Anorexia Nervosa (AN)
Teenagers with Anorexia Nervosa may become underweight, malnourished, anxious about eating, terrified of gaining weight, and have a distorted sense of their body size and appearance. They may take extreme measures to avoid eating and control the quantity and quality of the foods they do eat. Often times a teen with Anorexia Nervosa may not be able to initially acknowledge, notice, and trust that something is wrong, leading to increased distress when intervention takes place.
Someone with Anorexia Nervosa may acknowledge that they are suffering or unhappy in some parts of their life, but when they are really “in” their eating disorder– their cognitions, perceptions, emotions, and behaviors are seriously impacted. This may result in a minimized, inaccurate, or disturbed perception of health and wellbeing. Anorexia Nervosa ranges in severity and looks different for each person, while at the same time there are consistent signs of Anorexia Nervosa.
Learn about the signs of Anorexia Nervosa
Signs of Anorexia Nervosa include:
- A distorted view of one’s body weight, size or shape
- Hiding or discarding food
- Obsessively counting calories and/or grams of fat in the diet
- Denial of feelings of hunger
- Developing rituals around preparing food and eating
- Compulsive or excessive exercise
- Social withdrawal
- Pronounced emotional changes, such as irritability, depression and anxiety
- Rapid or excessive weight loss
- Feeling cold, tired and weak
- Thinning hair
- Absence of menstrual cycles
- Dizziness or fainting
Bulimia Nervosa (BN)
Teenagers with Bulimia Nervosa often experience anxiety around eating, pervasive fear of weight gain, and a disturbance in body image. When a teen has Bulimia Nervosa they may eat food consistently and also binge and purge. They may also eat sporadically, with a period of not eating enough food followed by an episode of bingeing and purging (restrict-binge-purge cycle). A ‘binge and purge’ episode is when someone engages in episodes of overeating (bingeing) usually followed by compensatory behavior such as: purging through vomiting, use of laxatives, enemas, fasting, or excessive exercise.
A person with Bulimia Nervosa most often is at an average or “normal weight” for their body, and typically is discreet about their behaviors, which may it may difficult to know that a teen is struggling with this eating disorder.
Learn about the signs of Bulimia Nervosa
Signs that indicate someone may have Bulimia Nervosa include:
- Eating unusually large amounts of food with no apparent change in weight
- Hiding food or discarded food containers and wrappers
- Excessive exercise or fasting
- Peculiar eating habits or rituals
- Frequent tips to the bathroom after meals
- Inappropriate use of laxatives and diuretics
- Frequently clogged showers or toilets
- Discolored teeth
- Vomit odor on the breath
- Stomach pain
- Calluses/scarring on the hands caused by self-inducing vomiting
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods
- Weakness or fatigue
Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
A teen struggling with Binge Eating Disorder may experience anxiety about eating, pervasive fear of weight gain, body image disturbance and severe dissatisfaction with body shape and size. Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by uncontrollable excessive eating, followed by feelings of shame and guilt. Someone with Binge Eating Disorder typically does not respond to their binges with compensatory behaviors like purging. Someone with Binge Eating Disorder may be malnourished, regardless of their current weight, and may engage in periods of restriction and dieting. A teen with Binge Eating Disorder often has a very restrictive mindset while suffering with their relationship with food, yet their struggle is often overlooked by stigma about weight or misunderstood and perpetuated by inaccurate attempts and recommendations to lose weight through dieting. Often binging is fueled by not eating enough and strong, uncomfortable emotions.
Learn about the signs of Binge Eating Disorder
Signs of Binge Eating Disorder include:
- Eating unusually large amounts of food in a distinct period of time (within 2 hours)
- Eating rapidly
- Hiding food or discarded food containers and wrappers
- Eating in secret because of feeling embarrassed by how much they are eating
- Eating when stressed or when feeling uncertain how to cope
- Feeling that they are unable to control how much they eat and disgusted with themselves afterwards
- Experimentation with different diets
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Heart disease
Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
ARFID is defined as an eating or feeding disturbance that results in persistent failure to meet appropriate nutritional and/or energy needs.
ARFID is associated with one (or more) of the following:
- Significant weight loss (or failure to achieve expected weight gain or faltering growth in children).
- Significant nutritional deficiency.
- Dependence on enteral feeding or oral nutritional supplements.
- Marked interference with psychosocial functioning
People with ARFID most often do not present with body image disturbance or fear of weight gain. Instead those with ARFID may show a lack of interest in eating or food, avoid food based on a sensory experiences (i.e. taste, texture), or due to concern about negative consequences of eating such as vomiting or feeling nauseas.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)
OSFED is a clinical category that consists of a wide range of eating disorder symptoms that does not meet the criteria for one specific eating disorder like Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Binge Eating disorder. This disorder is as serious and clinically concerning as all other eating disorder diagnoses.
Subtypes of OSFED include:
- Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: All criteria are met, except despite significant weight loss, the individual’s weight is within or above the normal range.
- Binge Eating Disorder (of low frequency and/or limited duration): All of the criteria for BED are met, except at a lower frequency and/or for less than three months.
- Bulimia Nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration): All of the criteria for bulimia nervosa are met, except that the binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behavior occurs at a lower frequency and/or for less than three months.
- Purging Disorder: Recurrent purging behavior to influence weight or shape in the absence of binge eating.
- Night Eating Syndrome: Recurrent episodes of night eating. Eating after awakening from sleep, or by excessive food consumption after the evening meal. The behavior is not better explained by environmental influences or social norms. The behavior causes significant distress/impairment. The behavior is not better explained by another mental health disorder (e.g. BED).”
Co-occurring Mental Health Concerns
Our multidisciplinary team takes an integrative approach to healing that combines evidence-based treatment with personalized care to address co-occurring mental health concerns such as:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
*If you have a question about a mental health concern not listed above, please reach out to us as this list is not inclusive of all secondary concerns we address.