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Eating Disorders

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders affect how individuals view and deal with food, eating and weight.  There are several types of eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa is a self –imposed food restriction and starvation in an obsessive effort to lose weight and achieve an unrealistic ideal of thinness.

Bulimia Nervosa is an episodic pattern of binge eating where large amounts of food are eaten quickly. Binges are often followed by some form of purging (vomiting, laxatives, exercise) in an effort to avoid weight gain.

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) can resemble Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa but not meet all symptoms.

Binge Eating Disorder is when excessive amounts of food are eaten in a discrete period of time but in which no compensatory strategies, like purging are employed.

What are symptoms of Eating Disorders?

Symptoms include changes in eating patterns and weight fluctuation.  Excessive focus or concern about body size and unrealistic physical self-image also are typical.  There can be repeated comments about being “fat”, frequent weighing, extreme weight fluctuations, intense fear of weight gain, preoccupation with body weight and shape, excessive exercise, secretive eating, repeatedly disappearing after meals, avoids eating with other people, sudden interest in diet books and cooking, sudden mood swings and vague physical complaints.

How is an Eating Disorder Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by a medical or mental health professional qualified to assess for this condition.  The professional completes an intake assessment and from the information gathered and symptoms presented can make the appropriate diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

How is an Eating Disorder Treated?

Treatment may include outpatient individual, group and family therapy with a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner. Other outpatient therapy may include outpatient individual, group and family therapy with a Registered Dietitian. Also provided is a medication assessment completed by a Psychiatrist to determine if medication is necessary to assist with outpatient treatment. 

For more information for treatment services please contact Children’s Behavioral Health at (402)955-3900.

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