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What does treatment cost?
For treatment to have the best chance of success, one patient urged, "You have to [be able to] have confidence and respect in the provider you choose."

Obviously, costs for treatment vary greatly according to the type of care needed, the type of facility selected for treatment, and insurance reimbursement. Health insurance may pay for some or all of the treatment, depending on the patient's type of coverage. Details about how to navigate insurance issues are provided in the section on maximizing health insurance benefits. Only some patients may need inpatient residential treatment; others may receive treatment as an outpatient of a residential treatment center, from an outpatient center, or in a private therapist's office.

Outpatient services may include routine psychotherapy sessions and charges for those services vary according to the geographic region in which a patient lives and the level of health professional delivering the service. Typical charges reported for a psychotherapy or counseling session range from $75 to $150 per hour. Costs of medications prescribed also vary widely according to the type of drug prescribed. Typically, newer drugs that have no generic equivalent are more expensive. For example, SSRIs or other novel neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitor drugs are much more expensive than tricyclic antidepressants. Drug costs also depend on the daily dosage prescribed, but newer drugs can cost several dollars per day.

Inpatient treatment costs listed in this section were obtained from residential treatment centers and are provided as examples of costs reported in late 2005. Hospitalization costs are tied so much to the acute medical condition being treated as well as the psychiatric care provided that representative costs can not be provided. Hospital costs should be covered under medical insurance benefits, however, not mental health insurance benefits. (Please see the insurance section on how to obtain the most benefits possible for the longest period of time.) For residential treatment, most centers tailor programs around the number of days insurance companies pay. Many inpatient residential programs are for 30 days. Some others have no limits on inpatient days for a "severe mental illness." Typical residential care costs are around $1000 per day. Partial hospitalization programs at psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment centers are from 3 to 12 hours per day, depending on the patient's needs. Psychotherapy and medication are provided. The costs of these programs range between $8000 and $50,000 per month.

Eating disorder support or self-help groups may be free or charge a nominal fee and are not typically reimbursed through insurance plans.

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Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person engages in binge eating (eating a lot of food in a short time) followed by some type of behavior to prevent weight gain from the food that was eaten. This behavior can take two forms: self-induced vomiting, misuse of enemas, laxatives, diet pills (called purging) and excessive exercise, fasting, or diabetic omission of insulin (called non-purging). Some people with bulimia nervosa may also starve themselves for periods of time before binge eating again. Bulimia nervosa has important mental, emotional, and physical aspects that require consideration during treatment.

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