Table of Contents
What is Anorexia?
Often fueled by an intense fear of weight gain and a distorted self-image, anorexia is characterized by precise and extreme levels of food control, restriction, and exercise. It is a potentially life-threatening disease that affects both the mind and body. Despite common misconceptions, anorexia nervosa is not just thinness and under eating. Instead, it is a complex disorder affecting both mental and physical health, creating a harmful cycle of detrimental behaviors that can lead to devastating consequences.
If you think you or a loved one may have anorexia, contact Eating Disorder Solutions to learn more about treatment options. Our eating disorder specialists are available at 855-808-4213.
- Anorexia has the highest fatality rate of any mental illness.
- It is estimated that 4% of anorexic individuals die from complications of the disease.
- Only one third of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa in the United States obtain treatment.
- 50-80% of the risk for anorexia is genetic.
- The median age for onset of anorexia is 18 years old.
- People with anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than people without an eating disorder.
Request a Call
Request a free consultation from an Eating Disorder Coordinator.
Recognizing Anorexia Symptoms
As with any form of disordered eating, recognizing the signs and symptoms of anorexia can help prevent lifelong health issues. Though many have a mental image of what someone with anorexia looks like, this stereotype is often far from accurate. In reality, anorexia affects people of all shapes, sizes, identities, and cultural backgrounds. Being able to recognize the signs of anorexia before it progresses to the point of emaciation is key to preventing lasting damage.
Anorexia symptoms typically fall into one of two categories: physical and behavioral. Behavioral signs of anorexia are often the first indicators before physical anorexia symptoms become apparent. While this is not a complete and comprehensive list, if you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following anorexia signs or symptoms, contact Eating Disorder Solutions today for an evaluation.
Early intervention is critical at the first sign of anorexia. If left untreated, the disorder can lead to irreversible damage to bones, organs, and potentially death from starvation or suicide. The sooner anorexia is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.
Physical Anorexia Symptoms
- Abnormal blood count: an estimated one-third of anorexic patients have mild anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Acrocyanosis: bluish or purple coloring of the hands and feet. The blue color comes from the decrease in blood flow and oxygen moving through the narrowed vessels to extremities
- Bloating, abdominal pain and constipation
- Bluish fingers and brittle nails
- Bradycardia: Irregular heart rate
- Cuts and calluses across the top of finger joints (a result of inducing vomiting)
- Decreased libido in adults
- Dehydration: due purging or starving, the body is deprived of nutrients
- Dental problems, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity
- Dry skin, brittle nails, and hair thinning/loss
- Edema: swollen arms and legs
- Fainting spells
- Feeling cold all of the time: low body temperature
- Loss of bone calcium (Osteoporosis)
- Low blood pressure: cardiac complications are arguably one of the most severe medical issues stemming from anorexia
- Low body temperature
- Low body weight
- Menstrual irregularities—amenorrhea, irregular periods or only having a period while on hormonal contraceptives (this is not considered a “true” period)
- Osteoporosis: loss of bone calcium
- Poor circulation in hands and feet
- Poor sleep and insomnia
- Poor wound healing and frequent illness
- Refusal or inability to maintain a normal body weight: a BMI ranging from below 15-16 is considered severely underweight.
- Starvation induced elevated liver enzymes: inflammation of the liver as it’s being overworked
Behavioral Signs of Anorexia
- Adopting eating rituals, such as weighing food and spitting it out after chewing
- Avoiding eating in public and/or making excuses for not eating
- Being unable to realistically assess body weight and shape (having a distorted self-image)
- Changes in eating habits or routines, such as eating foods in a certain order or rearranging foods on a plate
- Compulsive exercise after eating to try and counter consumed calories
- Cooking meals for others without eating
- Cutting food into small pieces or eating very slowly to disguise how little is being eaten
- Denying feeling hungry
- Experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Expressing a need to “burn off” calories taken in
- Feeling a strong desire to be in control
- Frequently measuring or weighing
- Going to the bathroom right after eating
- Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat,” even though underweight
- Not admitting weight loss is serious
- Obsessive calorie counting or bite counting
- Only eating foods considered “safe”: refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to restrictions against whole categories of food (e.g., no carbohydrates, no dairy, fats, etc.)
- Repeatedly looking for “flaws” in the mirror
- Skipping meals and strict ‘fasting’ rituals (only eating at certain times to avoid weight gain)
- Social withdrawal: Avoiding friends and losing interest in regular activities
- Taking medicine to reduce hunger (appetite suppressants), such as slimming or diet pills
- Wearing layers or baggy clothes to hide perceived flaws
Anorexia Treatment in Texas
Anorexia treatment in Texas at Eating Disorder Solutions begins with a full health assessment and mental health evaluation to help our team identify your needs to develop your individualized treatment regimen. During the admissions process, you will meet with our staff physician, psychiatrist, and other knowledgeable eating disorder specialists who will walk you through everything you need to know about your next steps and what to expect during the anorexia treatment process.
With Eating Disorders Solutions, you can rest assured you will receive the highest quality eating disorder treatment from a team of compassionate clinicians who are truly invested in your success. No matter what your level of care, we are fully prepared to provide the support and guidance you need for healing and growth.
Residential treatment is the highest level of care offered at Eating Disorder Solutions. Our anorexia treatment center offers a quiet, peaceful, recovery-focused space for addressing the root causes of disordered eating and other harmful habits to help you build toward a healthier future.
Because of the complex interplay between the physical and mental symptoms of starvation, the first steps to recovery for people with malnutrition are to eat more and to gain weight, a process called refeeding or renourishment, before working on the behavioral and cognitive aspects of the disease. During residential treatment for anorexia, our clients receive three peer supported, supervised meals and snacks per day as planned by our staff nutritionist and dietitian. Between meals clients participate in processing groups and individual therapy sessions to begin addressing underlying traumas and co-occurring mental health conditions. Our weekly experiential therapy groups include trips to local restaurants, grocery stores, and other fun outings to challenge disordered thinking and enrich the recovery process.
Partial Hospitalization for Anorexia
As part of our full continuum of care, our partial hospitalization program helps support early recovery during the transition between residential and outpatient care, helping our clients stay on the path of recovery and achieve their goals.
Eating Disorder Solutions’ partial hospitalization program keeps the focus on daily anorexia treatment while allowing clients to return home or to our transitional housing at the end of each day. At this stage of care, clients receive three supervised meals and two snacks during the course of treatment and continue to participate in group and individual therapy. Clients are responsible for a final snack each night and weekend meals to begin practicing new life skills in real world scenarios.
Similar to our partial hospitalization program, our intensive outpatient program helps to maintain long-term recovery through peer support, group and individual therapy sessions, and other resources to keep clients on the right path. Treatment is three to five days a week depending on specific continued care needs. At this level of care, our primary focus is sustaining the positive lifestyle and behavioral changes while also providing a safe space for processing challenges as they arise.
Eating Disorder Solutions’ outpatient treatment center is conveniently located near downtown Dallas, TX and accessible by car, bus, or train. We offer flexible scheduling options to allow you to get the help you need while working, going to school, or tending to other obligations. Additionally, as a member of the EDS recovery community, our clients and alumni gain access to support resources such as our active online alumni community, so you know help is there whenever you need it.
Anorexia Health Risks If Left Unchecked:
- Cardiovascular and gastrointestinal damage
- Kidney damage
- Diminished bone density and osteoporosis
- Brain damage and neurological issues
- Muscular atrophy, including those in the heart
- Increased risk of heart attack or stroke
Start anorexia treatment in Texas today
Seeking anorexia treatment is one of the bravest decisions any person can make. While being vulnerable enough to admit you need help can be overwhelming and scary, you don’t have to do it alone. Eating Disorder Solutions provides safe, effective treatment for anorexia and other eating disorders so you can reclaim control over your life and future.
Our compassionate team of expert physicians, clinicians, dietitians, and recovery coaches are well-versed in addressing anorexia and its symptoms as well as addressing the underlying causes for genuine healing. We take pride in our person-first approach to care which assures you never feel like just another number. As part of our recovery family, you have our full support every step of the way.
If you’re ready to begin your recovery journey with an experienced team that truly cares about your success, contact Eating Disorder Solutions today. For more information on anorexia treatment, please call 855-808-4213.