There are many costs to having an eating disorder. In addition to creating innumerable physical and life-threatening medical problems, eating disorders rob people of life’s pleasures by filling their minds with painful self-critical thoughts, frequently making social engagements excruciating, disrupting plans for travel, healthy physical activity, and academic and professional development. The longer that someone is controlled by an eating disorder, the more stuck they find themselves, unable to turn away from the relationship to the eating disorder and pursue wished for relationships and desires.
If you or your child are trapped in an eating disorder, I encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible. There are many pictures of an eating disorder. They can include restrictive dieting, alternating between food restriction and binge eating, compulsive exercise, vomiting, and laxative abuse. We often see changes in behavior at the onset of an eating disorder. Moods can be unpredictable and explosive at times, with anxiety, irritability, and depression. Eating disorders can consume people’s thoughts, causing them to obsess over food and body image. Eating disorders are bullies.
My choice of treatment models for eating disorders is informed by the most current research as well as by my clinical judgment of the best fit for each individual patient. I am trained in Family Based Treatment, which enlists parents to take an active role in the care and treatment of their children’s eating disorder. I am committed to including loved ones in the recovery of my eating disorder patients whenever it is appropriate. I integrate this family model with cognitive behavioral interventions and psychoanalytic ideas about emotions and relationships. I work in close collaboration with a multidisciplinary team – the treating physician, nutritionist, and psychiatrist on an as-needed basis.
My treatment of eating disorders has informed my work in countless ways. Eating disordered behavior is just one type of unhealthy coping that develops in the face of hardship. When people face emotional struggles they develop ways to survive and withstand feelings that can be overwhelming. At times the ways that people cope can be harmful: disordered eating, drug and alcohol abuse, self-mutilation, negative, self-punitive thinking. I help people to understand the feelings that have been evoked by their life experiences and help them to replace destructive ways of coping with more self-soothing loving ways of caring for themselves.