Treatment of Eating Disorders
I specialize in the treatment of eating disorders and associated issues in my practice. I completed my Post-Doctoral work in a local eating disorder treatment center which provided a Residential level of care, a Partial-Hospitalization level of care, an Intensive Outpatient level of care and outpatient psychotherapy services in the service of treating eating disorders. I am also a former professional member of the Multi-Disciplinary Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) and now currently hold a position sitting on its Board of Directors.
Eating disorders are serious, sometimes life-threatening, physical and psychological disorders. Despite this, they are absolutely treatable, and anyone can make the decision to begin their recovery journey. It has been estimated in national studies that as many as 20 million women and 10 million men have experienced an eating disorder at some time in their life. Problematic relationships to food and one’s body may double the numbers above. These are serious but treatable issues.
Eating disorders can manifest as discreet, diagnosable disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge-Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, or an Other Specified Eating or Feeding Disorder (OSFED). Eating issues may also contain or present as intense body image dissatisfaction, the drive to compulsively over-exercise, the misuse of laxatives or other substances to manipulate one’s weight, compulsive calorie counting, or a history with “crash dieting”. A person may also become aware of a problematic relationship to food itself.
It is important to be aware that “…eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. Besides medical complications from binge eating, purging, starvation, and over-exercise, suicide is also common among individuals with eating disorders. Potential health consequences include heart attack, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and electrolyte imbalance. People who struggle with eating disorders also have intense emotional distress and a severely impacted quality of life.” (NIDA, 2018). Eating Disorders have been found to rest on complex interactions of risk factors involving biological (a family member with an eating disorder themselves or a mental health issue; history of dieting), psychological (perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, history of an anxiety disorder, or inflexible behavior), and social (history of teasing or bullying; acculturation; weight stigma and other societal pressures, limited social networks, or history of trauma or historical or family trauma).
In our work together, treatment is individualized specifically for you, as eating disorders often present differently. We will put a tremendous effort into understanding your specific eating and body image issues, identify symptoms and behaviors, and work to distance yourself from the disorder through psychotherapy. A referral to a Nutritionist, a professional trained to treat eating disorders by focusing specifically on nutrition counseling, will likely be a part of your treatment team. Depending on the severity of symptoms, it may be necessary to refer to a local treatment program in order to fully enter into one’s recovery. Another key aspect of our work with be looking at the root causes of your eating disorder and how working through such issues will help develop your sense of personal recovery. Due to the frequent medical components that accompany eating disorders, regular contact with a qualified primary care physician or psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist can be very necessary.
Full eating disorder recovery is possible. I believe that people inherently possess the wisdom and strength to make powerful changes in their lives and that everyone deserves a life that is free of body and food obsessions. I also believe that the treatment of eating disorders must rest on working through underlying emotional issues, coupled with skill building for everyday situation. This work can be difficult and time consuming and I am honored to assist my patients in each and every one of their journeys.