Eating Disorders Program
The Eating Disorders Treatment Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital is the most comprehensive hospital-based program for the evaluation and treatment of eating disorders in children, adolescents and young adults through age 21, in Miami-Dade county, Florida. As we are based within a children’s hospital, we have the full complement of sub-specialists available to address the spectrum of symptoms and signs that may be associated with an eating disorder.
Each year at least 8 million Americans – including teen girls and boys, and women and men – are affected by eating disorders. The most prevalent forms are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
Our multidisciplinary treatment team includes specialists from adolescent medicine, psychology, nutrition, social work, nursing and child life. We use a comprehensive approach to care for your child. In addition to establishing the diagnosis, the program helps with medical stabilization and addresses the issues that contribute to the initiation and progression of this disorder.
- Our program includes the outpatient adolescent medicine clinic, inpatient medical care, and if needed inpatient psychiatric care. The level of care needed varies depending on the severity of the eating disorder symptoms and associated medical problems Once an individual becomes medically stable the adolescent may benefit from intensive outpatient services. Sometimes, extended inpatient care is needed to sustain progress.
- Improvement of symptoms usually occurs when the individual with the eating disorder and their family have gained significant insight into the role of the illness in their lives and are motivated to explore different coping strategies.
A Multidisciplinary Approach to Treatment
To minimize eating disorder-related damage to health, early intervention is important. The longer behaviors are maintained, the more ingrained they become.
Because eating disorders affect the physical, mental and emotional health of victims, multidisciplinary action is the most effective approach.
The Eating Disorders Program brings together a team of specialists to evaluate the child physically and emotionally and create an individualized treatment plan.
The team includes:
- social workers
- family therapists
- child life specialists
While some children and adolescents can receive care on an outpatient basis, others require hospitalization at Nicklaus Children’s. During the stay, the child’s health is continuously monitored and first steps are taken to alter behaviors. In addition to medical stabilization, therapy is begun to help the adolescents and their families learn how to deal effectively with the disorder and its underlying issues. Once the child has left the hospital, medical and psychiatric care along with individual, family and group therapies are available to support the child’s continued recovery.