Anorexia Treatment in Dallas, TX

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What is Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental illness. It’s associated with one of the highest mortality risks of any psychiatric disorder. 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 nervosa, contact Eating Disorder Solutions to learn more about anorexia treatment options. Our eating disorder specialists are available at 855-808-4213.

Anorexia Statistics

  • 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.
Eating Disorder Solutions Anorexia Treatment

What are the criteria for anorexia?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines anorexia nervosa by three criteria:

The first is a restriction of energy intake that leads to low body weight. The definition of low weight in anorexia nervosa is intentionally vaguely defined, so it allows for clinical judgment. In adults, it’s generally a body mass index of less than 18.5, and in kids and adolescents, it’s generally less than the fifth percentile for their own growth trajectory.

The second key criterion for anorexia nervosa is expression of fear of gaining weight, persistent restrictive eating, engagement in excessive exercising or fasting or engaging in any kind of purging behaviors.

The third criterion is a disturbance in body image, which could show up in a couple of different ways. The first would be seeing oneself as fat, even though one is underweight. The second would be having undue influence of weight and shape in terms of one’s self-worth. And then the third would be really not recognizing how significant or important it is to be at this low weight and how dangerous it could be.

What causes anorexia?

There’s no single factor that causes anorexia nervosa. We think of anorexia nervosa as a biopsychosocial illness. There are large scale genetic studies that show that there are genes at play in anorexia nervosa. In terms of the psychological factors, perfectionism, low self-esteem, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, overemphasis on a thin body ideal can all increase risk for eating disorders. And from a social standpoint, engagement in behaviors or activities that place a heavy emphasis on the importance of being thin can be a factor. Other social factors can include things like exposure to social media, spending a lot of time online, or involvement in groups or other activities where being thin is highly valued.

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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
  • Infertility
  • 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 Near Dallas, 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, dietitian, 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 Anorexia Treatment

Residential eating disorder 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.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Anorexia

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. 

Our outpatient eating disorder treatment center in Dallas is conveniently located 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:

Left unchecked, anorexia nervosa may cause:
  • 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
Malnutrition is a serious medical condition that requires urgent attention. It can occur in anyone engaging in disordered eating behaviors, regardless of weight. Individuals with continued restrictive eating behaviors require a comprehensive eating disorder assessment and immediate intervention. When the body is starved for long enough, it undergoes a complex series of biological, metabolic and hormonal changes to ensure survival. People with severe anorexia can have orthostatic hypotension, heart rates lower than 60 beats per minute, and electrolyte imbalances that may cause arrhythmias or even lead to cardiac arrest. Early intervention helps to address the underlying causes of anorexia, including untreated co-occurring mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, OCD, or personality disorders. This multidisciplinary approach to treatment helps to support the earnest healing and personal growth necessary to overcome disordered eating and other destructive habits.

Get Help and Start Anorexia Treatment 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.

Comprehensive Nutritional Recovery

Learn more about your options for anorexia treatment.

The minute you contact us, you’ll be speaking to someone who genuinely wants to help. Not pushy. Not judgmental. Just safe and accepted. We’ll guide you through your options and help you determine the best course of action.

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Common Questions about Anorexia

Can anorexia be fatal?

Yes. Anorexia is associated with one of the highest mortality risks of any psychiatric disorder. Individuals with anorexia nervosa are five times more likely to die than age-matched controls without anorexia nervosa. In addition, they’re 18 times more likely to die by suicide.

Do people with anorexia not eat at all?

Actually that’s not true. People with anorexia nervosa can have either restricting type or binge eating purging type. For the folks with restricting type, they are predominantly restricting their intake, so that means that they might eat very small amounts throughout the day or they might go for long periods of time without eating or fasting. People with the binge purge type may go from periods of restrictive eating to also engaging in binge eating where they’re eating large amounts of food and feeling really out of control with it, and then also engaging in purging behaviors.

What psychiatric disorders commonly occur with anorexia?

Psychiatric disorders that commonly co-occur with anorexia nervosa include anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and mood disorders like major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, as well as substance use disorders.

Is everyone with anorexia low weight?

Not everyone with anorexia nervosa is low weight. People with a diagnosis of  atypical anorexia nervosa can struggle with symptoms of anorexia nervosa and not be at a low weight. It often goes unrecognized, but many of the symptoms and characteristics, the medical and mental health consequences are just as severe.

Who does anorexia affect?

The myth that anorexia nervosa affects only white affluent females is false. Eating disorders don’t discriminate. This means that anorexia nervosa cuts across sex and gender, race and ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. No one is immune.