Does Someone You Know Have an Eating Disorder?

How do you know if you or someone you love has an eating disorder?

Keep in mind – just because someone has these symptoms it does not necessarily mean they have an eating disorder.

Symptoms and signs:

– Constant dieting or reference to dieting
– Exaggerated interest in food or counting calories
– Anxiety
– Depression
– Lethargy
– Fatigue/weakness
– Cooking and/or baking for loved ones
– Noticeable weight loss
– Socially withdrawn
– Excessive exercise and extreme irritability if one cannot exercise
– Chemical abuse (diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, amphetamines)
– Excessive use of caffeinated drinks
– Vomiting
– Lack of interest in school and social events
– Excessive tardiness and/or absence
– Suicide attempts
– Unable to commit to social functions or family gatherings

What to do next?

First and most important is to seek help with a physician who is knowledgeable about eating disorders. Ask to have a full blood panel to determine if immediate medical intervention is needed.

Next, find a therapist who is knowledgeable in the treatment of eating disorders. Don’t allow their titles (M.S, M.A, PhD, MSW, MFT, etc.) to influence your decision; check them out personally; ask questions, and remember your judgment should not be based solely on their title or the license they hold.

The therapist you find the eating disordered individual is most comfortable speaking with is the therapist you need. But most important, you need to be “comfortable” with your therapist. The therapeutic relationship itself is the most important part of treatment. If one does not have a connection with their therapist, trust cannot fully develop, and recovery will not occur.

What to look for in a treatment provider

Any treatment provider in the state of California, whether it be an individual therapist, or an inpatient program, must be licensed in the state of California. If they are not, then you need to know that the State of California Board of Behavioral Sciences is not looking over these individuals. As long as the treatment provider is “licensed” by the state of California, then you as a consumer are ensured that the therapist you see meets the rigid and unique criteria that the California State Licensing Board demands.

Other state’s licensers are not necessarily recognized in the State of California because of increased requirements for mental health providers who practice in California.

If you have any concerns about licensing information you can contact the BBS (Board of Behavioral Sciences) at: 400 R Street, Suite 3150, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 445 – 4933.