This is an archived article.  Although much of the information contained within this article will likely still be relevant and helpful, there may be some content that is outdated or written by a former employee of Center for Change.

Author:  Center for Change

As the cost of health care increases, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare related companies are struggling with justifying costs and keeping expenses to a minimum. Inpatient treatment of mental conditions is hard to justify. In an effort to create rationale for inpatient treatment of eating disorders the Center for Change created a client cost analysis that compares the accrued medical costs vs. average inpatient treatment through recovery.

During 1993 Kim (name has been changed for confidentiality) started seeking help for depression. She also suffered from anorexia with bulimic tendencies. In 1994 Kim was hospitalized for three weeks for major depression. After some improvement she was released and continued outpatient treatment with a private therapist. As life stressors started to increase she turned more toward her coping mechanisms — the eating disorder.

Kim’s weight reached a dangerous level and she was hospitalized for 11 days. When she was medically stable she was released and continued outpatient therapy. Although she showed some improvement another hospital stay was inevitable. Eight months later she was hospitalized again.

In 1998 she was admitted into the Center for Change for stabilization and is still in outpatient care.

She has now been in treatment for five years. During those five years she was also treated for the following health conditions:

  • Broken forearm — weakening bones from malnutrition (from hitting a volleyball)
  • Mild heart attack — valve problems
  • Stomach lining problems — is still on medication
  • Kidney and bladder problems
  • Sinus problems — from purging
  • Hip surgery — due to over exercise
  • Hysterectomy

Her life expectancy has been shortened due to the bulimia and anorexia. To date, Kim’s psychotherapy bills are exceeding $60,000. This total does not include the medical hospitalization, surgical procedures, medical equipment, prescriptions, spouse and family psychotherapy, or any future medical complications that may occur as a result of the eating disorder. It is estimated that all of her medical and psychotherapy bills could exceed $100,000.

If we compare these figures with a 90-day inpatient stay for the specialized treatment of the eating disorder, it is very likely that these costs could have been reduced by 33 to 50 percent. This review clearly indicates that the benefits of a specialized 90-day inpatient stay for treatment of eating disorders far out-weighs the lifetime of costs and damage these disorders can inflict.

There is HOPE for recovery from an eating disorder and specialized treatment is the first step to living a long and meaningful life.