Alabama Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

A variety of rehab types are available throughout your state—ranging from private inpatient to great AL outpatient clinics.

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Eating disorders can have severe negative physical and psychological effects. And while there’s a lot of helpful information online about treating eating disorders, it’s crucial to receive tailored, comprehensive treatment for the best chance at sustained recovery.

If you’re in Alabama, the good news is that there are a number of local eating disorder treatment centers that can help you or your loved one. If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder in Alabama, there may be several types of treatment—and types of treatment centers—available to help.

The kind of care that will work best for you depends on a number of factors, including the eating disorder you’re dealing with, the severity of your condition, your health insurance options, and more.

But generally, there are several levels of care that you’ll be able to access.

Virtual/Online Treatment

For those looking for lower levels of eating disorder treatment, there may be more options to be found in remote treatment. Utilizing the internet, this type of care can be extended to anyone, regardless of where they live, any mobility challenges they may encounter, or their access to transportation.

The good news is that virtual treatment can be just as effective as in-person treatment, according to a study that compared outcomes between two groups of participants.1 Those who received virtual therapy had improved symptoms and were as satisfied with the services provided.

The virtual therapy treatment model involves using HIPAA-compliant software to first schedule a clinical assessment online. Once your treatment begins, you can log in securely to the platform to join your facilitator for a virtual session.

Online treatment for eating disorders is a great option for those who wish to stay in their current environment while they’re recovering and don’t need hospitalization or inpatient treatment. Remote treatment means support wherever you are, whenever you need it.

Online Treatment in Alabama

A nationally-recognized eating disorder treatment program that can help people in Alabama—or anywhere else—is Within Health.

Their intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs give you access to a personal eating disorder treatment team, as well as any medical equipment you may need for remote patient monitoring. Programs also include meal delivery, so you don’t need to worry about planning your next meal.

Within ensures each aspect of your care and recovery is individually tailored to help you reach lasting recovery in the best possible way.

Inpatient and Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment is generally considered the most intensive type of care for eating disorders, and it is offered to patients who are showing severe eating disorder symptoms.

Inpatient care may best serve those who are dangerously underweight and need medical assistance with refeeding; those exhibiting signs of self-harm; or those who are struggling with serious co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety or depression, which may complicate treatment.

Residential treatment is similar to, but ultimately different from, inpatient care.

Both types of eating disorder treatment involve a patient living full-time in a facility, where they follow strictly-monitored schedules and have 24/7 access to care. But patients enrolled in residential treatment programs don’t necessarily need the type of intensive medical intervention necessary for patients in inpatient programs.

Residential treatment for bulimia is ideal for people who have been dealing with the disorder for a long time and need more support and accountability, which they may lack at home.

Inpatient and Residential Treatment Centers in Alabama

If you’re looking for inpatient or residential treatment in Alabama, Magnolia Creek is an example of a licensed treatment center.

The facility is located just outside Birmingham, and it offers adult residential treatment as well as adolescent and teen eating disorder treatment.

Magnolia Creek also offers a transitional living program, described as “a bridge between residential care and home.”

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

When looking at the spectrum for bulimia treatment, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) falls somewhere between inpatient/residential treatment and outpatient treatment.

While participating in a PHP, someone is able to live and sleep at home, but they are still expected to keep up with a substantial amount of treatment. Programs can involve anywhere from 3-6 days a week of treatment and last anywhere from 4-8 hours per day.

As a patient progresses through the PHP, they will generally be required to have fewer contact hours until they’re ready to move on to an intensive outpatient program (IOP).

This intermediary step is good for patients who are ready to begin practicing more autonomy over their decisions but who could still benefit from regular help from a supportive environment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs in Alabama

A Center for Eating Disorders is a PHP located in Birmingham, Alabama. It provides various levels of care for eating disorders, including partial hospitalization for medically stable patients who need daily structured treatment and support.

Intensive Outpatient Programs/Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is generally either the first or last step someone makes on their eating disorder treatment journey. This level of care can be intensive or more relaxed.

An intensive outpatient program is similar to a PHP, though patients are only asked to come to treatment a few times a week for a few hours. This gives them enough free time to start taking on social responsibilities, such as work or school while continuing to practice their new coping skills.

Regular outpatient treatment generally consists of seeing a therapist or nutritionist once or several times per week or occasionally seeing doctors for check-ups or medication consultations. 

In any case, this option is best for patients who have a higher level of control over their symptoms, can function in everyday situations, and don’t need daily interventions or monitoring.

Outpatient Treatment in Alabama

Alsana Birmingham offers an intensive outpatient treatment program for adults and all genders. Their intensive outpatient treatment program allows patients to stay in Alsana off-campus apartments.

Eating Disorder Support Groups in Alabama

People at every level of treatment may benefit from eating disorder support groups, whether they’re in inpatient care or have been in recovery for some time.

If you’re in Alabama and looking for one of these support groups, you may find help at:

  • The University of Alabama: The UAB celebrates Body Appreciation Week during the last week of February each year. This allows you to participate with like-minded individuals looking to help prevent the development of eating-disordered behaviors and attitudes.
  • The Alabama Network for Eating Disorders Awareness: ALNEDA is a volunteer network comprising therapists, educators, health professionals, and individuals offering support to those who need it.
  • Community Centers: Treatment centers like A Center for Eating Disorders offer various free eating disorder community support services.

You can look for additional support group meetings and locations online, or utilize virtual support group programs if there are no in-person options near you.

What to Look for in Alabama Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

When looking for the best eating disorder treatment options in Alabama, it’s important to not only keep in mind the level of care you want or need but other aspects of the facility itself.

Ensuring an Alabama eating disorder treatment center has the proper licensing and accreditation is essential for ensuring you receive the appropriate quality of care.

You can check for accreditation through the Joint Commission or CARF International. You should also check if the facility is licensed to offer treatment services for eating disorders.

Different centers or programs may specialize in different types of eating disorder treatment. This can also have a big impact on your recovery journey.

Some of the most frequently used treatment methods for eating disorders include:

When considering treatment options, it’s also important to keep in mind the stipulations of your insurance policy. Some plans only cover certain evidence-based treatments and may not cover a program that utilizes treatments they deem untested or unnecessary.

Unfortunately, the cost of eating disorder treatment can often be prohibitive. Most people need help from insurance to cover costs.

With that in mind, make sure to check that treatment centers are in-network with your insurance company. Failing that, make sure to see whether they fall within your budget.

Some centers may offer financial assistance, and most treatment programs have employees specifically dedicated to insurance issues who may be able to help you with coverage questions.

Before you enroll in any program, it’s important to confirm whether they will cover your treatment, how much of your treatment they will cover, and how long your coverage will last.

The location of your treatment center can make a big difference if you’re receiving in-person care or otherwise commuting to treatment.

It’s important that whichever center you choose to be easily accessible and convenient for you and your support team. This will typically help ensure you don’t miss treatments, especially during the PHP phase, when a lot of commuting may be involved.

For the best chance at successful treatment, it’s important for people with eating disorders to have some input into which treatment center or program they enroll in.

With this in mind, it’s important to meet with the staff or tour the facility before enrolling in a program, if possible. This can help you to check for rapport and assess comfort and security levels, among other things.

Eating Disorder Statistics in Alabama

Unfortunately, eating disorders are prevalent across the country, including in Alabama. But the state also has its own specific relationship to these issues.

Who Do Eating Disorders Impact in Alabama?

Eating disorders can affect anyone in Alabama, regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

More than 430,000 Alabamians will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

All told, these conditions are estimated to impact 9% of Alabamians at some point in their lives. With a population of roughly 5 million, according to the latest census information, this equates to roughly 430,271 people between the ages of five and 80.2

People of color in Alabama are 50% more likely to be diagnosed or get treatment, while females are twice as likely to have an eating disorder compared to males.2

Economic Impact of Eating Disorders in Alabama

Eating disorders take a disproportionately negative toll on the lives of those affected. But the conditions can also have an impact on society as a whole, including economically.

In Alabama, the annual cost of eating disorders on society comes to nearly one billion dollars—or $996.6 million.2 The factor represents an aggregate of productivity losses, informal care costs, costs to the healthcare system, and more.

In addition, the loss of well-being for those impacted by these conditions comes to an estimated cost of $4.9 billion annually in Alabama alone.2

Eating Disorder Rates in Alabama

Despite having a high percentage of the population who may experience disordered eating behaviors over their life, Alabama may also be seeing an increased rate of these conditions.

One national survey conducted in 2013 indicated that the prevalence of eating disorders is increasing on college campuses nationwide.3 But the University of Alabama, specifically, was one of the colleges surveyed, which means the rate of increase could potentially be higher in the state.

Additional Alabama Eating Disorder Resources

Looking for additional resources to help support eating disorder recovery for you or your loved one in Alabama? Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • The University of Alabama: If you’re a student at the University of Alabama, eating disorder resources are available on campus. The UAB also has an eating disorder treatment team, including physicians, nurse practitioners, counselors, and an athletic trainer, to provide expert answers to your questions. 
  • Treatment center websites: Most treatment centers, including virtual options like Within Health, offer online eating disorder resources for those looking for additional information on bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and more.
  • Other sites: Additional online resources are available from sites like Eating Disorder Hope and the National Eating Disorders Association

Ultimately, if you’re looking for eating disorder treatment, there are a number of options available. But taking the initiative to enroll in a program may be the most important step of all toward getting you or your loved one on the road to recovery.


  1. Steiger H, Booij L, Crescenzi O, Oliverio S, Singer I, Thaler L, St-Hilaire A, & Israel M. (2022). In-person versus virtual therapy in outpatient eating-disorder treatment: A COVID-19 inspired study. The International Journal of Eating Disorders; 55(1):145–150. 
  2. Social & Economic Cost of Eating Disorders in Alabama. (2018). Harvard University. Accessed March 2023. 
  3. Eating Disorders on the College Campus. (2013). National Eating Disorders Association. Accessed March 2023. 

Last Update | 03 - 23 - 2023

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