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Receive Help at Successful Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, getting help in an eating disorder treatment program as soon as possible is key to preventing any further damage to the body. It might be hard for someone on the outside to understand an eating disorder, and why their loved one has these behaviors. The person suffering does not see their behaviors as irrational but as a means to control the intrusive thoughts they have about their physical appearance. The most important thing to do when looking for treatment is to surround yourself or your loved one with support. There are approximately 30 million people, men and women of all ages, who suffer from an eating disorder in the United States each year.

Eating Disorder Conditions

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is an eating disorder where a person has a distorted perception of their weight and appearance. They will typically have very low body weight, sometimes to a degree that requires hospitalization for the purpose of stabilizing the individual and ensuring their physical safety. The person who is suffering from anorexia will focus greatly on controlling caloric intake and often to the point of no intake at all. Some may also use binge eating and purge behaviors whereas others will focus on restricting consumption of food. If gone untreated, it can lead to severe medical complications such as irregular heartbeat, low blood sugar, loss of bone mass, kidney and liver damage, osteoporosis, insomnia, anemia, infertility, low potassium, cardiac arrest and death.

Warning Signs

  • Very limited eating
  • Emaciation of the body
  • Unwillingness to maintain a healthy body weight
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body-image and self-esteem
  • Denial of risk of low body weight
  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of emotion

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder where an individual secretly binges large amounts of food and/or tries to remove the food through some type of purging. The difference from anorexia is that people with bulimia usually are of a normal weight which makes it very difficult to suspect a problem early on. There are two classifications of bulimia, purging bulimia and non-purging bulimia. Purging bulimia involves the use of vomiting, diuretics, laxatives, and enemas. Non-purging bulimia is when an individual may use excessive exercise, fasting, and extreme dieting. Regardless of the type, people suffering from Bulimia usually have a strict schedule or cycle that is very demanding of their time and energy. Just like anorexia, bulimia has quite severe medical complications if left untreated. A person suffering from bulimia may experience the following physical complications: tooth decay, osteoporosis, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, inflammation or tears in the esophagus, fainting, low body temperature, heart failure, and suicide risk.

Warning Signs

  • Constantly inflamed throat
  • Swollen glands in neck and jaw area
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as acid reflux
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Low self-esteem pertaining to body image
  • Feelings of shame and guilt
  • Feeling a loss or lack of control

Compulsive Overeating

Most of us have experienced the urge to overeat on occasion, but when it becomes an uncontrollable compulsion, there are inevitable consequences. Compulsive overeating and binge eating can result in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues. In addition, this can lead to psychological effects such as depression, anxiety and isolation from friends and family. Unlike Anorexia and Bulimia, individuals who binge eat do not purge or excessively exercise afterward. These individual’s can be normal weight, overweight, or obese. If you are experiencing any of these issues with overeating, it is important to seek help to prevent health and psychological conditions from progressing.

Warning Signs

  • Eating large amounts of food in a given time frame
  • Eating when full
  • Eating at a quick pace during binge episodes
  • Eating alone out of embarrassment
  • Feeling ashamed about eating habits
  • Dieting often without weight loss

Risk Factors

Eating disorders can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. They typically develop in the teenage years or in early adulthood. Both men and women are susceptible to eating disorders, though it is more common in women. Eating disorders are caused by genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors. Scientists have discovered that individuals with first degree relatives who have an eating disorder, such as a sibling or parent, are at a greater risk of developing an eating disorder themselves which suggests a significant genetic component. Furthermore, environmental factors such as the pressure to be thin as portrayed in magazines and television, bullying, and peer pressure all play significant roles in provoking the onset of an eating disorder. Stress, or significant change, can also lead to the development of an eating disorder.

In sports, eating disorders are especially prevalent among gymnasts, runners, wrestlers, and dancers.

The development of eating disorders is very complex and scientists and medical professionals are constantly gaining a better understanding of what causes them.

Related Conditions

It is not uncommon for someone who is suffering from an eating disorder to have a co-occurring condition, usually related to mental health. Below are some examples:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Substance abuse

Getting Help for an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly. If left untreated for too long, they can lead to potentially fatal physical conditions. If you or someone you know is suffering from anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating, there is help within reach. We invite you to call to connect with a treatment center at 866-644-7911. 

Finding the Best Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Finding the best eating disorder treatment program can be a daunting task because there could be so many choices and a lot of information to take in. We understand that the time it takes to find an eating disorder treatment option is valuable so that recovery can begin immediately in order to prevent any irreversible damage. There are various levels of care that are offered for eating disorder treatment.

Eating Disorder Hospital Level of Care

The highest level of care is in a medical hospital. If a person is suffering from severe medical complications due to bulimia, they may need to be admitted into the hospital first prior to going into residential treatment.

Eating Disorder Residential Level of Care

Once a person is stabilized, they may be able to enter the residential level of care for eating disorders. The residential level of care is typically a minimum of 30 days and can extend 60-90 days. Residential eating disorder treatment programs may offer medical assessments, psychiatric assessment, individual therapy, group therapy, support groups, equine therapy (working with horses), yoga and meditation, healthy eating habits, dietitian and extracurricular activities.

Eating Disorder Outpatient Level of Care

After a person has completed residential treatment, the next phase of the continuum of care would be outpatient treatment for eating disorders. The outpatient treatment may include individual therapy sessions and group therapy sessions, or support groups in the community.

Going through the appropriate level of care to start treatment is an important part of the process. By calling for a free assessment we can review your or your loved one’s history and give the best recommendations for eating disorder treatment facilities.


Depending on the success of other treatment plans, doctors may also recommend therapy as a treatment for eating disorders. Psychotherapy can be a helpful tool in determining some of the root causes of the development of an eating disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may also be used to curb certain behaviors such as binge-eating. This type of therapy helps the patient identify negative thought patterns in order to learn how to avoid acting on them.


Medications are typically not the first method of treatment used for eating disorders, but they can be helpful for individuals who have a co-occurring illness such as anxiety or depression. In this situation, doctors may recommend antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers. This may allow an individual to focus on improving their condition relating to the eating disorder with a better state of mind.

Eating Disorder Treatment Centers

The recommendation for eating disorder treatment should be done in an inpatient or residential setting with a licensed medical team for increased safety and the best outcome.  The treatment program will consist of a full treatment team including a psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, and 24 hour support staff. Call to connect with a treatment center at 866-64-7911.

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If you are looking for a specific treatment provider, you can search our treatment directory and see if they are listed. You can also contact our helpline at 866-644-7911 for any questions, or visit SAMHSA.

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