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A group of adolescents
May 20, 2024

3 Reasons to Recommend PHP/IOP Treatment for Your Adolescent Patients This Summer

Summer can be a hectic time for families. With vacations planned, camps booked, and social gatherings scheduled, your patient’s family may hesitate to seek eating disorder treatment. Unfortunately, these illnesses leave no room for putting off care. The “right time” for treatment may, in fact, be this summer — not because the timing is perfect, but because the sooner an eating disorder is treated, the better. 

Eating disorders are severe, potentially life-threatening illnesses. Adolescent patients are particularly vulnerable to their effects, as they are in a critical stage of development physically, emotionally, and mentally. Therefore, it is critical to get your young patients the help they need as quickly as possible. As a healthcare provider, you play an essential role in identifying the signs of an eating disorder and referring young patients to the right resources. Early intervention is crucial to protecting their overall health and achieving positive treatment outcomes. 

What Is Early Eating Disorder Intervention?

At Veritas Collaborative, our early intervention services include partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). These programs are intended for patients who do not require medical stabilization or 24/7 monitoring but need more structure and support than non-intensive outpatient care. Patients typically spend a minimum of 30 hours per week in PHP and a minimum of 12 hours per week in IOP. Adolescent PHP and IOP provide:

  • Structured treatment during the day with the flexibility to return home in the evenings
  • Skills-based group therapy to help patients build a solid foundation for lasting recovery
  • Personalized meal plans that incorporate a wide variety of foods
  • A supportive community where patients can connect with others who understand their experiences
  • Family and community of support coping skills and preparation
  • Experienced multidisciplinary care teams who work closely with patients to help them build peaceful relationships with food and their bodies

Why Recommend Eating Disorder Treatment During the Summer?

While it’s true that there is never a perfect time for treatment — it is necessary no matter the time of year — summer provides a unique window of opportunity for patients and families.

1. More flexible schedules

During the school year, adolescents and their families may struggle to balance eating disorder treatment with a busy schedule of academic and extracurricular activities. It can be difficult to dedicate the time and energy necessary for successful treatment. Opting for care during the summer allows patients to prioritize recovery without the added pressures of school and extracurriculars.

2. Support for summertime triggers 

Summer often involves more socializing, warm-weather clothing that can feel more revealing, and a significant change in routine. All of these factors can be triggering to an adolescent with an eating disorder. The summer also brings more free time – and with it, an opportunity for eating disorder thoughts and behaviors to intensify. Among other benefits, treatment helps adolescents with eating disorders develop strategies to cope with these triggers in productive ways.

3. Time and space to build a solid foundation for recovery

Summer break offers patients and their families an opportunity to cultivate new habits, practice coping skills, and establish a routine that supports ongoing recovery before the school year resumes. By taking advantage of this time, patients can set themselves up for a successful transition back into school and beyond.

Encouraging patients and their families to seek eating disorder treatment can be challenging, as there are always reasons to delay it. However, it’s crucial to remind them that early intervention is the key to a smoother, longer-lasting recovery. While seeking care can be difficult at any time, summer treatment can set your patients up for greater success in their recovery journey.

If you spot the signs of an eating disorder in a young patient, refer them to Veritas Collaborative’s early intervention services today.