Eating Disorder Treatment in South Dakota

Eating disorders are among the most dangerous and deadly types of mental health disorders, by some counts responsible for more than 10,200 deaths each year. [2] And these conditions are more prominent than many people may think, impacting nearly 30 million people at some point in their lives.[2]

3 sources cited

South Dakota map

Fortunately for those who live in South Dakota, treatment options are available in the state, with different types of programs and care offering the kind of help that can lead to the road to recovery.

Types of Eating Disorder Treatment in South Dakota

Eating disorders like bulimia nervosa (BN), anorexia nervosa (AN), binge eating disorder (BED), and others are multi-faceted conditions all impact people on a physical, mental, and emotional level. As such, a multidisciplinary team is often needed to address all of these interlocking factors and help someone achieve full recovery.

In South Dakota, several treatment programs are meant to address these varying needs at every stage of the treatment process. Psychotherapy, medication, nutrition counseling, hospitalization, and group therapy are all on the table and can be used to create a personalized treatment plan.

Virtual Care for Eating Disorders

If you don’t live close to any of these facilities in South Dakota, have challenges around transportation or mobility, or otherwise would rather not commute to treatment, you can also find help through any number of virtual care programs.

For residents of South Dakota and beyond, online care is increasingly proving to be an effective tool for helping with eating disorders and many other mental health conditions. Some studies show that it can even be as helpful as in-person treatment in most cases.

Among the crop of fast-rising programs to offer this type of treatment, Within Health is one of the top choices. The company employs a multi-disciplinary group of experts who can help craft personalized treatment plans, and it offers a unique approach that allows you to receive meal kits, medical equipment, and other types of care without leaving home.

South Dakota Hospitalization Programs

In South Dakota, patients can seek hospitalization care through Avera Behavioral Health Hospital.

Hospitalization is usually reserved for the most severe eating disorder cases when people aren’t able to control their behaviors or are dealing with additional medical complications.

In general, hospitalization programs involve patients living and sleeping at a facility. This full-time approach allows them to take on intensive schedules, which can include individual or group therapy, meal monitoring, medical check-ups, and mediation consultations. Living away from home can also help someone concentrate on their recovery effort and stay away from any familiar triggers.

In South Dakota, Avera also offers partial hospitalization programs (PHPs). This level of care allows patients to live and sleep at home while commuting to an intensive treatment program. If patients were also at Avera for residential care, they may be able to keep their same treatment team during this transition.

Psychotherapy and Behavioral Health Options in South Dakota

Psychotherapy is often an essential aspect of eating disorder recovery, playing a role at nearly every level of care, from hospitalization to outpatient clinics.

Happily, several forms of psychotherapy have also been found to help people recover from disordered eating behaviors. Therapy can also be particularly useful if a patient has co-morbid conditions, such as anxiety disorders, which may need to be addressed during care.

Avera offers one of the only comprehensive eating disorder programs in South Dakota, including psychotherapy programs for outpatient care. However, it may be possible to seek out therapy elsewhere, including through Lewis and Clark Behavioral Health Services. The center caters to issues involved with behavioral health, which can include eating disorders.

South Dakota Nutrition Counseling Options

Aside from reducing disordered eating, many patients need to proactively build a healthier relationship with food and eating. In these cases, nutritional counseling can be a particular help.

A dietitian or nutritionist can teach patients how to establish a nutritious diet, recognize and avoid the traps of diet culture, set healthy goals for themselves, and build a more sustainable food plan.

The South Dakota Adult Nutrition Program is a great place to connect with a nutritionist or dietitian.

Places to Find Medication in South Dakota

While medication is not usually considered a first-line approach to treating eating disorders, it’s sometimes considered a helpful tool for achieving overall recovery.

A few medications have been approved to address symptoms of eating disorders directly, while others may help alleviate symptoms involved with depression, anxiety, and other common co-occurring complications.

Sanford Heath can help people in South Dakota get in touch with a doctor or psychiatrist who can prescribe these medications.

Other South Dakota Eating Disorder Resources

Recovery from eating disorders often takes time. Support groups can play an important role in the healing process in the intervening months or even years.

These forums offer a platform for sharing setbacks, successes, and other experiences. This can help build a strong sense of community, which can help people feel less alone, breaking the hold isolation has over many people struggling with eating disorders.

Support groups are also good places to practice new, healthy coping mechanisms in a safe environment, helping people proactively learn to grow.

There are likely many of these programs in South Dakota. Support groups are generally fluid and planned on a local basis, which can make them somewhat more difficult to track down. Doing an internet search or even utilizing word of mouth can help you find a regular meeting that can be helpful.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Eating Disorder Treatment Center in South Dakota

Whether you are choosing an eating disorder program for yourself or a loved one, there are several factors you should consider to ensure you pick the best program possible for you.

Different eating disorders require different levels of care. In South Dakota, eating disorder treatment centers include:

  • Outpatient care
  • Intensive outpatient care
  • Partial inpatient care
  • Acute short-term inpatient care

Each of these has its own benefits, depending on how severe a patient’s case is or where they are in the recovery process.

In South Dakota, a mix of state and national laws ensure all eating disorder treatment centers are properly run and staffed. However, finding an accredited program offers extra assurance in the quality of care offered.

The Joint Commission is an independent company that assesses and accredits healthcare facilities. They compare the level and quality of care treatment centers provide using a set of requirements. By taking your love to an accredited center, you will rest assured they receive treatment from a facility that meets or surpasses industry standards.

Important Questions to Ask

Even with a list of factors to consider, it can feel overwhelming to pick the right treatment facility in South Dakota. Asking yourself these questions may help you get an idea of your priorities and narrow down the options:

  • What is the center’s treatment philosophy?
  • Do they offer financial assistance?
  • Do they provide multidisciplinary care?
  • Can the family participate in treatment in person?
  • Are there security measures in place to protect patients?
  • Is the family required to provide anything during the patient’s stay?
  • Are there specific visiting guidelines?

Finding Help for an Eating Disorder in South Dakota

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

Your primary care physician, therapist, or another trusted medical professional can be a good place to start. These experts can help you secure an official diagnosis and recommend treatment programs or specialists.

If you’d rather not discuss this sensitive matter in person, there are also eating disorder hotlines you can utilize for help. These services allow callers to remain anonymous while offering additional resources and information.

But regardless of where you start, the most important thing is to get started. The right treatment and care can help you find a path toward a healthier and happier future.


  1. Eating Disorder Statistics. (n.d.). National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Accessed August 2023.
  2. Graber E. (2021, February 22). Eating Disorders Are on the Rise. American Society for Nutrition. Accessed August 2023.
  3. Palmer CS, Brown Levey SM, Kostiuk M, Zisner AR, Tolle LW, Richey RM, & Callan S. (2022). Virtual Care for Behavioral Health Conditions. Primary Care; 49(4):641–657.

Last Update | 11 - 14 - 2023

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