understanding and the tools necessary to successfully interact with and care for their loved one at home using a family-based model. In addition, we teach adults with AN how to understand the symptoms that they are having and develop more effective coping strategies.
We believe the UCSD Adult Intensive Multi-Family Therapy Program for treatment of anorexia nervosa will benefit individuals suffering from AN in powerful ways that can only come about from family involvement. Additionally, the entire family will benefit from the improved understanding, communication, and capacity for growth that comes from attending the program.
The A-IFT program is designed for adults (18 -35 years old) with AN and their families. The program caters to individuals with AN and family members who are interested in learning effective skills and strategies for managing eating disorder symptoms in a collaborative manner. Optimally, parents, the patient, and spouse/significant other take part in the program, which lasts from Monday through Friday and involves approximately 30 hours of treatment. Most of the families do not live locally in San Diego. Families typically choose to stay in a local hotel or rent housing for the week.
The five days incorporate a number of treatment components including medical examination, psychiatric evaluation, family-based treatment for anorexia (FBT), systemic family therapy, contracting, psychoeducation, parent coaching, carers sessions, and cognitive behavioral therapies.
Families usually fly in the weekend before the treatment week and stay at a hotel within walking distance from our building. Nearby Hotels.
We may require a letter from your local physician documenting medical stability for an outpatient level of care. In most cases, we will not provide medical care or evaluation through our clinic, however, we can assist in making referrals to a physician and/or psychiatrist for additional treatment if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is your success rate?
While we have not conducted a formal research study, preliminary results from our adolescent intensive family program are very promising as our treatment appears to minimize the need for hospitalization and maximizes good outcome. We are currently collecting data on our adult intensive program to gather information and evidence for family-based treatment models for adults.
Do we need insurance for this program?
The UCSD 5-Day Intensive Multi-Family Therapy Program is a relatively new program to insurance companies and due to the unique structure of the program, insurance coverage varies. Our billing office supports patients by providing an insurance screening which allows us to verify and interpret coverage for this program. We also provide a financial consultation to go over your financial responsibility for this program. We are contracted with a number of insurance companies which are listed on our website homepage. We attempt to work with out-of-network insurance companies to obtain a single case agreement, if possible.
All patients should provide insurance information prior to admission regardless of coverage and a claim will be submitted to your insurance company on your behalf if appropriate. Our program is considered "facility" services and charges cannot be submitted by the patient.
Some insurance plans have exclusions for eating disorders and/or other limitations that can prevent payment for treatment. Many times, families choose to self-pay for services and/or find resources within their extended family to help with payment.
Contact our Insurance Coordinator, Christina Vizcarra, at (858) 246-0997 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of our contracted insurance companies or for any questions regarding insurance.
What can we get in just 5 days?
The treatment of AN often involves lengthy hospital or residential stays, during which time patients may gain weight. However, many patients tend to relapse after they leave the structured setting of the hospital or residential program. Consequently, for many, AN becomes a chronic disorder, with symptoms lasting many years or even a lifetime, and with significant medical complications. The purpose of this program is to train individuals and carers in effective strategies for managing the illness upon transitioning home to avoid a cycle of readmission to more intensive levels of care .
Treatment of eating disorders often is long, difficult and extremely expensive. While in some cases costly inpatient or residential stays cannot be avoided, in other situations, a family can be guided through the process of providing care at home. Our intensive, 5-day program is designed to help families determine whether outpatient, family-based care may be a viable treatment option in their unique situation.
This week is a powerful intervention, but it is not a stand alone treatment for treating AN. Rather, it is an important, previously underutilized part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Simply put, the focus of A-IFT is to teach carers effective ways to care for and work with their loved one with AN at home.