Anorexia and the Doctor

Anorexia and the Doctor

The doctor’s visit: If a medical doctor suspects that you have anorexia, they will likely perform a physical examination and may also order laboratory tests to check for any underlying medical issues.  This  doctor may also need to make appropriate referrals such as to an Endocrinologist  and/or a Cardiologist.  This doctor may also refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, for an evaluation and diagnosis. Treatment for anorexia typically includes a combination of therapy, counseling, and in severe cases, hospitalization to address the physical effects of the disorder and help individuals develop healthy eating habits. Medications may also be used to help with related symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

Not all primary care doctors are the same.  See a  primary care doctor that is not only familiar with eating disorders, but enjoys working with this population of patients.

What to expect at a doctors visit: People suffering from anorexia nervosa should expect a  doctor to gather and assess the following information (please note, this list  may not be inclusive. It is a general guideline).

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Pulse
  • Blood pressure
  • Temperature
  • Changes in skin and hair quality
  • Obtain blood-work and a urine sample
  • Gather evidence, through observation of tooth erosion, dehydration and esophageal tears.
  • Ask about menstrual regularity

Lab  tests are likely to include:

  • An electrolyte panel
  • A blood cell count
  • Blood sugar levels
  • A thyroid test
  • Creatinine
  • Blood Area Nitrogen
  • Urine specific gravity
  • An EKG
  • A dexiscan — To check for bone strength and density (After 6 moths with this illness).
  • For males testosterone and gonadotrophin level should be checked

Depending on the clients  health, a person in treatment for an eating disorder may need to have a doctor’s  check-up once a week, or once a month. Eating disorders have devastating  medical consequences. Therefore, it is critical that a person in recovery has a  medical doctor help monitor the patient. Sometimes hospitalization is  required.

If you think you suffer from anorexia, we strongly encourage you to seek treatment. You will need to work closely with a doctor and a mental health therapist. You do not have to go through this alone. Help is only a phone call away.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia is a serious eating disorder characterized by a severe restriction of food intake and an intense fear of gaining weight. People with anorexia may have a distorted body image and may see themselves as overweight even when they are underweight.

Anorexia can have severe physical and psychological consequences, including malnutrition, organ damage, and an increased risk of death. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

Treatment for anorexia typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and nutrition counseling. Therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or family-based therapy, can help individuals with anorexia to change their negative thought patterns and behaviors related to food and weight. Medications such as antidepressants may also be prescribed to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Nutrition counseling can help individuals to learn how to eat a healthy diet and restore their weight to a healthy level.

Recovery from anorexia can be difficult and may take time, but with the right treatment and support, it is possible. It is important to remember that early intervention and seeking help is crucial. If you or someone you know is struggling with anorexia, it is important to seek professional help right away.

What is bulimia? 

Bulimia nervosa, commonly referred to as bulimia, is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating, followed by compensatory behaviors such as purging (vomiting), excessive exercise, or the use of laxatives or diuretics. People with bulimia often feel a lack of control over their eating and may feel guilty or ashamed about their bingeing. Bulimia is often accompanied by a distorted body image, and a fear of gaining weight. Bulimia can be serious and even life-threatening if left untreated, as it can cause damage to the body such as, electrolyte imbalance, heart problems, and dental issues. Treatment for bulimia typically includes therapy and counseling, which can help individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms, improve self-esteem, and address any underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to the disorder. 

What is overeating? 

Overeating is the consumption of excessive amounts of food in a single sitting or over a short period of time. It can be a symptom of an eating disorder such as binge-eating disorder or it can be a habit of eating too much food, whether or not it’s accompanied by feelings of distress or guilt. Overeating can lead to weight gain, obesity and other health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

To address overeating, it’s important to identify and address the underlying causes, such as emotional issues or stress, lack of physical activity, or poor sleep habits. Therapy and counseling can help individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms, improve self-esteem, and address any underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to overeating. A balanced diet and regular physical activity can also help to control weight gain and improve overall health.

Why choose an Eating Disorder Therapist who is also trained in Sex therapy? 

Sex therapy can be an important component of treatment for individuals with eating disorders, as many people with these disorders have distorted body image and may have difficulty with sexual intimacy.

Eating disorders can affect sexual function, sexual desire and sexual satisfaction. People with eating disorders may experience sexual dysfunction, such as difficulty with arousal and orgasm, due to the physical effects of the disorder. Moreover, people with eating disorders may also have body image concerns and low self-esteem which can lead to difficulties with sexual intimacy and relationships.

A sex therapist can help individuals with eating disorders explore and address these issues. Through therapy, individuals can learn to accept and appreciate their bodies, and develop a healthier relationship with food. Sex therapy can also help individuals with eating disorders improve their communication and intimacy skills, and work through any unresolved emotional issues that may be affecting their sexual relationships.

It’s important to note that sex therapy is just one component of treatment and it’s important that individuals with eating disorders receive a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of the disorder.

What is an Eating Disorder Therapist? 

An eating disorder therapist is a mental health professional who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. These disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, as well as other related conditions. Eating disorder therapists are trained to work with individuals, families, and groups to help individuals develop healthier relationships with food, improve self-esteem, and address any underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to the disorder.

Eating disorder therapists use a variety of evidence-based treatment approaches, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to food and body image. They may also use other therapies such as, family therapy, where the therapist works with the individual and their family to improve communication and support within the family. Or, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which is a form of CBT that helps individuals develop skills for managing emotions and improving relationships.

Eating disorder therapist work as part of a treatment team that may include a physician, a dietitian, and other mental health professionals to address all aspects of the disorder and ensure that the individual receives a comprehensive treatment plan.

It’s important to note that seeking help from a qualified eating disorder therapist is essential for individuals with eating disorders, as these disorders can have serious medical and psychological consequences if left untreated.