Mental Health & Wellness

Eating Disorders

When individuals are overly focused on food, weight, or the shape of their bodies, this may be a signal that an eating disorder has developed or is developing. Common eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder.

With Anorexia Nervosa, individuals tend to restrict the amount of food that is consumed and may see themselves as being overweight, even when they may be severely underweight. Several health issues are presented as a result. Treatment and early intervention is very important since Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder.

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which individuals have multiple episodes of eating large quantities of food and feel unable to control this eating behavior. The large intake of food is then followed by some sort of compensatory behavior such as vomiting, exercise, or laxative abuse.

Individuals who have Binge-Eating Disorder also struggle with eating large quantities of food and feel unable to control their behavior. The compensatory behavior that is seen with Bulimia Nervosa does not follow the large intake of food with Binge-Eating Disorder. Binge Eating Disorder is the most common eating disorder that occurs in the United States.

Eating disorders are complex in nature. All body types are present in the three eating disorders. Having an eating disorder creates a significant amount of stress for the individual, as well as shame. Several medical symptoms - in addition to the psychological components - often accompany the eating disorder which frequently leads to further complications. The cause of an eating disorder is multi-faceted and can be a combination of biological, psychological, social, and behavioral issues. Eating disorders affect both males and females. With proper intervention and treatment from dietitians, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists, a sense of wellness can be re-established, leading to a healthy and satisfying life.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week
February 21-27, 2016

According to the Eating Disorders Coalition, more than 30 million Americans have an eating disorder. Contrary to popular belief, eating disorders do not only affect females. Both males and females are severely impacted. A disturbing fact is that eating disorders have the highest rate of mortality in America of all mental illnesses. The mortality rate can be as high as 20%.

The enormous emphasis on physical appearance in our society results in deleterious effects on both adults and youth. Among the adolescent population, Anorexia Nervosa is the 3rd most common chronic illness which speaks to its early presentation. The good news is that eating disorders can be treated successfully and recovery maintained. Early detection and treatment of eating disorders is beneficial as with any illness. However, the key word is “treatment”.

Mission Hospital Laguna Beach currently has an Eating Disorders Treatment Program for ages 18 and older. The four core values are the foundation of our treatment and guide our research-based approach. We offer a full day program Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. as well as a shorter day from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for those who may be further along in their progress. It is a group treatment program with a weekly family component included. Treatment is provided by caring, licensed clinicians. Patients attend group psychotherapy, meet with a psychiatrist on a weekly basis, receive medical nutrition education and therapy from a licensed dietitian, and have supervised meals. Complimentary treatments such as yoga and spirituality groups are provided to further support the healing and recovery process. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please call us at (949) 499-7504.

We are here to help.