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Eating Disorder Treatment at UW-Madison University Health Services

By Isabel Grieder, Admissions Counselor| 5 Min Read | February 22, 2024

Table of Contents 

  • Eating Disorder Services Offered by UW-Madison University Health Services 
  • Identifying When Additional Help is Needed
  • Inner Haven Wellness – A Local Advanced Care Option 
  • Key Takeaways 

Note: At Inner Haven Wellness, we value accessible and effective care for young individuals in academic environments. UW-Madison is not just a place of learning–it’s also a community. 

UW-Madison’s health center, University Health Services (UHS), takes an integrated and interdisciplinary team approach to treating eating disorders. This aligns with our work at Inner Haven Wellness. This resource guide explores UHS resources available to students at UW-Madison, reinforcing our mutual goal of aiding young people in their journey towards mental health and academic success.

Eating disorders represent a significant health concern, especially in academic settings like UW-Madison. Since 2013, eating disorder risk among college age students has increased an alarming 13%1.  

The pandemic has been a significant catalyst for the rise in eating disorders. UW Health reports2 that adolescent eating disorders have doubled during this period. 

Several factors contribute to this surge, including prolonged isolation, disruption of daily routines, and the stress of adapting to new learning environments. These elements, combined with the already prevalent pressures of academic life and social expectations, create a fertile ground for eating disorders to develop and flourish. 

At UW-Madison, nearly half (44%) of students indicated that the campus environment has a negative impact on students’ eating and body image3. UW Madison’s Health Center, University Health Services (UHS), plays an important role in addressing this growing concern and aiding students on their journey to recovery. 

This resource guide explores the services offered by UHS, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and specialized care in the journey toward recovery. 

Eating Disorder Services Offered by UW-Madison University Health Services

The University Health Services website provides comprehensive information on eating disorders, along with links to essential resources. Students with concerns related to eating, exercise, and body image should start by making an Access Appointment, which can be scheduled by calling 608-265-5600 or logging into MyUHS

The Access appointment is the entry point to clinical mental health care at UHS. The Appointment is a consultation where students will discuss their needs with an Access specialist to develop recommendations for care and connect the student with appropriate resources and referrals. Students can discuss what specific treatment plan may best suit them in their Access appointment. Recommendations may include medical and nutritional support, in addition to mental health treatment. 

UHS Mental Health Crisis Support Line: UHS offers a mental health crisis support line that is staffed 24/7 by licensed professionals. Students, and those concerned about a student, can call 608-265-5600 (option 9)

Apart from these services, UHS extends its support through educational workshops and outreach programs. The focus is on offering a holistic approach to overall mental health, recognizing the interconnectedness of various aspects of student life and well-being. 

Identifying When Additional Help is Needed

UHS provides a solid foundation for initial support and intervention, but certain situations require a higher level of care. It is important to identify these scenarios to ensure individuals receive the comprehensive help they need. 

Eating disorders are complex, often requiring multidisciplinary care that extends beyond the scope of UHS. When a student exhibits signs of severe or chronic eating disorders, a higher level of specialized treatment is indicated. These signs include significant medical complications, severe psychological distress, or a lack of progress with current treatment approaches. 

Specialized treatment options typically offer a higher level of care, including intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, residential, or inpatient treatment programs. These programs provide a more immersive and structured approach, essential for individuals facing serious challenges in their recovery journey. 

The journey to recovery from an eating disorder is unique for each individual. While UHS provides an essential starting point, recognizing the need for and transitioning to specialized care is often a critical step in achieving lasting recovery. 

Inner Haven Wellness – A Local Advanced Care Option  

Inner Haven Wellness is a treatment center for individuals requiring specialized care for eating disorders. We build on the foundational support provided by UHS, offering a comprehensive and tailored approach to treatment. The focus at Inner Haven Wellness is on providing personalized care that addresses the unique needs of each individual. 

At Inner Haven Wellness, our treatment philosophy is grounded in understanding the multifaceted nature of eating disorders. We offer two levels of care, intensive outpatient programming (IOP) and partial hospitalization programming (PHP). These services are designed to provide a holistic approach to treatment, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of eating disorders. 

For those who have reached a point where a higher level of care is clinically and/or medically indicated, Inner Haven Wellness is a local trusted partner. 

If you or your loved one needs more specialized or intensive care for eating disorders, contact Inner Haven Wellness today. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Increased Incidence of Eating Disorders in College Age Students, including at UW-Madison: Recent data shows a significant rise in eating disorders among students, exacerbated by pandemic-related stress and isolation. 
  • Comprehensive Services at University Health Services (UHS): UHS offers a range of support services including counseling and nutritional guidance, emphasizing early intervention and a holistic approach to treatment. 
  • Recognizing the Need for Higher Levels of Care: Know when additional, specialized treatment is necessary beyond university-level care, especially for severe or chronic cases of eating disorders. 
  • Inner Haven Wellness as a Specialized Option: Offering advanced care options with intensive outpatient programs and partial hospitalization programs, Inner Haven Wellness is tailored for those needing more comprehensive treatment. 
  • Accessible Resources and Support: Both UW-Madison and Inner Haven Wellness provide easily accessible resources and support for those struggling with eating disorders.  

Citations

  1. Daly, Michael and Erin Costigan. “Trends in Eating Disorder Risk Among U.S. College Students, 2013–2021.” Psychiatry Research, vol. 317, no. 114882, 2022, published 10 Oct. 2022, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165178122004747?via%3Dihub ↩︎
  2. “UW Health Sees Twice as Many Adolescent Eating Disorders During the Pandemic.” UW Health, Emily Greendonner, 15 June 2021, https://www.uwhealth.org/news/uw-health-sees-twice-as-many-adolescent-eating-disorders-during-the-pandemic ↩︎
  3. University of Wisconsin-Madison University Health Services. Executive Summary Report 
    2022 Healthy Minds Survey Results. Sept. 2023, https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Healthy-Minds-Survey-Executive-Report-2023.pdf ↩︎