Our Patients, Our Approach

Our Patients

We treat patients with a wide variety of eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and other specified feeding and eating disoders (OSFED) as well as any co-occurring psychiatric or medical conditions. Most of our patients have been unsuccessful in outpatient treatment and need assistance in normalizing their eating behavior and, when necessary, in gaining weight.

Disordered eating often limits physical, psychological, and social function. Some patients do not have classical eating disorders and may experience atypical symptoms. This latter group may include patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders or abdominal pain disorders that result in patterns of behavior deleterious to physical health and daily life.

We treat adults and adolescents, and both females and males. Approximately 25% of our patients are under 18 years of age and 5-10% are male. Over 50% of patients are from out-of-state including international patients.

Our Approach

Eating disorders are precipitated by a complex interplay of genetic vulnerability, sociocultural pressures, and personal experience. Once an eating disorder develops, physiological and psychological complications maintain unhealthy behaviors. These behaviors become self-sustaining and difficult to interrupt despite their adverse physical, psychological, and social consequences. Eating disorders limit and constrain health and function, impairing quality of life.

Our goal is to increase patients' function to the highest possible level. We believe full recovery is possible for everyone and strive to assist patients and their families in reaching this goal. Individual treatment plans are designed to teach healthy behaviors, manage stressful life events, instill hope and motivation for full recovery, return to healthy function, and a successful future.

We have treated thousands of patients since our program opened in 1976 and incorporate the feedback of our patients into our clinical experience along with latest research findings to keep our program evidence-based and effective.

The Johns Hopkins Eating Disorders Program offers a full continuum of care depending on individual need and includes Inpatient, Day Hospital, and Outpatient Treatment and Consultation Services.

Patients who require intensive treatment are generally admitted to the Inpatient Program and transition to the Partial Hospitalization Program once they have progressed in treatment.

Low-cost supervised housing in our Jefferson House for adult Day Hospital patients assists in their transition back to outpatient care and allows for the practice of new healthier eating and weight control behaviors in a less supervised real world setting. Subsidized housing costs for families of adolescent patients treated in the Partial Hospitalization Program are also available.

The Inpatient Program and the Day Hospital are fully integrated, co-located programs and are staffed by the same team, providing the flexibility to adapt intensity of treatment to patient need and to allow for a seamless transition between levels of care. In the Day Hospital the treatment focus is centered on relapse-prevention and on preparing patients for the transition to home and to outpatient care.

Does our program have published treatment outcomes?

The Johns Hopkins Program believes in the importance of transparent reporting of clinical and weight restoration outcomes.

You can read about patient satisfaction with our treatment program for anorexia nervosa. Reference: Guarda AS, Cooper M, Pletch A, Laddaran L, Redgrave GW, Schreyer CC. Acceptability and tolerability of a meal-based, rapid refeeding, behavioral weight restoration protocol for anorexia nervosa. Int J Eat Disord. 2020.

You can read about our treatment outcomes for anorexia nervosa in Hopkins BrainWise: A Weighty Approach to Anorexia Nervosa. Reference: Redgrave GW, Coughlin JW, Schreyer CC, Martin LM, Leonpacher AK, Seide M, Verdi AM, Pletch A, Guarda AS. Refeeding and weight restoration outcomes in anorexia nervosa: Challenging current guidelines. Int J Eat Disord. 2015;48(7):866-73. PMID: 25625572.

You can find additional information on published treatment outcomes for ARFID and AN in this peer reviewed research article (PMID: 30779365) from our program.

Other papers:

  • Guarda AS, Schreyer CC, Fischer LK, Hansen JL, Coughlin JW, Kaminsky MJ, Attia E, Redgrave GW. Intensive treatment for adults with anorexia nervosa: The cost of weight restoration. Int J Eat Disord. 2017 Mar;50(3):302-306. PMID: 28130794.
  • Redgrave GW, Schreyer CC, Coughlin JW, Fischer LK, Pletch A, Guarda AS. Discharge Body Mass Index, Not Illness Chronicity, Predicts 6-Month Weight Outcome in Patients Hospitalized With Anorexia Nervosa. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Feb 25;12:641861. PMID: 33716836.
  • Cooper M, Guarda AS, Petterway F, Schreyer C. Change in normative eating self-efficacy is associated with sixmonth weight restoration following inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa. Eat Behav. 2021 Aug;42:101518. PMID: 33989938.
  • Schreyer CC, Vanzhula IA, Guarda AS. Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on severity at admission and response to inpatient treatment for adult and adolescent patients with eating disorders. Int J Eat Disord. 2023 Jan;56(1):182- 191. PMID: 36394170.