Anorexia/Eating Disorders/Sick Enough for Treatment


Hi, I'm sort of on the fence about seeking further treatment for my eating disorder (non-purging bulimia).  Despite seeing a GP, therapist, and nutritionist multiple times a month, I'm still firmly rooted in denial about this being a serious problem.  I'm 20 and have been struggling for a little over a year.  
How can I tell if I am sick enough to seek inpatient or residential treatment?  Right now the idea of inpatient seems like I'm just being dramatic and that I'd be taking away a spot for someone who actually was sick.

Thank you.

Hi Heidi,

I am so sorry you are going through this. For lack of a better way to phrase it, you're ready when you're ready. There are no set criteria for who is "sick enough" - although from an insurance perspective, they will probably only pay for inpatient treatment if you have actually been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

So the bottom line is this: If you're thinking that you may benefit from inpatient treatment, then you probably will. If you don't think you will benefit, then you likely will not. So the question really is: are you ready to get full time, concentrated professional help?

If you're not ready for inpatient treatment and you don't feel like you are making any progress with your current outpatient treatment, I can recommend some self-help resources for you. Please let me know.

Good luck!

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Mary Pritchard


I can answer questions about the psychology of eating, disordered eating attitudes and behaviors such as drive for thinness, drive for muscularity, binge eating, body dysmorphia, dieting, excessive/obsessive exercise, and body dissatisfaction. I can also answer questions about anorexia and bulimia.


I have a PhD in Psychology and teach courses in the Psychology of Health and the Psychology of Eating. I have been conducting research on disordered eating and exercise behaviors for 15 years.

Midwestern psychological association, rocky mountain psychological association

Over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Eating Behaviors, Eating Disorders, and Eating and Weight Disorders

PhD in Psychology from the University of Denver

Awards and Honors
30 teaching awards, have received funding to conduct my research from academic institutions and state and local government

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