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Eating Disorders

What is an eating disorder?

Experts classify eating disorders as an unhealthy relationship with food, including eating too much or not eating enough. In addition to affecting eating habits, eating disorders may also present themselves as a fixation with physical appearance and weight. These disorders take a toll on the entire body, and they have effects on both mental and physical health. Though these conditions are very serious, they are also treatable — especially with the help of Lee Health's adolescent medicine experts.

Undergoing treatment for an eating disorder can be a difficult journey, but our patients are never alone on their road to recovery. Our specialists will work with you every step of the way. Together, we are caring people, inspiring health.

Signs of an eating disorder

Eating disorders may present themselves in different ways for different people. Adolescents may not realize what they struggle with is an eating disorder, so be sure to recognize signs or contact a doctor with any concerns.

The signs of an eating disorder may range from physical appearance to behavior. Some signs include:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Lack of energy
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Denial of having an eating disorder
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Binge-eating
  • Denial of hunger

Types of eating disorders

There are many different types of eating disorders, and oftentimes people struggle with more than one. Eating disorders are complex illnesses, but they can be broken down into three of the most common conditions:

  • Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by abnormally low body weight, the restriction of food and caloric intake and an intense fear of gaining weight. People who suffer from anorexia may take extreme measures to lose weight such as not eating, restricting food, vomiting, and misusing laxatives or diet aids.
  • Bulimia Nervosa causes a person to have episodes of bingeing and purging. Someone suffering from bulimia may eat a large amount of food, or believe that they ate a large amount of food, leading them to purge or expel the food in a dangerous way – such as vomiting, misusing laxatives or excessively exercising. 
  • Binge-Eating Disorder is when someone feels a loss of control of their eating. They may eat quickly or more food than they had intended. When suffering from binge-eating disorder, the person will not purge the calories that they have eaten, but instead may feel extreme shame, guilt or depression after bingeing. 

Visit our Adolescent Medicine Physicians

How we can help

Patients with eating disorders face personal, unique challenges. Our experts provide comprehensive, individualized care to make sure patients get the treatment that works for them. Eating disorder treatment includes many different components such as therapy, nutritional counseling and medication.

Eating disorders can feel overwhelming, but adolescent medicine experts take the extra time to understand root causes and mental health issues. Their compassion and training gives patients a better chance of living a happy and successful life.

Related Services

  • Behavioral Health

    Mental health experts will help you with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and teach you how to take control and feel valuable.

  • Pediatric Behavioral Health

    Compassionate and sensitive care for emotional, cognitive, and behavioral conditions for ages 2-18.

  • Eating Disorders