Types of Eating Disorder Treatment for Children

The UPMC Center for Eating Disorders provides inpatient and outpatient treatment for children with eating disorders.

Inpatient Treatment for Children with Eating Disorders

Inpatient treatment may be useful for children who are severely underweight or in need of medical stabilization because of:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating
  • Other eating disorders

At Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, we have an inpatient eating disorders unit for treating children — age 15 and under.

For older children with eating disorders, inpatient treatment is at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. Care focuses on medical stabilization and behavioral therapy.

Goals of inpatient treatment

  • Balancing nutrition.
  • Restoring minimally adequate body weight.
  • Easing related physical symptoms of eating disorders.
  • Reducing disordered eating habits and behaviors.

Types of inpatient treatment for eating disorders

  • Medical assessment and constant monitoring.
  • Daily one-on-one meetings with the treatment team.
  • Medication management, as needed.
  • Family therapy.

Eating Disorder Partial Hospitalization Program

Our partial hospitalization program (PHP) provides eating disorder treatment for children who:

  • Require close watch and supervised meals.
  • May have failed to benefit from less intensive care.
  • Are acutely ill, but do not need stay in the hospital for inpatient treatment.
  • Need step-down care after inpatient treatment.

Goals of PHP treatment

Treatment focuses on restoring proper nutrition and body weight.

Monday through Friday, the PHP provides 32 hours of nutritional, medical, and psychological treatment.

Nutrition and medical treatments include:

  • Two supervised meals and one snack daily.
  • Nutritional counseling.
  • Close medical monitoring.

Psychological treatments include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Interpersonal therapy.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy.

Outpatient Treatment for Children with Eating Disorders

The UPMC Center for Eating Disorders has two levels of outpatient care at:

Intensive Outpatient Eating Disorder Treatment

The intensive outpatient program (IOP) treats children who:

  • Have returned to school or work but still need structure to continue recovery.
  • Do not meet criteria for partial hospitalization but require more support than individual outpatient treatment.

The IOP is nine hours per week and includes:

  • Three-hour sessions, three nights per week.
  • Two groups and one meal at each session.

Children move between treatment levels based on their treatment needs.

Contact Us About Treating Your Child's Eating Disorder

If you have questions or need help for your child's eating disorder, please call the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders at 412-647-9329.

If you have questions or need help, please call the UPMC Center for Eating Disorders at 412-647-9329.