Published: Oct. 13, 2009
Updated: Oct. 13, 2009
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about eating disorders and Duke's programs for treating eating disorders.
Many people are very confused about when they need treatment. People with eating disorders present with many different types of problems. If concerns about your body, weight, or eating are getting in the way of you living an optimal life or interfering with your health, then treatment may be necessary or beneficial.
If you have concerns, I’d suggest scheduling an assessment or consultation. A clinician from our program can meet with you and ask questions that will help you figure this out.
This is a common concern. Our clinicians are experienced with working with people who are ambivalent (or have mixed feelings) about treatment and can help you determine whether this is right for you.
We see all kinds of people. We see people of all ages, both genders, and with different presenting problems. Our patients are alike in that they are struggling to some degree with eating, food, weight, and their body. Many of them will have other concerns as well, such as symptoms of anxiety or depression.
We recognize that eating disorder symptoms often help an individual cope with other stressors in their life, and for this reason, they can be difficult to give up. The goal of intervention is not just to treat symptoms, but also to help people develop more effective coping skills and address underlying issues and stressors.
We also believe that an interdisciplinary approach to treatment is optimal -- which is why we have clinicians, physicians, and nutritionists who work together as a team. We also consider you the patient or your parents to be an integral part of the treatment team.
We have new groups starting all the time. We base the groups we offer on the current needs of our patients. We have skills groups which are education focused and done in a classroom-style atmosphere.
We also offer process groups which are more fluid and dynamic. In process groups, problems or issues brought in by members are the focus of the sessions.
We will schedule you for an intake assessment. You’ll meet with a clinician who will conduct a clinical interview, and you’ll complete some questionnaires about your symptoms and current functioning.
Our treatment team will compile this information and provide treatment recommendations that are based on your presenting problems and goals.
We ask that you complete an initial assessment of need which is fairly comprehensive. This includes meeting with a mental health clinician, a medical doctor, and the nutritionist.
We then use this information to make informed judgments about what services would be useful for you to continue. However, we do make exceptions based on a new patient’s unique situation. Our treatment team will carefully assess your individual needs and requests.
Our therapists do sometimes collaborate with providers in the community, when it is appropriate. If you can have your most recent medical labs faxed to us, for review by one of physicians, I can schedule you for an initial appointment with one of our clinicians. As part of the initial assessment process they will provide treatment recommendations, and they can discuss this option with you further.
We will work with you to get reimbursed from your insurance. You may also have access to other people or resources that may be able to help.
These kinds of things are difficult to figure out on one’s own. Our team team of professionals will do their best to answer these questions for you after the initial assessment.
If we cannot provide you with what we believe to be the best care for you at this time, we will make referrals and help get you into the appropriate treatment.
We believe that it is very important to involve parents in their child's recovery process. We typically involve parents in their child's individual therapy, either by pulling them in for the last part of the session, or by scheduling regular family therapy sessions. We offer a parent training manual to families at the initial evaluation.
Parents can receive individual parent coaching with one of our staff, or they can attend one of our ongoing support groups or weekend workshops. These groups help to provide parents with basic information regarding the function of eating disorders, provide strategies for effective parenting strategies in the context of eating disorder behaviors, and provide support to parents during this difficult process.
We have people who choose to come in for an assessment (regardless of whether they plan to receive treatment at our facility) and this is sometimes the best option if there are not specialized services in your area.
After the assessment, we can provide recommendations and put you in touch with the appropriate facilities or treatment providers. We also have people who decide to relocate for a bit to receive concentrated services in a program.
For some, neither of these are optimal courses of action -- either because they have comparable services in their area or because they do not have the flexibility to make this work. Each situation is unique; and it is probably best that you talk with the clinician on call about your particular needs.