Psychiatry

Eating Disorder Program

The Eating disorders program at the University of Alberta Hospital offers a multidisciplinary approach for the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa , Bulimia Nervosa, and to a lesser degree Binge Eating Disorder. It treats patients 12 years old and older as well as focuses on families. This program views eating disorders as brain based illness exacerbated by psychological and biological factors. The program offers a highly medicalized approach. Our mission is to improve the well being of individuals by enabling weight restoration and normalization of eating through individual case based treatment plans. We believe that early intervention yields better outcomes.

This program is the largest program in Western Canada treating up to 60 patients per day as inpatients and Day patients. It also offers transitional care and outpatient care ongoing as long as the patient and family needs. This program offers medical stabilization, treatment of medical and psychiatric co morbidities, weight restoration if needed and psychotherapy intervention as groups and individual therapy. Our ability to transition patients into adulthood with respect to illness is seemless. This program focuses on new onset cases as well as more chronic presentations which are treated differently.

This program began officially in the early 1990's and has expanded in scope and size each year. We offer individualized treatment plans using innovative strategies as well as scientifically proven ones. Our program is definitely on par with established program aroundd the world.

The program at present includes two psychiatrists, 5 psychologists, a recreation therapist, 5 dieticians and many nursing staff . The unit runs 7 days per week including holidays for 12 to 14 hour periods. It has twelve inpatient beds, 12 residential beds and the dedicated day program. Support for outpatients is offered 24 hours per day.

The program offers extensive nutrition education and helping families help their adolescent at home. Family therapy as well as group psychotherapy and individual therapy are offered tailored to the patient needs. Our psychologists are well trained in CBT, emotion focused, psychodynamic, DBT, CRT and supportive therapy modalities. The dieticians are trained in the Maudsley approach to refeeding and there is more interest in the NEW FED TR approach.

Due to the programs size and the length of time patient stay in the program offers an excellent opportunity for research for psychologists, and psychiatry residents.
There is an extensive amount of teaching done by the staff for doctors, nurses, psychologists and dieticians interested as well as students. There is opportunity for residents to do electives and the possibility of a fellowship in psychiatry. The program welcomes new learners especially to gain understanding and expertise not only in refeeding and the serious effects of starvation but in understanding the complex dynamics of these patients as well as their cognitive deficiencies.