Eating Disorders Treatment Services in California

This article will explore all aspects of eating disorders treatment services in California, including available therapies, treatment centers, and support options. We'll cover everything you need to know to find the right help and resources for recovery.
Alcohol bottles
Eating Disorders

Did you know over 650,000 people in California struggle with eating disorders?

Drugs and Substances
Bulimia Nervosa

Did you know treatment for bulimia nervosa has a recovery rate of around 50% in California?

Anorexia Nervosa

Did you know anorexia nervosa affects nearly 1 in 100 people in California?

Mental Health

Did you know binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in California?

What is Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious conditions where people have unhealthy eating habits that affect their health, emotions, and daily life. These disorders can involve eating too much, too little, or other harmful behaviors related to food. They are not just about food, but also about how people feel about their bodies and cope with emotions.

There are different types of eating disorders. Anorexia nervosa is when people eat very little because they fear gaining weight. Bulimia nervosa involves eating large amounts of food and then trying to get rid of it by vomiting or using laxatives. Binge-eating disorder is when people eat a lot of food in a short time but don’t try to get rid of it. Other examples include Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), where people avoid certain foods, and Pica, where people eat non-food items.


Different Types Eating Disorder Issues in California

Eating disorders are a significant issue in California, affecting many people across various cities. Anorexia nervosa, where individuals severely limit their food intake due to fear of gaining weight, is prevalent in areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Bulimia nervosa, involving cycles of binge eating and purging, is also common, with many seeking treatment in San Diego and Sacramento. Binge-eating disorder, characterized by consuming large amounts of food in a short period without purging, affects many residents in cities such as Fresno and Bakersfield.

Other types of eating disorders are also present across the state. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), involving limited food intake due to lack of interest or fear, is increasingly diagnosed in urban areas like San Jose and Oakland. Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) includes symptoms that don’t fit other categories but still cause distress and is seen in Long Beach and Anaheim. Disorders like Pica, where people eat non-food items, and Rumination Disorder, involving regurgitation of food, are less common but still exist in many communities.

Statistical data highlights the prevalence of these disorders. For example, around 4% of adults in Los Angeles County have experienced an eating disorder at some point in their lives. In San Francisco, public health reports show a rising number of adolescents seeking help for anorexia and bulimia. Understanding the different types of eating disorders and their impact on various cities is crucial for effectively addressing this complex mental health issue.

Common Eating Disorders Treatment Services in California


California offers various treatment services for eating disorders, making it easier to find the right help. Below, we explore different levels of care, including residential treatment, outpatient programs, and partial hospitalization.

Residential Treatment and Inpatient Hospitalization for ED

Residential Treatment and Inpatient Hospitalization for ED

Residential treatment for eating disorders offers a structured environment where patients can focus entirely on their recovery. This form of treatment provides 24/7 medical monitoring, nutritional counseling, and emotional support. It's especially beneficial for severe cases of anorexia treatment or when other methods have not worked.

Inpatient eating disorder treatment is another crucial option. These programs are usually set in hospitals and provide intensive medical and psychiatric evaluation for eating disorders. Patients receive comprehensive eating disorder care, including body image therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for eating disorders. Such settings ensure that medical complications from disorders like bulimia are closely monitored and managed.

Outpatient Treatment and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) for ED

Outpatient Treatment and Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) for ED

Outpatient eating disorder services are designed for individuals who do not require constant supervision. These programs offer flexibility, allowing patients to continue their daily activities while receiving treatment. Outpatient services may include individual therapy for eating disorders, group therapy for eating disorders, and nutritional counseling.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) provide a more structured approach without the need for residential care. IOPs are ideal for those who need more support than standard outpatient care but do not require full-time hospitalization. They often include binge eating therapy, bulimia recovery programs, and family-based therapy (FBT). The goal is to offer comprehensive treatment while allowing patients to maintain their usual routines.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Day Treatment for ED

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) and Day Treatment for ED

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP), also known as day treatment, are a step down from inpatient care but more intensive than outpatient services. PHPs offer a blend of medical monitoring for eating disorders and therapeutic interventions. Patients participate in structured daily programs that include evidence-based treatment for eating disorders, such as refeeding programs and mindfulness-based eating disorder therapy.

Day treatment programs provide similar support and structure as PHPs but allow patients to return home at night. These are effective for those needing significant support during the day. Services typically include holistic eating disorder treatment, psychiatric evaluation, and emotional support for eating disorders. Both PHP and day treatment aim to stabilize health and promote long-term recovery.

Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can affect anyone and often come with noticeable physical and emotional signs. Recognizing these signs early can help in seeking the right treatment. Here are some common signs and symptoms to watch for:

  1. Extreme Weight Loss or Gain: Sudden and noticeable changes in weight, either losing a lot or gaining unexpectedly, can be a sign of disorders like anorexia nervosa or binge-eating disorder.

  2. Preoccupation with Food, Weight, and Dieting: Constantly thinking about food, calories, dieting, and body shape is a common symptom. This includes obsessive calorie counting or talking about food all the time.

  3. Avoiding Meals or Eating in Secret: Skipping meals, making excuses for not eating, or eating alone to hide how much or how little one eats can indicate an issue. This behavior is often seen in bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.

  4. Frequent Checking in the Mirror: Regularly checking one’s reflection for perceived flaws, or being overly focused on body size and shape, can be a sign of body image disturbances linked to eating disorders.

  5. Distorted Body Image: Believing they are fat despite being underweight, or seeing their body differently than it actually is, are signs of disorders like anorexia nervosa.

  6. Excessive Exercise: Exercising too much, even when sick or injured, to burn off calories is a symptom. This excessive activity often accompanies anorexia and bulimia.

  7. Changes in Eating Habits: Noticeable alterations in eating patterns, such as eating very little, binge eating large quantities, or adhering to strict diets, can signal an eating disorder.

  8. Withdrawal from Social Activities: Pulling away from friends and family, especially around mealtimes, can indicate that someone is trying to hide their eating habits or avoid scrutiny.

  9. Mood Swings: Fluctuations in mood, including depression, anxiety, irritability, and sudden changes in behavior, are often linked to eating disorders.

  10. Physical Symptoms: Physical signs can include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, hair loss, dental problems (from vomiting), and digestive issues. These are often due to malnutrition or harmful behaviors associated with eating disorders.

Does Insurance Cover Eating Disorders Treatment in California?

Yes, insurance in California often covers treatment for eating disorders. Most health insurance plans are required to provide coverage for mental health conditions, including eating disorders, under state and federal laws. This means that treatments like therapy, medical monitoring, and sometimes even residential treatment can be covered.

Some well-known health insurance providers in California that cover eating disorder treatments include Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente, Anthem Blue Cross, and Health Net. These companies typically have specific plans that include mental health services, making it easier for individuals to get the help they need. Always check with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your coverage, including any out-of-pocket costs or required pre-approvals for certain treatments.


How Much Does Eating Disorders Treatment Cost in California?

The cost of eating disorders treatment in California can vary widely depending on the type and intensity of the treatment. On average, outpatient therapy sessions may cost between $100 to $250 per session. For more intensive treatments like residential programs, the cost can be much higher. A day in a residential treatment facility can range from $500 to $1,200, with a 30-day program often costing between $15,000 and $35,000.

These costs can add up quickly, especially if long-term treatment is needed. Medical monitoring, nutritional counseling, and additional therapies can also increase the price. While insurance can help cover some of these expenses, out-of-pocket costs may still be significant. It’s important to research and plan for these costs when seeking treatment.


Best Cities in California for Eating Disorders Treatment

California is known for having some of the best eating disorder treatment centers in the country. If you or someone you know needs help, here are five cities with great options to consider.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles has many top-tier eating disorder treatment centers. Areas like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica within Los Angeles County have specialized clinics that offer personalized care plans, including therapy sessions, medical monitoring, and nutritional counseling. The city's extensive public transportation network makes these services accessible from different parts of the city.

In Los Angeles, you’ll also find renowned hospitals and universities that contribute to advanced treatment methods for eating disorders. This means patients can access the latest therapies and benefit from the expertise of experienced professionals in the field.

San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco is another city with excellent eating disorder treatment options. Neighborhoods like the Mission District and Pacific Heights in San Francisco County house top-rated centers offering comprehensive care. These facilities often use a holistic approach, focusing on both physical and mental health aspects of eating disorders.

San Francisco's diverse healthcare options ensure that patients can find specialized providers close to their homes or workplaces. The city's strong emphasis on mental health and wellness creates a supportive environment for those seeking recovery.

San Diego

San Diego

San Diego is well-known for its reputable eating disorder treatment centers. Areas like La Jolla and Encinitas within San Diego County provide various levels of care, from outpatient services to residential treatment programs. The city’s beautiful weather and scenic views offer a peaceful setting that can be beneficial for recovery.

Local treatment centers in San Diego are praised for their dedicated staff and evidence-based practices. Patients here can expect individualized care plans that include therapy, group support, and medical oversight, all within a caring community.



Sacramento, the capital city of California, also offers notable eating disorder treatment centers. In neighborhoods like Midtown and East Sacramento, located within Sacramento County, you’ll find services ranging from inpatient to outpatient programs. The city’s central location makes it easily reachable for residents from different parts of Northern California.

Patients in Sacramento have access to both private and public treatment options, ensuring that everyone can get the help they need. The healthcare providers in this city are knowledgeable about eating disorders and offer compassionate care.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is famous for its high-quality healthcare services, including excellent eating disorder treatment centers. Located in Los Angeles County, this beachside city provides a relaxing environment that can be very supportive during recovery. Neighborhoods like Ocean Park and Wilshire-Montana are home to several reputable facilities.

Treatment centers in Santa Monica often focus on holistic approaches, combining medical treatments with alternative therapies like yoga and meditation. This makes Santa Monica an ideal place for those seeking a balanced and serene setting to start their recovery journey.

How To Find Eating Disorders Recovery Center in California

Finding the right eating disorders recovery center in California is a crucial step toward healing. Here’s a simple guide to help you locate a center that is local to you or within your immediate area.

  1. Start with an Online Search: Begin by searching online for recovery centers nearby. Use phrases like “eating disorders recovery centers in my area” or “local eating disorders treatment.” This will give you a list of facilities close to your location and in the vicinity.
  2. Check Health Insurance Providers: Look at your health insurance provider’s directory. Many insurance websites have tools to find healthcare providers in proximity to you. They can help narrow down options that are covered under your plan and accessible from your home.
  3. Ask for Recommendations: Reach out to local healthcare professionals, such as your doctor or therapist, for recommendations. They often know reputable centers in the neighborhood and can guide you to places that are just around the corner or within walking distance.
  4. Visit Community Health Resources: Check community health resources or local services in your area. Many communities have mental health clinics or support groups that can provide information on nearby locations for eating disorder treatment.
  5. Read Reviews and Testimonials: Once you have a list of potential centers in proximity, read reviews and testimonials from former patients. This can give you an idea of the quality of care and help you choose a center that is close by and suits your needs.
  6. Contact Centers Directly: Call the centers you’re interested in to ask about their programs, availability, and whether they offer treatment within my location. Speaking directly with staff can provide clarity and help you feel comfortable with your choice.

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Statistics Related to Eating Disorders in California

Statistics Related to Eating Disorders in California

Here are some important statistics about eating disorders in California:

  1. Prevalence: About 1 million people in California suffer from eating disorders, according to a study by the Public Health Institute.

  2. Gender Disparity: Eating disorders affect around 10% of females and 4% of males in California, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health.

  3. Youth Impact: Nearly 20% of adolescents in California exhibit symptoms of disordered eating, based on a survey by the California Department of Public Health.

  4. Mortality Rate: Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate among mental illnesses. In California, they account for about 10% of deaths in those affected.

  5. Economic Cost: The economic burden of eating disorders in California exceeds over $200 billion annually, covering healthcare expenses, lost productivity, and other related costs.

  6. College Students: Around 25% of college students in California report experiencing disordered eating behaviors, according to data from the University of California.

  7. Hospitalization Rates: The number of hospitalizations due to eating disorders among California residents has increased by 50% over the past decade.

  8. Binge Eating Disorder: Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in California, affecting approximately 3.5% of women and 2% of men in the state.

  9. Healthcare Access: About 40% of individuals with eating disorders in California do not receive treatment due to lack of access to specialized care, as highlighted by the National Eating Disorders Association.

  10. Comorbidity: Over 50% of those with eating disorders in California also suffer from other mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.