What Is an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders are complex, life-threatening but treatable illnesses. Eating disorders often lead to serious disturbances in eating behaviors among millions of adolescents and adults throughout the United States. Individuals struggling with eating disorders often express concern about their body shape or weight along with feelings of distress associated with their eating habits.
Many people with eating disorders suffer from an extreme desire to be thin and feel devastated by a fear of weight gain. Eating disorders significantly influences a person’s thinking and moods and negatively impacts relationships. For that reason, people often experience drastic changes after recovery from eating disorders, not only in their eating habits but in all aspects of their lives.
Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your chance of complete recovery from this deadly disease. Unfortunately, many individuals ignore early signs of eating disorders and do not seek treatment until an advanced stage is reached. Contrary to popular belief, many people with eating disorders appear to be at normal weight, but due to their distorted eating habits, they may be at serious risk for medical complications and need immediate psychological and medical treatment.
Types of Eating Disorders and Warning Signs
People who are struggling with anorexia nervosa may take extreme measures to control their food intake and avoid eating. Although these individuals are often abnormally thin, they may have a distorted image of their body and shape.
Signs of anorexia may include:
- Food restriction, such as severe dieting and/or fasting
- Sudden weight loss
- Developing fear and anxiety around food and eating in front of others
- Complaints of feeling cold
- Intense fear of getting fat
- Mood swings and social withdrawal
- Dressing in layers in an attempt to hide weight loss
People with bulimia nervosa often engage in uncontrollable episodes of overeating, or binges, followed by some form of purging such as vomiting, the use of laxatives, enemas, strenuous exercising, or restraining behaviors. Given that many individuals with bulimia nervosa maintain a normal body weight, this disorder may remain unnoticed by loved ones and friends.
Signs of bulimia nervosa may include:
- Eating rapidly and a larger than normal amount of food
- Inappropriate use of laxatives, diuretics, or other purging behaviors
- Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
- Feeling a lack of control over food
- Excessive exercising or fasting
Binge Eating Disorders
People with binge eating disorders struggle with a sense of lack of control over their eating, followed by feelings of shame and guilt. Unlike those with bulimia nervosa, these individuals do not engage in purging behaviors. They often are within the normal weight or overweight range.
Many individuals with this diagnosis have a long history of failed diets and poor self-esteem. Their eating habits often interfere with their relationships, work, and ability to feel good about themselves.
Signs of bulimia nervosa may include:
- Eating to the point of being uncomfortably full and feeling disgusted afterward
- Unstructured eating habits
- Eating in secret due to embarrassment
- Basing self-worth on weight and control of eating
- Restricting activities due to shame about weight
Eating Disorder Treatment for Adolescents
I offer evidence-based, effective treatment to help children and adolescents with a wide range of eating disorders, along with other food- and weight-related issues. I combine a family system approach with customized behavioral interventions, in addition to offering communication-skills training and relapse prevention.
I frequently consult and work closely with pediatricians, psychiatrists, and nutritionists with expertise in eating disorders to support and create a multidisciplinary team to maximize your teen’s long-term recovery.
I have successfully treated many teens and adults with eating disorders, and now I am proud to offer specialized treatment of eating disorders to teens and families in the Torrance and South Bay areas in Los Angeles County.
Eating Disorder Treatment for Adults
My holistic approach to eating disorder treatment addresses the complexity of this disorder. I believe that every person can attain freedom from their self-defeating habitual behaviors and addictions given the right set of tools. I use several different treatment modalities including:
- Individual and Family Therapy
- Attachment Based Therapy
- Mindfulness Training
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills Training
- Relapse Prevention
My clients are integral partners in my treatment approach. They participate in all aspects of their treatment. Together, we will uncover the layers of meaning associated with your disordered eating and assist you to make peace with your body and food.
You no longer have to struggle alone. Take my offer of a free phone consultation, and together, we can start a journey of healing and recovery.