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What We Treat

Eating Disorders

If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder you may be feeling scared and unsure of where to begin.

You are not alone in this journey. Our treatment approach utilizes Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and the belief that eating disorders are a disease of disconnection. We believe in healthy living and the principles of Health at Every Size (HAES). 

We will work with individuals and their loved ones to restore connection and begin the recovery process. Our approach is to reconnect you with yourself, others, and the world around you. 

Additionally, we help you grow stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually to empower you or your loved one to disconnect from the eating disorder and connect to their authentic self, feelings, life goals, and values. 

Where to begin

Eating disorders impact all age groups, genders, spectrums, and orientations. No matter what journey the eating disorder has taken you on, we hope to bring healing and connection to patients who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Types of eating disorders we treat

Recognizing the Signs of Eating Disorders

Early identification of eating disorder symptoms is vital for initiating timely treatment and preventing the condition from worsening, thereby improving recovery chances. Symptoms across disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder vary, but common signs include changes in eating habits, psychological behavior, and a distorted sense of body image and self-identity. Recognizing these key indicators is crucial for acknowledging the presence of an eating disorder and the need for professional intervention. Key indicators to be aware of include:

  • Changes in Eating Patterns: Avoiding meals, losing interest in previously enjoyed foods, or following extreme dietary restrictions may point to an eating disorder.
  • Obsession with Weight and Body Shape: Regularly checking weight, excessive preoccupation with body size, and a persistent fear of weight gain are telltale signs.
  • Atypical Food Behaviors: Engaging in secretive eating, excusing oneself immediately after eating, or misusing laxatives and diuretics suggest underlying issues.
  • Physical Indications: Fluctuating weight, dental problems, skin dryness, and hair thinning are notable physical manifestations of eating disorders.
  • Psychological and Behavioral Shifts: Experiencing frequent emotional changes, withdrawing from social interactions, and showing increased sensitivity to remarks about food or body image are critical psychological signs.

Available Treatment Options:

The range of treatment methods for eating disorders can differ based on how severe the condition is and what you are most at ease with. Typically, these options include:

  • Individual therapy sessions
  • Group or family therapy sessions
  • Community Referrals to nutritionists, and psychiatrists
  • Health monitoring with your primary care as needed

Therapeutic Approaches:

The complexity of eating disorders and associated mental health issues means there are numerous treatment possibilities available:

Our Approach to Eating Disorders

Together we will thoroughly assess to determine the appropriate treatment plan for you or your loved one. We work towards your most desired goals and address any areas you may be struggling such as low-self-esteem, self-image, trauma, anxiety, depression, anger, body image and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Eating disorders are treatable. We believe that these disorders, at their core, are a disease of disconnection. Our goal is to help clients grow stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually so that they have the tools they need to connect with their authentic self, feelings, life goals, and values. We use a multi-pronged treatment approach that is rooted in relational, cultural, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

You are not alone in this journey. Your therapist will determine the appropriate level of care for you, which may include a psychological evaluation, individual, group or family therapy. 

The Impact of Eating Disorders

The impact of eating disorders extends across various aspects of an individual’s life, underscoring the critical need for effective treatment for eating disorders. Here are the key areas affected:

  • Severe malnutrition
  • Complications from purging
  • Increased risk of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Distorted body image
  • Strained relationships
  • Social isolation & withdrawal from friends and family

Contributing Factors

  • Genetic Predispositions: Family history of eating disorders or other mental health issues.
  • Psychological Factors: Low self-esteem, perfectionism, impulsive behavior.
  • Sociocultural Influences: Media portrayal of ideal body types, societal pressure on physical appearance.
  • Personal Experiences: History of bullying or teasing about weight, traumatic events.
  • Biological Elements: Neurochemical imbalances, hormonal changes.

The Importance of Support Systems

Support systems play a critical role in the treatment and recovery process of eating disorders, acting as a foundational pillar that can significantly influence the journey toward healing. In the context of treatment for eating disorders, having a network of supportive relationships provides the individual with a sense of stability and understanding, which is essential for navigating the complexities of recovery.

Emotional Support

Emotional backing from friends, family, and peer support groups offers comfort and reassurance, helping individuals to feel understood and less isolated. This form of support can mitigate feelings of loneliness, shame, or guilt that often accompany eating disorders.

Practical Assistance

Beyond emotional support, practical help in managing daily responsibilities, attending therapy sessions, and making healthy lifestyle changes are crucial. Supportive individuals can assist in creating a structured environment conducive to recovery.

Accountability and Motivation

A support system can serve as a source of motivation and accountability, encouraging consistency in following treatment plans and engaging in healthy behaviors. This can be particularly important in moments of doubt or when facing setbacks.

Improved Treatment Outcomes

Research indicates that individuals with strong support networks tend to have better treatment outcomes. Supportive relationships can enhance the effectiveness of therapy, nutritional counseling, and other components of a comprehensive treatment plan for eating disorders.

Educational Resource

Educated support systems can also play an educational role, gaining knowledge about eating disorders to better understand and empathize with the individual’s experience. This can lead to more effective communication and support strategies.

Support systems are integral to the success of treatment for eating disorders, offering a multifaceted form of assistance that encompasses emotional, practical, and motivational support. They not only help in navigating the recovery process but also significantly improve the chances of long-term success and well-being.

Eating Disorder FAQs

How can I approach a loved one about their eating disorder?

Reaching out to a loved one about their eating disorder can be incredibly challenging.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, a leading researcher in the field of eating disorders, recommends the following considerations when approaching a loved one with concerns:

  1. Prepare for your conversation: get a base knowledge about eating disorders by reading books, watching videos, and visiting reputable websites.
  2. Define the purpose of your conversation: decide in advance what the goal of your conversation will be. Do you hope to open communication? Encourage your loved one to seek treatment?
  3. Choose the best time and place. Picking a safe environment may help limit your loved one’s feelings of defensiveness or distress in response to this challenging conversation.
  4. Identify specific behaviors you have personally observed: use “I” statements and stick to specific facts on the behaviors you have witnessed.
  5. Remain calm and be patient: it is possible that your loved one will become upset. Keep the initial conversation short if it begins to develop into an argument.
  6. If your loved one is a child or teen, you may insist on seeking professional help even if he/she opposes it. If your loved one is an adult, expressing your concern and support is crucial, as well as providing information and offering help to contact a professional for an evaluation.

To diagnose an eating disorder, our therapists will have a friendly and open conversation with you about your eating habits, how you feel about food and your body, and your mental health history. Our therapists might use some standard questionnaires to pinpoint specific behaviors and symptoms. It’s also common for therapists to work alongside doctors to check for any physical health issues, making sure they get a full picture of your health to provide the best care possible.

Please be sure to reach out to our team if you have any questions regarding scheduling a free consultation with our Eating Disorder therapists.

There are some helpful strategies you can use at home to support your journey with an eating disorder.

Mindfulness is a great tool; it helps you enjoy your meals more by focusing on the taste and experience of eating.

Yoga is also fantastic—it increases body awareness and helps calm your mind, easing stress that might be connected to your eating habits.

Along with these practices, remember that taking good care of yourself and staying connected with supportive friends and family can really make a difference.

DBT-PE aids individuals with PTSD by integrating mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness modules, which then help individuals build essential coping skills needed to manage overwhelming emotions and reactions triggered by traumatic memories. Additionally, DBT-PE incorporates prolonged exposure techniques, allowing individuals to gradually confront and process traumatic memories in a safe and controlled manner. This exposure helps desensitize individuals to the distressing aspects of their trauma, ultimately leading to a reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Resources/Tools:

Screening tools are a great place to start if you have questions. Here is a direct link to a brief screening for ages 13 years old and up, provided by NEDA, to help you get started on your journey. 

NEDA Screening Tool

About Eating Disorders:
Eating Disorder hope.
HAES® Model
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
Bulimia Nervosa Resource Guide for Family and Friends
Maudsley Parents 
Children’s National Hospital for Eating Disorders 
Eating Disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community 
The Trevor Project 

Book Recommendations: 

  • Life without ED by Jenni Schaefer
  • Goodbye Ed, Hello Me by Jenni Schaefer 
  • Sick Enough by Jennifer L. Gaudiani, MD, CEDS, FAED 
  • 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin 
  • Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings
  • A Hunger so wide and so deep: A multiracial View of Women’s Eating Problems by Becky W. Thompson 
  • Eating in the Light of the Moon by Anita Johnston, PhD
  • Surviving an Eating Disorder: Strategies for Family and Friends by Judith brisman, PhD, and Margot Weinshel, MSW
  • When you Reen as has Eating Disorder: Practical Stratgies to Help your Teen Recover from -Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge eating by Lauren Muhlheim, PsyD
  • Crave: Why you Binge Eat and How to Stop by Cynthia Bulik, PhD
  • The Body is not an Apology: The Power of Radial Self Love (additionally there is a workbook with this) by Renee Taylor 
  • Landwhale: On Turning insults into Nicknames, Why Body Image is Hard, and How Diets Can -Kiss My Ass by Jes Baker
  • The F*ck it Diet by Caroline Dooner 
  • Starving In Search of Me: A Coming-of-Age Story of Overcoming An Eating Disorder and Finding Self-Acceptance by Marissa LaRocca
  • Man Up to Eating Disorders: a memoir and self-help book for men and boys struggling with body image, self-esteem, fat shaming, and eating disorders by Andrew Walen LCSW-C

We Can Help.

If you or a loved one are struggling with some of the above challenges related to Eating Disorders, we are here to help.