A partial hospitalization program (PHP) offers individuals recovering from substance use, mental health, and eating disorders access to a structured and safe treatment environment where they can receive care while sustaining a schedule outside of rehab. Our eating disorder PHP treatment is offered to active-duty military and veterans with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and others. As part of our Military and Veterans in Recovery program, this level of care is designed with the challenges and needs of this demographic in mind. Keep reading below to learn how it can help you or a loved one achieve long-term recovery.

Eating Disorders in the Military

Whether serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or Space Force, military personnel put their lives at risk to fight for our country. Due to the combat and trauma many of these individuals are exposed to, mental health disorders like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are relatively common among this demographic, with studies showing approximately 1 in 4 active-duty members show signs of mental illness.1

In addition to these mental health disorders, eating disorders have also become more prevalent in the military in recent years. Although mental health awareness is much higher among military members than it was in the past, eating disorders are not as well recognized.

Much like professional sports, the military appears to be an environment that can contribute to disordered eating. The environment fosters severe pressure to attain and sustain peak physical conditions marked with regular weigh-ins.

Discipline, rank, working with others, strict regimens, and designated rules are all factors of control and perfection, characteristics that are highly associated with eating disorders. Additionally, the extreme stress of being away from loved ones and being in combat or traumatic situations can contribute to harmful coping mechanisms, such as unhealthy eating behaviors.

What’s more, while eating disorders can occur in men, women are more likely to develop them. For instance, according to a survey of 3,000 women in the military, 60% of respondents had an eating disorder, and in the Marine Corps alone, 97.5% met the criteria for an eating disorder.2

Unfortunately, many military eating disorders go unnoticed and untreated not only because of the lack of awareness but also because many comrades and officials aren’t aware of the telltale signs. Some common signs and symptoms of eating disorders include:

  • Avoiding mealtimes or eating in front of others
  • Complaining about being fat
  • Complaining about constipation or stomach pain
  • Constantly dieting but rarely losing weight
  • Dental problems from repeatedly inducing vomiting
  • Denying that extreme thinness is a problem
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Evidence of binge eating, including the disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time or finding many empty food wrappers or containers
  • Exercising excessively (in this case, doing more training than required)
  • Hoarding food or hiding large quantities of food in strange places
  • Preoccupation with food, dieting, counting calories, and similar
  • Preparing elaborate meals for others but refusing to eat them
  • Refusal to eat certain food groups, such as carbs or fats
  • Scarred knuckles from repeatedly inducing vomiting
  • Signs of purging, including trips to the bathroom after meals, sounds or smells of vomiting, or packages of laxatives or diuretics
  • Skipping meals, avoiding eating in front of others, or eating very small portions
  • Stopping menstruating
  • Using gum, mouthwash, or mints excessively
  • Wearing loose, bulky clothes to hide weight loss or the body

Although these signs may vary depending on the specific kind of eating disorder the individual has, the ones listed above are the most common and can indicate that the individual needs a veteran’s partial hospitalization program for eating disorders.

Is It Rare for a Male to Have an Eating Disorder?

According to research, there are more males in the military than females3:

  • Army: 18.4% females vs. 81.6% males
  • Navy: 20.4% females vs. 79.6% males
  • Marine Corps: 9.1% females vs. 90.9% males
  • Air Force: 22.7% females vs. 77.3% males
  • Space Force: 17.8% females vs. 82.2% males

For this reason, it’s understandable why the statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders in men vs. women are skewed. Contrary to popular belief, males also experience eating disorders at high rates. In fact, about 1 in 3 people with eating disorders are male. However, due to cultural and gender bias, many cases of male eating disorders are less likely to be assessed or diagnosed, affecting statistics and case numbers.4 Considering that the number of males outranks that of women in the military, our eating disorder PHP rehab can’t help but acknowledge the gap.

PHP Eating Disorder Treatment for Active-Duty & Veterans

Unlike residential treatment, eating disorder PHP programs don’t require clients to live at the facility while receiving care. Also referred to as day programs, PHP includes several session hours that take place during the day for several days a week, allowing clients to return home at night.

For this reason, PHP is considered a step down from residential care or a step up from intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) in terms of treatment intensity. PHP can help clients transition to life after rehab in which they utilize the skills and coping mechanisms learned at a Banyan rehab while receiving in-depth support.

This ongoing support plays a crucial role in reducing the role of eating disorder relapse, which is defined as the continuation of disordered eating habits following a period of abstinence. Some major benefits of our eating disorder PHP for veterans and active-duty include:

  • A safe, judgment-free zone
  • A supportive community in which clients can form healthy relationships with others who are working toward similar goals
  • Family therapy
  • Individual and group therapies
  • Individualized treatment that meets the needs of the person
  • Multiple forms of evidence-based care, such as clinical care and medication management
  • Supervised outings and activities

According to research, other benefits of PHP for eating disorders include improved anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and relationship with food and weight (when needed).1 Additionally, for those who step down to our PHP treatment after completing an inpatient level of care, additional benefits may include continuity of care and extended treatment time.

Ultimately, our veterans’ PHP eating disorder treatment can facilitate a smoother and more successful transition out of residential care by balancing independence and comprehensive clinical support. Our goal is to make clients feel as confident in their abilities and motivated in their recovery as possible. 

What Our Eating Disorder PHP for Veterans Offers

The course of PHP treatment depends on the type of eating disorder the individual has. For instance, binge eating disorder triggers and symptoms may differ from those of anorexia nervosa. Therefore, their treatment goals would differ.   

Our eating disorder PHP program may utilize various services to help clients recover, including:

  • Expressive and creative arts therapies
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Medication management
  • Multi-family group therapy
  • Nutritional and meal support 
  • Weekly psychiatric follow-ups
  • & More

PHP is designed to increase and inspire a renewed sense of self-esteem, strength, determination, and emotional resilience. Our program also aims to decrease the shame, secrecy, and isolation that’s often perpetuated by eating disorder symptoms. 

The length of stay in our veterans’ PHP for eating disorders can vary depending on the person’s medical and emotional goals, which are identified by the client and our team. With a community of support, personalized treatment, staff-supported eating, and family support, clients will be equipped to overcome their disorders.   

Finding Eating Disorder PHP Near Me

While admitting you have an eating disorder can be tough, this admission can be exactly what you need to start your recovery. The good news is that no matter what eating disorder you have, care is available. 

Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia offers various levels of eating disorder treatment, including disorder-specific care for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and more. Our PHP care for veterans is an additional level of support offered to the adults who have fought for our country and now need our help. 

For more information about our eating disorder treatment or drug rehab programs for veterans, call Banyan Treatment Centers today or reach out to us online.


  1. NAMI - Veterans & Active Duty
  2. NEDA - The Truth about Eating Disorders in the Military
  3. Statista - Distribution of commissioned active duty officers in the United States military in 2021 by gender and service branch
  4. NEDA - Eating Disorders in Men and Boys

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