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What is it like in inpatient programs? Any imformation or your own personal experiences much appreciated!

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This question is for a dear friend of mine. She is struggling with anorexia and bulimia, as well as exersise addiction and is very deep into her disorder. She wants badly to get better, but doesn't think she can do it herself. Her family decided that inpatient is best, and then possibly residential afterwards. I am very far into my own recovery and am doing great and feeling great, and Ive been helping her out with this whole thing and giving her advice, but the problem is that I have absolutely no experience with inpatient programs or residential. Can you guys help me out by telling me your own stories, the structure of inpatient, the basic rules, ect? Please give as much imformation as you can. Also can you give info on the structure and rules of residential? Any imformation is much appreciated. I want to hear your stories! I plan to write it all down and give it to her and her family.
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I've been in 3 different inpatient units and I guess the one piece of advice I would give you is that, if you are serious about getting better, then give it your all - don't mess around - the only person who you will be cheating is yourself

Whilst I didn't want to go into a unit, when I was there it was fine - if anything it was a but of a relief to have all decisions made for me - I knew that if I didn't eat then there would be consequences ( a supplement drink or, if these were also refused then a tube was the next step). You will find things quite routine - breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks will be at the same time every day and initially you may have your choice of meal options taken away (althought they do let you have a certain number of 'dislikes') but when you prove that you won't mess around and they trust you then you will get more freedom.

You might also find that you are quite closely monitored for the first few days - someone will stand outside the door when you're in the shower/go to the toilet but again that will stop when they trust you more

It is standard practice for them to search your bags when you arrive - and you won't be allowed any 'sharps' - so things like razors, scissors etc will probably be taken away initially

I would really recommend taking some home comforts with you - a favourite stuffed toy, your own duvet/pillow - things like that


If you have any other questions just shout

I was in a residential program in January. I struggled with anorexia with occasional bulimic tendencies and an exercise addiction as well. I'll tell you, as much as I was addicted to my eating disorder and loved the control, it was killing me and if I didn't go to residential I would not be here right now. I was scared to death when I went and pretty pissed off that I was forced to eat breakfast lunch and dinner but that's normal. A normal day consisted of getting up at 4 am for weights and vitals, than breakfast at 8, community meeting, groups, lunch, groups, snack, free time, dinner, groups, meds, and bed. There are smoke breaks and other medication times and snack times depending on certain needs. At first I hated it, but it really did help and put me in the right mindset. I was extremely uncomfortable with the changes in my body, and still am, but all of the girls there were feeling the same way so you will be able to connect. I've made some of the biggest supports and friends there. Although the problem does not just get magically cured once you get released, it teaches you how to cope and overcome obstacles in the real world. I still struggle, I'll admit it but it is better than being dead.

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