Overview of our Evidence-Based Treatment for Eating Disorders
The UCSD Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program offers a range of treatment options for teens and adults with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Each individual receives a comprehensive evaluation that determines their individualized treatment plan.
As a university-based program, we provide state-of-the-art treatments based on research and new understandings of eating disorders. Genetic vulnerabilities to anxiety, obsessive and perfectionistic traits predispose individuals to develop eating disorders. These traits can be modified through new coping strategies, to allow these traits to become assets rather than liabilities.
Our adult programs primarily use the evidence-based approaches of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). DBT is a non-judgmental therapeutic approach that balances acceptance with teaching skills for managing dysregulated emotions that can trigger eating disorder symptoms. CBT is a therapeutic approach that is designed to help individuals identify and challenge thoughts that contribute to anxiety, depression, and eating disorder symptoms. Our adolescent programs are based on a Family Based Treatment approach (FBT; also known as the Maudsley Model), and incorporate DBT as well. In this treatment approach, training families to be integrally involved in helping their child recover from an eating disorder is the backbone of treatment, and we also teach the child skills to regulate their emotions and challenge eating disordered thoughts.
Our staff consists of experienced professionals who are located on-site and specialize in eating disorder treatment. Disciplines represented include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychologist interns, psychiatric residents, and registered dietitians.
- Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOP): This program offers a flexible schedule to meet people’s varying needs. Patients can come three to five days a week, from 9-1, 12-4, or 3-7. A meal and group therapy are provided at every session. Individual and family therapy are provided weekly and psychiatric consultation as needed.
- Day Treatment (DT): This program is a more intensive program for those who require more structure and supervision, including meal support. DT meets from 9:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, providing three meals a day plus a variety of evidence-based interventions. A less intensive option meets 9:00am to 3:00pm and provides 2 meals and snack.
- Adolescent Day Treatment (ADT): This program is an intensive treatment approach for adolescents, and meets from 5-8 hours a day Monday through Saturday. Individual and family therapy are provided in addition to skills training groups for both adolescents and their families. Meals are provided for adolescents while they are in program.
- Intensive Multi-Family Therapy: This is a one week intensive program which provides evaluation and treatment for adolescents with AN and their families. To read testimonials from families who have participated in this program, click here.