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June 15, 2023

3 Ways PHP/IOP Can Help Adults Balancing Treatment and Family Life

Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, and yet, research shows that a majority of diagnosed, suffering adults will not seek treatment for their symptoms or concerns. We know that early treatment is critical when navigating the challenging landscape of an eating disorder. The longer one delays care, the greater the risks are for an extended duration of illness, heightened social isolation, increased body shape concerns, deeper internalization of eating disorder-related cognitive distortions, and worsened mental and physical outcomes, including a heightened mortality risk. 

The treatment of eating disorders often requires practitioners of all disciplines to engage in challenging conversations with their patients. Managing ambivalence, preferences, and resistance to recommendations for entering specialty eating disorder care are known concerns when working with adults affected by eating disorders. For adults with children, concerns about care often revolve around leaving behind family. 

Veritas Collaborative recognizes that eating disorders can impact individuals from all walks of life. As such, we approach treatment from a whole-person perspective, designed to meet our patients at whatever stage they are at in life, and with their community of support (i.e., children, spouse) in mind. Knowing that the prospect of leaving behind their children can keep individuals from pursuing treatment, we offer a solution in our partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs (PHP & IOP) for adults. PHP/IOP is an ideal option for many parents with eating disorders because it allows them the ability to attend to familial and work obligations while still receiving comprehensive, evidence-based treatment at a higher level of care and structure. Read on for key discussion points to engage reluctant adults in PHP/IOP care.

What Does Intensive Eating Disorder Treatment Look Like?

Intensive eating disorder treatment (PHP/IOP) is for patients who require more structure and supervised support than outpatient sessions alone but do not need medical stabilization or 24/7 monitoring. PHP/IOP offers greater flexibility than residential treatment, allowing patients to live at home while receiving the professional care they need throughout the week, either virtually or in-person at our facilities. Patients can expect to spend a minimum 30 hours a week in PHP and a minimum of 12 hours per week in IOP. Adult PHP/IOP treatment at Veritas Collaborative provides:

  • Structured treatment during the day with the ability to return home in the evening 
  • Skills-based group therapy to help patients build a solid foundation for lasting recovery in the home environment
  • Personalized meal plans that incorporate a wide variety of foods
  • Shared therapeutic meals, offering the opportunity to practice new food skills under the care of our multidisciplinary care team
  • Group therapy sessions that reinforce other treatment components and allow for age-appropriate connection with others 
  • Individual therapy sessions to explore one’s unique eating disorder experience (including in the context of parenthood) and provide strategies to regulate the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors maintaining their illness
  • Family and community of support coping skills and preparation
  • Comprehensive “cope ahead”/discharge planning for anticipating and managing potential triggers outside of treatment

How Can PHP/IOP Help Balance Treatment with Family Life?

Leaving one’s children to access care can feel like an overwhelming prospect. Veritas Collaborative’s PHP and IOP treatment offers patients our leading compassionate, individualized, and structured care while giving them the ability to maintain life at home with their family and support system.

1. Allows the flexibility of living at home

Our PHP and IOP services are ideal for individuals who require intensive eating disorder treatment and the ability to maintain their commitments at home. The combination of flexibility and structure offered in PHP/IOP provides patients with the space to practice healthy recovery skills while also having the holistic support they need to succeed. The lack of around-the-clock monitoring in PHP/IOP treatment helps patients accommodate parts of their usual routine, giving them greater autonomy that fits their schedule along with vital access to a significant amount of support from their team.

2. Recovery can take root in the family setting

PHP and IOP enables recovery in real life in a way that isn’t immediately possible with other levels of care. PHP/IOP patients can take skills home right away, such as using therapeutic meal experiences to inform family meals. We know that involving families and communities of support in treatment is associated with better treatment outcomes. The integration of PHP/IOP with the home environment further facilitates family involvement in eating disorder care, offering family members the opportunity to see their loved one’s recovery in real-time and learn how to support their loved one both during treatment and after discharge. Family members take on a greater therapeutic alliance with PHP/IOP care. 

3. Provides added structure to build a solid recovery foundation

Too much freedom too soon can be detrimental to someone struggling with an eating disorder. While the added independence of outpatient treatment might feel like the ideal, least-disruptive care option, the reality is that for those whose eating disorder behaviors and symptom frequency indicate that a higher level of care is needed, starting with outpatient can put one at greater risk for falling back into disordered habits. Intervention at the appropriate level of care is imperative for those struggling with eating disorders. The time commitment and added support of PHP/IOP provide much-needed structure, which plays a critical role in reducing the likelihood of relapse. Recovery favors routine.

Our eating disorder treatment centers can be a place to heal and form new associations with food and your body.

Balancing family responsibilities with eating disorder treatment can feel impossible. Veritas Collaborative is committed to responding to the need for individualized, evidence-based care that meets our patients where they are. Talk to one of our professionals today at 612-402-3061 or refer a patient through our online form to learn more about how we can help plant the seeds of hope for healing.