Duke offers personalized treatment for the full spectrum of eating disorders and body image issues, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, food avoidance and obesity. The Duke Center for Eating Disorders emphasizes proven methods that get you or your family member back to healthier eating habits.
Expert care for anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders
If you or your loved one suffers from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, we can help. Our team of specialists are uniquely qualified to help you overcome eating disorders, as well as the complications that may occur, so you can ultimately live a healthy life. We will work closely with you to understand the symptoms and their impact, and teach alternative coping strategies. We do this by developing a treatment approach that takes into account your personal issues and challenges, as well as your experiences within your family and community. Our goal is to help you return to regular, healthy eating, improve your self-care and maintain a healthy weight.
Our doctors are nationally recognized for their research and innovative approaches to eating disorders. We are also leaders in the study and treatment of picky or selective eating disorders, a newly recognized eating problem in which children and adults severely restrict the types of food they eat, or reject foods on the basis of taste, texture or sensory quality.
Choose Duke for your eating disorders treatment because we offer:
- Team approach to treatment. You’ll work with physicians and therapists from many specialties, including psychiatrists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists and nutritionists. We also work closely with specialists throughout Duke Medicine to provide care for people complex conditions often associated with eating disorders such as diabetes, celiac disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, digestive disorders and endocrine disorders.
- Nationally recognized experts. We have decades of experience improving our patients’ health and eating habits. Our pioneering program for adult picky eaters has been featured in Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
- A holistic approach. We believe treatment should take into account your personal issues and challenges, as well as your experiences within your family and your community. Our methods are aimed at addressing all the factors that affect your body image and eating patterns.
- Family support and training. We know the important role your family plays in your well being. We offer parent-training groups and weekends, as well as sibling and spouse support.
- Range of therapy options. We realize that not every patient responds to every type of therapy. We offer individual, group, and family psychotherapies, medical management, psychopharmacology, and nutritional counseling. Our doctors and therapists identify the best method to improve your relationship with food.
- Access to clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in studies designed to better understand, and explore new treatments for eating disorders, including picky eating in adults. For more information, please call the Duke Center for Eating Disorders at 919-416-2464.
Our treatment approaches are based on research that proves them to be the most effective. After gathering information about your history and goals, we tailor a plan that’s right for you to develop healthy eating habits. Your plan may include:
You will learn to recognize triggers for emotions that lead to unhealthy eating, challenge unhelpful thoughts and change your eating behaviors. We’ll work with you to develop problem-solving skills and meal planning, as well as explain the importance of food diaries.
Emphasizes how you experience and respond to your emotions. You’ll learn how to keep your emotions in check, become more mindful and improve your interpersonal skills. The goal of this type of therapy is to reduce the symptoms that are triggering your eating disorder.
We encourage you to notice and accept unwelcome thoughts and feelings that contribute to disordered eating rather than trying to control or block them. We also work with you to help you identify your personal values so you can find greater meaning in life.
We help you build and maintain quality relationships with family members, friends and co-workers, all of who help to reduce the symptoms of your eating disorders.
We believe it’s important to involve your social support network in your treatment. Your family members will be part of the support team that helps you restore your health. Our immersive family program is an intensive, week-long experience that helps jump-start the treatment of adolescent eating disorders. It gives parents the tools they need to manage their child’s eating disorder. Because eating disorders affect the lives of all family members, we also offer sibling workshops, where participants have the chance to talk about what it’s like to have a sister or brother with an eating disorder.
Group support can be invaluable in regaining your footing, whether you or your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder. We offer several ongoing skill-focused group treatments. Some are geared for adults and adolescents with eating disorders, and others for parents and spouses of patients.
Essential to restoring healthy eating habits, nutrition therapy starts with a one-on-one evaluation with a registered dietician who assesses your current eating habits and designs a program tailored to your specific needs. We design meal plans to establish a healthy and balanced diet, taking into account your preferences, schedule and metabolic needs.
Understanding how certain foods affect your mood and emotions can help you make better food choices. We help you increase your awareness of the complex interaction between foods and mood through the use of cell phone apps and biological measurements, such as your blood sugar and stress hormone levels.
We are at the forefront of care for this newly recognized eating problem, where children and adults severely restrict the types of food they eat, or reject foods on the basis of taste, texture or sensory quality. This eating pattern can lead to inadequate nutrition, family conflict and social isolation. If you are affected by selective eating, you will learn skills that help you manage fears of necessary foods.
Designed for adults (aged 17 and up) who are struggling with disordered eating and body experience. This intensive evening program provides a more intensive level of care and support, while allowing you to continue your daily work, school and parenting responsibilities. The series of group meetings encourages important discussions about your eating, learning to listen to your body messages, and focuses on building supportive relationships, as well as the tools you need to rebalance your life. Read about the program in Psychology Today.
We conduct several evaluations to determine the best course of treatment for you.
We will gather a detailed health history. We’ll work with you to identify the goals of your treatment.
Your answer to our questions help us assess the severity of your symptoms and other factors that may affect your treatment, including your personality, stress levels, social functioning and coping skills.