March 21, 2024

Effective Treatment Plans Are the Roadmap to Eating Disorder Recovery

Effective Treatment Plans Are the Roadmap to Eating Disorder Recovery

A diagnosis is the first step in the journey to recovering from an eating disorder.

Creating and managing an effective eating disorder treatment plan is often the most complicated, but crucial part of preventing relapse.

It’s easy for the client’s day-to-day progress to get lost in the combination of:

  • Behavioral therapy 
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medical; and sometimes 
  • Psychiatric monitoring

Learn how your facility can formulate more effective treatment plans for eating disorders and why your method of tracking a client’s progress is just as important.

Table of Contents

What Is an Eating Disorder Treatment Plan?

Not all types of eating disorders are the same, nor should they be approached in the same manner. An eating disorder treatment plan can vary depending on the type of disorder and the associated symptoms.

An eating disorder treatment plan is a program designed to help a client overcome an eating disorder and develop strategies to help them identify and respond to triggers.

An eating disorder treatment plan generally includes a combination of:

What Is the Purpose of a Treatment Plan for Eating Disorders?

The key purpose of a treatment plan for eating disorders is to set the client on a clear path to making measurable progress.

Clients benefit from measurable progress because it can amplify even small successes to help the client feel encouraged and provide a roadmap for how they’ll overcome the disorder.

Why Are Eating Disorder Treatment Plans Important to Insurance Companies?

Measurable progress isn’t just important to the client, it’s also important to insurance companies.

Insurance companies value measurable progress because it provides the structure for the treatment plan and justification for why clinicians are taking a chosen action.

That means:

  • More focused treatment 
  • Less unnecessary interventions that don’t benefit the client; and 
  • Less and money time wasted

At Ritten, we believe the future of behavioral health is data-driven.

Eating disorder treatment facilities take routine notes and assessments every day, but if they’re using an unreliable EMR system, data can be lost –– making treatment plans inefficient and insurance claims harder to pay. 

Ritten software allows you to customize your EMR platform for more effective operations and improved client outcomes.

How To Develop an Eating Disorder Treatment Plan

Managing an eating disorder often requires a long-term treatment plan.

A client should work together with a treatment team to develop a treatment plan to support the client regularly, even when the eating disorder and any related behavioral or medical health problems seem to be under control.

An eating disorder treatment plan should center around four key components tailored specifically to the client’s eating disorder challenges. An eating disorder treatment plan can also address what course of action the client should take if they are not able to stick with the treatment plan.

4 Core Elements of an Eating Disorder Treatment Plan

An eating disorder treatment plan should consist of these four elements formulated to guide the client on the path to measurable progress.

#1: Problem Identification

Being able to recognize disordered eating attitudes and behaviors is the first step in identifying the problem. Early detection along with an initial evaluation can help increase the chances for recovery.

An initial evaluation is the first step in identifying the client’s problems. The evaluation will provide a thorough assessment to identify social, biological, and psychological influences that may trigger their eating disorder. The influences are pinpointed and a succinct problem statement is created based on the issues the client feels are most important.

Every individual is unique and many clients may not fit into one diagnostic label. The warning signs vary across eating disorders and a client struggling with an eating disorder may not display all the warning signs at once. 

Awareness of the warning signs of an eating disorder can still aid in identifying the behaviors that may indicate a problem.

Examples of Problems in a Treatment Plan for Eating Disorders

Some signs may vary across eating disorder types, but some examples of behavioral problems to identify in a treatment plan for eating disorders include:

  • Food restricting or dieting
  • Bingeing
  • Purging
  • Excessive exercise
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional dysregulation
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts

This is not an exhaustive list. 

#2: Goal-Setting

Once each problem is identified, it should be accompanied by a goal written in the client’s words. Goal-setting plays an important role in well-being.

Working toward meaningful goals within healthy boundaries can provide us with a sense of direction and purpose in life. As we set and achieve meaningful goals, we are more likely to build:

  • Self-confidence
  • Autonomy; and
  • Happiness 

Research has proven that collaborative goal-setting can improve mental health in rehabilitation clients. The goals may be different based on the client’s needs.

Studies have shown that goal-setting can help promote long-term healthy behaviors and result in improved client outcomes to encourage rehabilitation.

More than 50 years of research support the positive benefits of conscious goal-setting. Among the newer discoveries, it was found that the effects are enhanced by having people write about them in their own words.

Examples of Goals in a Treatment Plan for Eating Disorders

Some examples of goals in a treatment plan for eating disorders can be:

  • Acknowledge urges to binge and purge to practice emotional regulation skills
  • Restoring a normal, healthy weight
  • Eliminate or reduce the occurrence of binge eating and purging episodes (to a specified number)
  • Treat and reduce the long-term impact of medical complications
  • Learn healthy, balanced nutritional habits
  • Develop healthy, sustainable eating patterns
  • Identify and challenge dysfunctional thoughts
  • Improve self-image
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress and anxiety

#3: Objectives

Objectives are concise actions the client can take toward meeting their goals.

Creating objectives for each goal can make achieving the goal less intimidating because it breaks it down into small, specific, and measurable action steps that naturally lead to the goal.

The objectives should be written with quantifiable measures that clearly indicate when an objective has been fulfilled.

Examples of Objectives in a Treatment Plan for Eating Disorders

Some examples of measurable objectives in a treatment plan for eating disorders might include:

  • Talk to my family three times a week without having an outburst
  • Keep a daily journal of food consumption
  • Honestly describe the pattern of eating food consumed or hoarded each week
  • Identify any regular use of dysfunctional weight control behaviors each week
  • Complete weekly psychological tests to track and assess eating patterns
  • Cooperate with the next physical exam
  • Cooperate with the next dental exam
  • Take medications as prescribed and log side effects daily
  • Communicate an accurate understanding of how eating disorders develop in the next session
  • Establish regular eating patterns by eating at regular intervals each day
  • Complete homework assignments

#4: Interventions

Interventions are steps that the support team can take to help the client achieve their objectives and goals.

Therapy is an integral component in the successful treatment of eating disorders. Therapy helps the client:

 Psychological therapy to support the client’s mental health can include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
  • Family-based treatment (FBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT)
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Therapy can also provide encouragement, insight, and support in letting go of old disordered eating coping mechanisms.

When identifying interventions for a treatment plan for eating disorders, think about what other types of education, guidance, and support will be provided to the client.

Examples of Interventions in a Treatment Plan for Eating Disorders

The therapies mentioned above are some examples of behavioral interventions.

Additional interventions may include:

  • Therapeutic meals
  • Dietary support
  • Supported restaurant outings
  • Cooking classes
  • Supported grocery outings
  • Snack selection
  • Meal planning
  • Ongoing medical monitoring
  • Weight checks
  • Regular psychiatric sessions
  • Medication management

Clinicians benefit from having an excellent way to keep track of the interventions they prescribe for their clients.

Ritten is a trusted and reliable EMR software designed with behavioral healthcare facilities like yours in mind.

Our system was created to efficiently capture the complexity associated with the intervention types offered in a highly-variable eating disorder treatment plan program while minimizing the burden of record-keeping.

Why Tracking a Client’s Progress Through Their Eating Disorder Treatment Plan Is Important

Tracking a client’s progress is integral as they navigate their eating disorder treatment plan.

The client will be assessed to see which issue needs immediate treatment. If the facilitator determines that the client needs immediate care that does not fall under their services, they can be sent to the appropriate clinician.

This is where tracking a client’s progress comes in.

Each clinician will hold sessions with the client and should document what part of the treatment plan they’re working on. Having reliable documentation software in place prevents a client’s progress from getting lost in the many directions a treatment plan for eating disorders can take.

From behavioral therapy to medical examinations and everything in between, you want to make sure that every session is documented and traced back to the treatment plan.

Ritten: Simplified EMR Software for Managing Treatment Plans

At Ritten, we aim to streamline and simplify managing treatment plans for eating disorders. With our EMR software, each member of the client’s eating disorder treatment plan support team can track the client’s progress in our Progress Note template.

We understand that details matter.

That’s why we designed the Progress Note template to automatically pull in the client’s treatment plan so the clinician can select the focus of that day’s session.

Created to power a workflow and drive better client outcomes, Ritten software is both customizable and easily integrated with other software.

Book a demo with Ritten today and find out how our dedicated onboarding team can help your facility integrate our software or migrate from your old EMR system.

Join our email list!

Subscribe to receive more information on Ritten's software and capabilities.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get started with Ritten today!

Customized setup

Easily switch from old provider

Simple pricing