Eating Disorder Treatment in Pennsylvania

Eating disorders are serious and potentially deadly conditions. In Pennsylvania, there are many options for eating disorder treatment. Keep reading for more information.

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map of Pennsylvania

Those with eating disorders battle a variety of different symptoms. Though some attempt to hide their struggles, eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa (BN), anorexia nervosa (AN), and binge eating disorder (BED) can severely impact a person’s daily life.

If you or your loved one is dealing with an eating disorder, don’t delay reaching out and getting help. Pennsylvania has many facilities and resources available for those in need.

Eating Disorder Treatment Options in Pennsylvania

Eating disorders can manifest in several different ways and at varying levels of severity. Depending on how serious someone’s eating disorder symptoms are or where they are on their recovery journey, they may be recommended to different levels of care.

Pennsylvania has options at every level for residents looking for help.

Virtual Treatment

Virtual eating disorder treatment is relatively new in the mental health field, but the care option is increasingly popular as it offers many benefits.

Allowing doctors and specialists to connect with patients online can extend access to care to those who live far from in-person facilities and those with challenges around transportation or mobility. Virtual treatment is also often more cost-effective than more traditional eating disorder care.

While studies are ongoing, some analyses have already found online care for eating disorders to be just as effective as in-person treatment in many cases.2

Who Offers Virtual Treatment in Pennsylvania? 

Though the world of online care for eating disorders is still relatively new, Within Health has already emerged as a top program for all kinds of eating disorders, thanks to a multidisciplinary team, individualized treatment plans, and inclusive treatment options that can send medical equipment and even meals through the mail.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient eating disorder treatment involves patients staying and sleeping at a care facility to have access to 24-hour medical care and monitoring. Typically, this way of treating eating disorders is only recommended in the most severe cases.

Inpatient hospitalization is for patients facing the most severe symptoms. Generally, patients who receive this type of care are considered medically unstable and are undergoing a mental or physical health crisis, such as suicidal thoughts or actions or impaired vital signs.1

Inpatient hospitalization treatment is often a short-term solution aiming to stabilize a patient. Once they are considered medically stable, they can move on to a residential care facility.

Residential treatment centers are also inpatient levels of care, but they’re designed for longer-term stays, with more home-like environments than clinical ones. Patients usually stay in these programs for up to several months while undergoing treatments such as individual and group therapy sessions, nutritional counseling, meal monitoring, and regular medical check-ins.

Who Offers Residential Treatment In/Near Pennsylvania? 

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization programs are a step down from residential care, allowing patients to live and sleep at home. Still, these programs can be intensive, lasting up to 10 hours per day, as many as five days a week, or sometimes more.1

Treatment for eating disorders available through a PHP is similar to those offered at residential centers. Some patients who may qualify for residential care are recommended to PHPs instead for a variety of reasons, including familial and financial concerns.1

Still, a partial hospitalization program offers more flexibility than residential care in general, with schedules usually adjusted as a patient progresses in their recovery journey.

Who Offers PHP in Pennsylvania?

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is the least intensive form of eating disorder care, so patients at this level must have their eating disorder symptoms mostly under control. Usually, an outpatient regimen consists of meeting regularly with a therapist or psychiatrist and occasionally undergoing medical check-ins or attending medication consultations.

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) can be a helpful step for those who want or need more support. These programs follow a hybrid schedule, with treatments taking place several days a week, for several hours at a time, allowing patients the freedom to start balancing their recovery process with their social responsibilities.

Who Offers Outpatient Treatment in Pennsylvania? 

Additional Eating Disorder Resources in Pennsylvania

Aside from programs explicitly designed for treating eating disorders, there are many resources for those struggling with an eating disorder in Pennsylvania.

The following organizations are committed to supporting and caring for people with eating disorders:

What to Look for in a Pennsylvania Eating Disorder Treatment Center

To ensure the highest level of treatment for yourself or your loved one, consider the following factors when looking into eating disorder treatment centers in Pennsylvania.

Reputable Pennsylvania eating disorder treatment centers should be accredited by the Joint Commission or CARF International.

Providers may use a number of treatment methods when treating patients with an eating disorder. The best treatment course differs for each person and depends on various factors.

Professionals may use the following treatments in eating disorder treatment:

While doctors will determine the best course of treatment for a patient, the treatment method used can make a difference in whether or not insurance companies will cover the procedure.

Cost and insurance are generally among the biggest concerns for people looking into eating disorder treatment. But this is also an area that requires some research.

Coverage varies between health insurance companies and across individual plans, so it’s a good idea to start by calling a representative of your insurance company to review your plan’s finer points. Remember to ask about the types of treatment that may be covered and the length of time that coverage will last.

If you’ve already found an eating recovery center that you like, you can also call and ask if they have financial aid options. Many treatment centers have payment plans and other options available.

Don’t Forget to Ask the Right Questions

The number of eating disorder treatment options in Pennsylvania is a great thing, but it can also make it feel overwhelming to choose the best program for you or your loved one.

Asking these additional questions can help you determine your goals and priorities around the treatment and recovery experience:3

  • What professionals will be part of the treatment plan, and who will coordinate the patient’s treatment?
  • Does the center have a treatment philosophy or any religious affiliations?
  • How long has the center been in business?
  • What’s the role of the family during the patient’s treatment?
  • What’s the ratio of patients to staff? How long has the team been working at the center on average?

Finding Help for an Eating Disorder in Pennsylvania

Eating disorders are dangerous and potentially deadly disorders. If you or a loved one are struggling, finding treatment as soon as possible is important.

Your primary care physician, therapist, or another trusted medical professional are great places to start. These medical professionals can help you secure an official diagnosis, usually needed to enter a treatment program, or otherwise assist you in determining your next best steps.

Some eating disorder hotlines can also help provide additional information. These services are generally run anonymously, making it easier to ask difficult questions and offer help for free.

But regardless of where you start the search for help, looking is the best step you can take. It’s often the first one on the road to recovery.


  1. Levels of Care. (n.d.). University of California San Diego. Accessed December 2023.
  2. 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.
  3. Questions to Ask Treatment Providers. (n.d.). National Eating Disorders Association. Accessed December 2023.

Last Update | 01 - 17 - 2024

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