Adolescent Eating Disorders Clinic

The Eating Disorders Program at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital is recognized internationally as a leader in eating disorders treatment and research. Our comprehensive program provides state-of-the-art assessment and treatment for children and adolescents suffering from disordered eating and weight-related problems.

Our nationally respected clinic is among a handful of programs in the United States to offer an innovative approach called the Maudsley Family-Based Treatment. The key is structured family therapy that encourages parents to use a variety of tactics to help their child get past his or her obsessions with eating and weight gain.

The approach works remarkably fast with 20 outpatient sessions over six months. This intensive treatment is highly successful in adolescents. One study followed up on young anorexics five years after they completed the Maudsley method. More than 90 percent of the subjects were still recovered and did not need any additional treatment.

Eating Disorders Assessment

Assessments are needed in order to make proper diagnoses and recommendations for treatment. Our program has an extensive assessment process to ensure that the treatments we provide will be a good fit for your child. The initial assessment involves a combination of self-report questionnaires and interviews that ask about eating disorder symptoms as well as other psychiatric concerns.

We also measure your child's height and weight, and collect blood work and other laboratory information. We ask that child/adolescent patients be accompanied by their parent(s) or legal guardian(s), who also will complete the assessment process. In most cases, we require medical clearance from a primary care provider or pediatrician to make sure it is safe for your child to be treated in an outpatient setting.

Eating Disorders Treatment

Children and adolescents typically are treated using family-based treatment (FBT), an evidence-based psychotherapy that puts parent(s) temporarily in charge of helping to reduce the control that an eating disorder has over their child's life.

The first stage of FBT focuses on weight restoration and reduction of eating disorder symptoms.

In later stages of treatment, parent(s) return control over eating back to their child and help him/her with normal developmental tasks. FBT typically addresses eating disorder issues in 20-25 sessions over the course of 10-12 months.