Top Hospitals: Eating Disorders

The Eating Disorders Program at Belmont Behavioral Health, a psychiatric division of Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, maintains an inpatient unit and a partial hospitalization program for adolescents with anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating disorders. Immediate evaluations are available (4200 Monument Road, 800-220-HELP, belmontbh.com).

Since opening its bucolic 27-acre estate on the outskirts of the city, the Renfrew Center has become a premier residential treatment and research center with joint commission accreditation. It’s devoted exclusively to giving women (ages 14 and up) the tools with which to recover from anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorders and return to normal life. Within its several sections — adolescents, substance abuse, trauma, 30-something and beyond, and over-exercise addiction — the overarching philosophy is the same: No two women are alike, and the road to recovery requires intensive individual and family therapy and as many as eight group sessions a day, to better understand and cope with the emotional problems underlying eating disorders. Incorporated into several modalities of traditional talk therapies are movement, art, music and psychodrama. There are entry and departure options, with inpatient, extended care, day treatment, intensive outpatient and straight outpatient plans. Many are covered by insurance (475 Spring Lane, 800-RENFREW; some outpatient programs offered in Radnor at 320 King of Prussia Road; renfrewcenter.com).

In super-size America, $33 billion a year is spent on weight-loss products, most of which are short-term answers for a chronic problem. The goal at the Albert J. Stunkard Weight Management Program at UPHS is to help people change how they approach eating forever. That includes studying what they put in their mouths as well as when and how, and increased physical activity, even if that starts with a walk around the block. Patients can enroll in Health First, a medically supervised program using nutritious meal replacements to improve cardiovascular health and shed the equivalent of a trunkful of grocery bags; Penn Start, a lifestyle intervention program geared to slow and steady loss from reducing calories and ramping up exercise; and Encore, a program that teaches how to keep it off once you’ve taken it off. The medical staff is up to speed on the latest F-A approved weight loss medications and works with people who elect to go the bariatric surgery route. If you’re serious about losing weight and want medical supervision and expertise, this is the place (3535 Market Street, 215-746-4100, pennhealth.com/weightloss).

More than a decade old, the Eating Disorders Program at Friends Hospital — headed by Michael Pertschuk, a leader in the field — emphasizes problem-solving and incorporates the patient’s strengths, to reverse symptoms and alleviate emotional turmoil. The combined approach brings together nutritional counseling, behavior modification, examination of distorted thoughts, stress management and family support. Individualized care is assured, since the program accepts only 24 patients (male or female, 13 and older) at a time for inpatient treatment at Friends’ 100-acre, handsomely landscaped campus (4641 Roosevelt Boulevard, 215-860-6300, friendshospitalonline.org).

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