Eating Disorder Treatment in Delaware

Diverse rehab approaches can be utilized in your state—from luxury in-patient to high-quality DE outpatient center.

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Eating disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting millions of people from all walks of life.

These conditions aren’t just about food—they’re about the way someone thinks about themselves and their body. And they can have a significant impact on someone’s physical and emotional health, affecting their relationships with others and their overall quality of life.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, it’s essential to find care for the condition that is both evidence-based and suited to your needs. Thankfully, if you live in Delaware, there are many options for finding these kinds of treatments.

Types of Eating Disorder Treatment in Delaware

Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder (BED), among others, occur on a spectrum, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.

As such, there are several levels of care that have been developed to help individuals struggling with these conditions.

When considering the type of eating disorder treatment that may work best for you, it’s important to keep in mind the level of care that may offer the most help.

Virtual Treatment

Virtual treatment is the newest way to care for eating disorders, but it’s becoming increasingly popular.

This format allows Delaware patients to connect with their therapist, psychologist, nutrition counselor, or primary care physician online, or sometimes over the phone or via text. And the streamlined approach can help extend outreach to any number of patients, including those not near in-person facilities, those with mobility or transportation challenges, and those with complicated schedules.

It’s important to note that this level of care may not be suitable for every case. Those with more severe eating disorders may benefit from the closer monitoring that comes with in-person treatment. But in many cases, virtual care has been found to be equally as effective as in-person treatment. [2]

Virtual Therapy in Delaware

One of the benefits of virtual care is that it’s not tied to geographic location. Still, it’s important that these services have medical staff who are licensed to operate in the state in question. In that regard, the online services offered by Within Health are among the best virtual care options available to Delaware residents.

This program helps connect patients to a care team chosen specifically for their care and can even alleviate at-home care by providing medical equipment and pre-planned meals through the mail.

Inpatient and Residential Treatment

Inpatient care in Delaware is typically reserved for the most extreme eating disorder cases. Taking place in a hospital facility, this level of care is meant primarily to bring someone to the point of medical stabilization in order for them to seek more in-depth treatment.

Inpatient care involves 24/7 medical monitoring and is usually only recommended for those experiencing a medical crisis. This stage generally lasts between one to three weeks.

Once someone is stable enough to leave the hospital setting, they can enter a residential treatment program. These programs also include 24/7 access to care and medical staff but take place in a more home-like environment.

Residential programs generally follow strictly regimented schedules, which can include individual and group therapy sessions, meal support, nutritional counseling, and medical monitoring, among other treatments. These programs involve someone living at a center full-time and can last anywhere from several weeks to several months.

Delaware Inpatient and Residential Programs

In Delaware, Lifestance Health is a leader in eating disorder treatment. The program has multiple locations around the state and offers numerous types of treatment, including residential care.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are the middle-ground of eating disorder treatment. Patients following a PHP will live and sleep at home and commute to treatment sessions, though these programs are intensive, running anywhere from 4-6 days a week, up to 8 hours a day. [1]

PHPs in Delaware provide plenty of structure and support for someone who may still need help managing their disordered eating behaviors but allow them the autonomy to start making food-based decisions outside of a hospital setting.

Many patients continue the same therapies and treatments they received at residential care during this stage. And as a patient progresses through treatment, the intensity of their schedule may change.

Delaware Partial Hospitalization Programs

Delaware residents interested in a partial hospitalization program can look to Dover Behavioral Health for services and more information.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is generally either the first step or the last step in someone’s treatment journey. In either case, it’s the best option for those who can better manage their eating disorder symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors, though who may want additional help and support.

During the outpatient treatment stage, someone lives and sleeps at home while maintaining their care visits as part of a regular schedule. Still, the level of this care varies.

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) in DE may be recommended for someone who is stepping down from higher levels of care or someone with more difficulty controlling their thoughts and behaviors. These programs may include therapy sessions several days a week or sessions that are longer than normal outpatient appointments.

Regular outpatient care is generally the least intensive, with someone checking in with a therapist or other member of their care team once a week or a few times a month.

Delaware Outpatient Services

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, Thriveworks in Newark, DE, can help. Their outpatient treatment center offers a number of options for eating disorder treatment that can be customized to fit your specific needs.

What to Look for in a DE Eating Disorder Treatment Center/Program

Finding the proper treatment for an eating disorder is an important decision with many considerations. The task can feel overwhelming, so when choosing among the treatment centers in Delaware, it might help to keep certain factors in mind.

Licensing and Accreditation

While a number of state and national laws function to ensure staff at treatment centers are highly qualified, it never hurts to ensure doctors, nurses, and other staff members are properly licensed.

Accreditation is another important indicator of a program’s general quality. This certification attests that the program has been examined by industry-leading organizations and has been found to meet a certain level of standards.

Treatment Methods

Eating disorder treatment programs can utilize a variety of approaches, including:

While these all aim to help alleviate eating disorder symptoms and the mental and physical distress that drives them, they all function in different ways and stem from different philosophies on recovery. 

Some methods may also be more well-tailored for those who struggle with specific co-occurring disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or substance use disorder (SUD).

If you have questions about the type of therapy that may work best for you, you can ask your physician, therapist, or the treatment center for more information.

Cost and Insurance Options

Eating disorder treatment tends to be lengthy and very expensive. Most people are unable to afford a full course of treatment out-of-pocket, so, in most cases, insurance coverage is another crucial consideration.

When starting your search, you may want to begin by talking to your insurance company about the types of programs they’re willing to cover. This can help narrow your search off the bat and eliminate any programs that may be too costly.

If you find a center or program you really like, you should first call them and check that they will accept your specific insurance coverage. Otherwise, you may be subject to unexpected expenses and have to deal with the logistical nightmare of transferring programs.

Additional Considerations

Making a choice this important already feels overwhelming. Add in the number of options and the fact that most people aren’t well-versed on eating disorder treatment, and the task can feel downright impossible.

If you’re struggling with a place to start, there are some questions it may be helpful to ask yourself, in order to develop a better idea of what you’re looking for: [3]

  • What treatment professionals will be involved in your care, and who will coordinate all of your treatment?
  • Does the center have any special treatment philosophies, or is it affiliated with any particular religion?
  • How long has the center been around?
  • What role do family members play in the patient’s treatment?
  • How many patients are there for every staff member? How long have the staff members been working at the center?

In a sea of similar options and confusing medical language, these kinds of considerations may help make some treatment programs start to stand out from others.

Finding Help for an Eating Disorder

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, it’s imperative to seek out help.

If there is nothing among these options that you like, you can reach out to your primary care physician, therapist, or another trusted medical professional for advice. They may be able to guide you toward a specific program or help determine your next best steps.

A number of eating disorder hotlines can also help provide additional resources and information. These services are generally free and allow you to make these inquiries on an anonymous basis.

Eating disorder recovery is possible, but only if you take that first step. With the right kind of help, you or your loved one can start on the path toward a happier and healthier future.


  1. Mental health care (partial hospitalization). (n.d.). Accessed April 2023. 
  2. Eames H. (2023, January 6). What Is Online Therapy & Does It Work? National Council on Aging. Accessed April 2023. 
  3. Selecting a Treatment Center for Your Loved One. (n.d.). National Eating Disorders Association. Accessed April 2023.

Last Update | 04 - 11 - 2023

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