This is generally required if you are so underweight that your health is in significant danger. Occasionally people are offered admission if the eating disorder is out of control and you are unable to manage your behaviours on an outpatient or day-patient basis.
If admitted this can be to a bed in a general hospital, or a psychiatric/ eating disorder unit. The decision about which is best for you will depend on your level of medical or psychological risk.
Restoring eating and food intake:
This is sometimes known as ‘refeeding’ and is typically a priority in people admitted to hospital as their physical health is usually at risk. Safety is a priority. This can be done with meal plans and nutritional supplements under the care of a registered dietitian.
Nasogastric feeding is sometimes required. This is because, after eating so little, you may find it too difficult to eat enough food to restore weight, and a quick response is needed to restore your physical safety. Your physical observations and wellbeing will be monitored regularly. Your doctor may prescribe some medication.
This may be to aid sleep, reduce what some people describe as anxiety, improve mood, and reduce the loud anorexia voice in your head that is very distressing. These medications are tapered down and often stopped before discharge.
Bed-rest can be important to conserve your energy and restore your health to safety. Meal support/coaching by a nurse is often very helpful.
Inpatient mental health unit admission
Throughout your inpatient stay, you will be supported by a team of professionals and may be offered a mix of individual and group work. Your team includes doctors, nurses, psychologist, social worker, occupational therapist, and others to work with you towards recovery. Relationships with loved ones can be very strained in a house where a person has an eating disorder. We find that involving your loved ones in your recovery is very helpful.
What happens after discharge?
You will have a clear aftercare plan so you will be supported in your recovery after discharge as you transition back to outpatient care or to a day programme.