Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious but treatable mental and physical illnesses that can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights. National surveys estimate that 20 million women and 10 million men in America will have an eating disorder at some point in their lives (NEDA, 2020). A multitude of factors can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, including psychological, biological, and sociocultural factors.

Eating disorder treatment requires a multidisciplinary treatment approach that integrates psychological counseling, nutritional counseling, medical monitoring, and psychiatric monitoring. It is important that treatment addresses the eating disorder symptoms and medical risk factors, as well as the interpersonal, cultural, psychological and biological factors that have contributed to or helped maintain the eating disorder. There are several different modalities, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Remediation Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Family Based Treatment, and others that can be utilized in the treatment process.

Eating disorder treatment is offered at a variety of settings, including outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, residential and inpatient levels of care. During our intake process, we will talk with you and/or your loved one about relevant history and symptoms to determine if outpatient therapy is an appropriate next step for treatment, or if there is a need for more intensive services first to best support the recovery process.

Recognizing you or your loved one is in need of help is a crucial first step! If you are not sure if treatment is needed, or what level of treatment is needed, please contact our office for a consultation. Our team includes experienced eating disorder therapists and we are here to help.

Body image is the mental representation that one creates in their mind, but it may or may not relate to how others see an individual. The skewed view that someone has of their body is a culprit affecting people across the globe, where ethnicity, culture, gender, and age may all fall prey to it. According to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), about 30 million Americans suffer from some sort of eating disorder. Eating disorders hold a record for having the highest mortality rate when compared to other mental illnesses; someone dies of an eating disorder every 62 minutes.

Types of Eating Disorders

There are copious numbers of eating disorders and, unfortunately, the statistics mentioned above don’t begin to scratch the surface. Here are few examples of eating disorders:  

  • Anorexia Nervosa: People reduce the amount of energy intake required for their weight, age, gender, development and physical health.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Individuals consume large amounts of food, and then induce themselves to vomit to stop weight gain.
  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED): Eating large amounts of food in small periods of time.
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) 14: Children are not just finicky when it comes to this disorder, but they become malnourished because they restrict themselves from eating certain foods.
  • Diabulimia: People with Type 1 diabetes purposely underuse insulin to control their weight.

Treatment Methods

Like other mental disorders and illnesses, care should involve a diverse team of experts. It’s recommended that professional caretakers include the following:

  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Social worker
  • Nutritionist
  • Primary care physician

Due to the severe toll that eating disorders may have on an individual’s physical health, psychological therapy is not enough. It’s also important, if possible, to incorporate family therapy and support groups. Family-Based Treatment, according to NEDA, is a method used for patients who are minors.

In severe cases, inpatient care may be necessary; the person suffering from the eating disorder will be hospitalized or placed in residential care.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from an eating disorder, call the helpline now at 1-800-931-2237. An eating disorder is a serious medical and health concern that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

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