The Eating Disorders Program of the National Institute of Mental Health has a few inpatient anorexic and bulimic patients and a larger group of outpatients. Antidepressant medication may be used on outpatients.

Anorexics may be hospitalized for as long as four to six months and in addition to medical treatment receive intensive nutritional, education and behavioral treatment along with psychotherapy, either in a group or individually. Biological and behaviorial studies are also conducted.

Inpatient bulimics, admitted when the binge-purge cycles occur at least once a day, usually stay about six weeks, receive similar psychotherapeutic support, education and behavior modification techniques. Regular meal times are emphasized for both sets of patients.

There is no charge for patients admitted to NIMH programs, but they must provide referrals from therapist or physician.

Write: Joy Kassett, Eating Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Building 10, Room 3S231, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. 20892. Phone: 496-1891.

Other local programs:

Washington Hospital Center Eating Disorders Unit, 110 Irving St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20010. Phone: 829-2026. Includes inpatient care and behaviorial approaches similar to those at NIMH.

Georgetown University Diet Management Center, Eating Disorders program. Write Victoria Casey, Diet Center, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C. 20007. Phone: 625-3674. Individual and group psychotherapy and behavioral programs.

Free support groups for eating disordered and their families, sponsored by the Psychiatric Institute of Washington. For patients, Mondays 7:30-8:45 p.m. Phone: Shannon Tobin, 944-3400. For families, second Monday of each month. Phone: Peter Coe, 944-3400.

For general information and individual therapists, write Washington Society for the Study of Eating Disorders and Obesity, c/o Lynne Hornyak, 1301 20th St. NW, Suite 509, Washington, D.C. 20036.