Eating Disorder Treatment in South Carolina

Eating disorders are among the most dangerous and deadly types of mental health disorders. Fortunately, it’s possible to make a full recovery from these debilitating conditions when they’re diagnosed and properly treated.

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For those living in South Carolina, there are different treatment options for eating disorders of all types.

Types of Eating Disorder Treatment in South Carolina

Though there are general recommendations for addressing these conditions, treating eating disorders looks a little different for everyone.

The specifics of your care program usually depend on your medical history, the type and severity of the eating disorder you’re struggling with, and a number of other individual factors.

But in South Carolina, there are several types of eating disorder treatment programs to choose from.

Virtual Treatment for Eating Disorders

If you live far from an in-person treatment facility, have challenges around transportation or mobility, have a difficult schedule, or would just prefer not to travel to treatment, an online treatment program may be the best option for you.

While still relatively new, these types of programs have already proven as effective as in-person therapy in many scenarios. [2] However, it’s important to note that some cases—including those with severe eating disorder symptoms—may not be appropriate for online care. The intake form you fill out at the beginning of treatment will help assess whether online therapy is the best option for you.

Among the crop of programs offering this type of help, Within Health has emerged as a leader, with a program that caters to all types of people struggling with all types of disordered eating issues.

Treatment for Adults

Adults struggling with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and more are usually evaluated by a doctor and recommended to a program along a spectrum of care.

Residential programs are the most intensive form of care. Lasting anywhere from several weeks to several months, these programs require patients to live and sleep at a treatment facility, where they will receive around-the-clock care. Treatments range from individual psychotherapy to group therapy, meal monitoring, and medication and medical evaluations.

Those ready to move on from a residential program but who could still benefit from support and structure can participate in a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Throughout this phase of care, patients live and sleep at home while commuting to treatment, allowing them to begin practicing their new skills and making food-based choices outside of a facility setting. Yet, treatments—and treatment schedules—are still rather intensive, lasting up to 8 hours a day, 5 days per week. [1]

At the lower end of the treatment spectrum for adults is outpatient therapy. This generally consists of a standing appointment with a therapist or another treatment team member to help someone stay accountable to their recovery journey and continue looking out for triggers.

Those coming from more intensive forms of care may first partake in an intensive outpatient program (IOP), which generally includes several therapy sessions per week but is reduced as a patient continues making progress toward eating disorder recovery.

Adult Eating Disorder Treatment Programs in South Carolina

The Carolina House is the premiere adult center for eating disorders and treatment. The program offers an array of therapy options, including culinary and nutrition therapy, as part of eating disorder treatment.

Treatment for Young People and Children

Spotting eating disorders in younger people can be difficult due to all the changes that naturally happen around puberty, which may look like symptoms of these conditions. 

At the same time, this is perhaps the most crucial time for someone to receive the appropriate type of care and support for disordered eating thoughts and behaviors.

As younger people generally still live at home, there are different types of treatment that are usually recommended for these patients.

Family-based therapy (FBT) is the leading form of eating disorder treatment for younger patients, as this approach includes parents or caregivers and teaches everyone how to create a home environment conducive to healing.

South Carolina Eating Disorder Programs for Young People and Children

In South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) offers FBT and other types of care targeted to help young children and adolescents struggling with eating disorders.

Support Groups for Eating Disorders in South Carolina

Sometimes, a treatment program isn’t enough.

No matter where you are on your recovery journey, support groups can help foster a sense of community, provide a safe environment to air concerns and practice new coping mechanisms, and help you feel like you’re not alone, whether you’re dealing with an eating disorder yourself, or struggling with watching a loved one go through this difficult process.

South Carolina also has several options for those looking for this type of support in the recovery process, including:

  • Eating Disorder Yoga Recovery: This is a support group for individuals suffering from AN, BED, and BN. The group is open to adults and adolescents over the age of 14.
  • South Carolina Eating Disorders Association: This eating disorder support group is specifically for adults. The group is free, and meetings are generally held weekly.
  • Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous: As you might imagine from the name, this group is mainly for individuals suffering from bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, though people suffering from binge eating disorders may also attend. Meetings are facilitated by the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and held bi-monthly.

It’s important to note that support groups are generally run by local organizations. These details are subject to change, so it’s important to check with local sources or search online for the most updated information.

Additional Eating Disorder Resources in South Carolina

Aside from programs aimed specifically at treating eating disorders, there are some that may provide additional resources and support about the topic in general.

The Carolina Resource Center for Eating Disorders is a non-profit organization that develops and connects resources to assist individuals impacted by AN, BN, and other eating disorders in South Carolina. This organization also provides support to families and individuals recovering from eating disorders.

How to Choose South Carolina Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

Selecting a treatment center is one of the most important steps when looking for help. Here are some of the things to look at when choosing an eating disorder treatment center.

A List of Must-Haves for Every Center

The simplest way to approach looking for South Carolina eating disorder treatment centers is to have a checklist of items that the center must have. Some good things to look for include:

  • Whether the clinic is licensed to operate by the state of South Carolina.
  • Accreditation from CARF or through the Joint Commission.
  • Whether the clinic has an experienced and licensed staff.
  • A multidisciplinary team, including eating disorders clinicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists.
  • A dietician or nutritionist who is licensed and credentialed.
  • Whether the center has a family recovery program.
  • Do they have a recreation therapist?
  • Does the clinic have an aftercare recovery program and a relapse prevention specialist?

The treatment of eating disorders doesn’t end when a patient leaves the treatment center. This is why the last requirement is very important. A good quality clinic shouldn’t just send your loved one home and hope for the best. There should be an all-inclusive aftercare plan to ensure the problem doesn’t come back.

Questions to Ask When Looking for an Eating Disorder Treatment Center

If you’re having trouble determining the best South Carolina eating disorder program for you or your loved one—or even telling one program apart from the other—there are a series of questions to ask yourself that may help you clarify your priorities, including:

  • Does the center specialize in any types of treatment?
  • Do they have provisions for treating co-occurring issues?
  • Does the center offer a gender-specific program?
  • What is their treatment philosophy?
  • Do they have a nutritional philosophy?
  • Does the center offer detoxification services?
  • How long do patients usually stay?
  • What clinical services are part of the program?
  • What’s the setup like? Is it a hospital or a residential treatment center? 

Another pivotal consideration is health insurance. Most people rely on their healthcare plans to cover at least some of the cost of these usually lengthy forms of care.

You can start by calling your insurance company to ask for a list of providers and programs they work with to ensure your stay will be covered. If you’ve already found a center you like, it’s important to call and ask if they’ll accept your insurance. While this may seem like an extra step, it can help prevent frustration and complications down the road.

Finding the right eating disorder treatment center is critical to ensuring that the condition is dealt with effectively and with care. But finding the right team can be an important step on the road to recovery.


  1. Taulli T. (2022, September 1). How a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Works for Mental Health Treatment. GoodRx Health. Accessed July 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.

Last Update | 11 - 6 - 2023

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