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Re-envisioning a Residential Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Elizabeth Gibson, Chelsea Helms, Department of Applied Design, Appalachian State University, 287 Rivers St., Boone, NC 28608

Among U.S. adults 18 and older who sought out treatment for both an eating disorder and an additional illness included 33.8% of respondents with anorexia nervosa, 43.2% with bulimia nervosa, and 43.6% with binge eating disorder. There is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that these diseases are not exclusive to those under the age of 18. Rather than growing out of eating disorders, many people with this disease continue to live with this condition from adolescence all the way into late adulthood. It is important for adolescents and for adults to seek or continue treatment. Many comments from physicians tell patients that they should have “grown out of” eating disorders in which those sorts of comments lead people to not reach out for the treatment they deserve. The purpose of this project is to re-envision a residential eating disorder treatment center for adults over the age of 18 that provides housing, various levels of treatment, mental and physical (individual and group) therapy, meal support, and overall wellbeing healing in Columbia, South Carolina. 

This research is relevant today because there are not many residential treatment centers in the South Eastern area that are catered towards adults over the age of 18.  Moreover, those who are unable to have funding for the treatment are having to spend more expenses for traveling far distances to receive treatment (which may reduce the likelihood that they seek treatment). 

The research will be explored through the problem-solving means of mindfulness, holistic healing approaches, lighting techniques, and water features to promote calmness, and spaces to have users feel relaxed while also motivating and encouraging.


While conducting this research, I expect to learn innovative ways to provide an interior environment that will allow the user to feel mentally and physically safe and foster recovery.




Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Elizabeth Gibson

Institution: Appalachian State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Architecture & Interior Design

Status: Approved


Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2052