Eating Disorders Center for Treatment and Research

Family walking on Beach

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.