Duke offers personalized treatment for the full spectrum of eating disorders and body image issues, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, Selective Eating Disorder (SED) also known as picky eating or Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and obesity. The Duke Center for Eating Disorders emphasizes proven methods to help you learn to live fully in your body and be free to live a vital, meaningful life.
Expert care for anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders
If you or your loved one suffers from an eating or body image disorder, we can help. Our team of specialists are nationally recognized experts in the research and treatment of eating disorders. We are uniquely qualified to help you overcome eating disorders, as well as the complications that may occur, so you can ultimately live a healthy life. We work closely with you to understand the symptoms and their impact, and teach alternative coping strategies. We do this by developing a treatment approach that takes into account your personal issues and challenges, as well as your experiences within your family and community. Our experience shows that families come away stronger when they participate in their loved one’s treatment.
Choose Duke for your eating disorders treatment because we offer:
- Team approach to treatment. You’ll work with physicians and therapists from many specialties, including psychiatrists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists and nutritionists. We also work closely with specialists throughout Duke Health to provide care for people with complex conditions often associated with eating disorders such as diabetes, celiac disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, digestive disorders and endocrine disorders.
- Nationally recognized experts. We have decades of experience improving our patients’ health and eating habits. Our pioneering program for adult picky eaters has been featured in Time magazine and ABC-TV's Nightline. This program followed a seven-year-old girl who had a fear of food, now recognized as ARFID, and introduced many families to Duke's program and research in picky eating.
- Selective eating disorder treatment and support. Extreme picky eating, often referred to as selective eating disorder, and now officially recognized as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, is offered to children and adults who live near to Duke. Learn about our additional treatment options, including immersion programs and parent workshops. Add your name to our mailing list.
- A holistic approach. We believe treatment should take into account your personal issues and challenges, as well as your experiences within your family and your community. Our methods are aimed at addressing all the factors that affect your body image and eating patterns.
- Family support and training. We know the important role your family plays in your well being. We offer parent-training groups and weekends, as well as sibling and spouse support.
- Range of therapy options. We realize that not every patient responds to every type of therapy. We offer individual, group, and family psychotherapies, medical management, psychopharmacology, and nutritional counseling. Our doctors and therapists identify the best method to improve your relationship with food.
- Access to clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in studies designed to better understand, and explore new treatments for eating disorders, including picky eating in adults. For more information, please email Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our treatment approaches are based on research that proves them to be the most effective. After gathering information about your history and goals, we tailor a plan that’s right for you to develop healthy eating habits. Your plan may include:
Combines advances in cognitive-behavioral treatment with mindfulness-based approaches. In so doing, you will learn to become more aware and accepting of ongoing joyous and aversive experiences so that life becomes more vital from moment to moment. We’ll work with you to develop problem-solving skills and meal planning, as well as explain the importance of food diaries.
Emphasizes how you experience and respond to your emotions. You’ll learn how to keep your emotions in check, become more mindful and improve your interpersonal skills. The goal of this therapy is to reduce the symptoms that trigger your eating disorder.
We encourage you to notice and accept unwelcome thoughts and feelings that contribute to disordered eating rather than trying to control or block them. We also work with you to help you identify your personal values so you can find greater meaning in life.
Builds on what is known about physiological changes that occur with the experience of traumatic life events. By helping you to activate the restorative branch of your nervous system in the presence of aversive remembrances, you will be taught to more fully experience the full range of emotions rather than being closed off due to past traumatic events.
We help you build and maintain quality relationships with family members, friends and co-workers, all of who help to reduce the symptoms of your eating disorders.
We believe it’s important to involve your social support network in your treatment. Your family members will be part of the support team that helps you restore your health.
Group support can be invaluable in regaining your footing, whether you or your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. We offer several ongoing skill-focused group treatments. Some are geared for adults and adolescents with eating disorders, and others for parents and spouses of patients. Some are geared for adults and adolescents with eating disorders, and others for parents and spouses.
Essential to restoring healthy eating habits, nutrition therapy starts with a one-on-one evaluation with a registered dietician who assesses your current eating habits and designs a program tailored to your specific needs. We design meal plans to establish a healthy and balanced diet, taking into account your preferences, schedule and metabolic needs.
Understanding how certain foods affect your mood and emotions can help you make better food choices. We help you increase your awareness of the complex interaction between foods and mood through the use of cell phone apps and biological measurements, such as your blood sugar and stress hormone levels.
We are at the forefront of care for this newly recognized eating problem, where children and adults severely restrict the types of food they eat, or reject foods on the basis of taste, texture or sensory quality. This eating pattern can lead to inadequate nutrition, family conflict and social isolation. If you are affected by selective eating, you will learn skills that help you manage fears of necessary foods.
We conduct several evaluations to determine the best course of treatment for you.
We gather a detailed health history, and work with you to identify the goals of your treatment.
Your answers to our questions help us assess the severity of your symptoms and other factors that may affect your treatment, including your personality, stress levels, social functioning and coping skills.