Symptoms of Anorexia and Bulimia

Mandel Center of Arizona pic
Mandel Center of Arizona
Image: mandelcenter.com

Alyssa Mandel has owned and operated the Mandel Center of Arizona in Scottsdale for more than 12 years. In that time, Alyssa Mandel has treated many patients with such eating disorders as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Although they may present very differently, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa both involve unhealthy and maladaptive behaviors regarding food. Both are approximately 10 times more common in women than in men, and both typically feature increasing worry about weight.

In patients with anorexia, this worry manifests as fastidiously restricted eating. Individuals with this disorder continuously reduce their food intake in an effort to lose weight, even if they have reached a dangerously low weight considering height and age. Preoccupation with weight may also present in the patient with anorexia as fastidious exercise, frequent weight-checking, and hiding the body with loose-fitting clothing.

Patients with bulimia, by contrast, respond to their emotional and mental distress by binge eating. They acquire and consume large quantities of food and eat much more than a normal meal’s worth, most often secretively. The individual with bulimia often feels that he or she cannot control this binge eating, despite the physical discomfort and feelings of shame and depression that follow.

A person with bulimia will typically seek to resolve this discomfort by ridding himself or herself of the vast quantities of food eaten, either by vomiting or through use of a laxative. This process of binging and purging becomes cyclical and compulsive, despite its unpleasant effects on body and mind.

Advertisements

Dialectical Behavior Therapy – An Introduction

Dialectical behavior therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy

 

Alyssa Mandel serves as CEO and director of the Mandel Center of Arizona, where she develops individualized psychotherapeutic treatment plans to meet each client’s unique needs. Alyssa Mandel draws on elements of various methodologies, including dialectical behavior therapy.

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, uses mindfulness techniques and related skill sets to help clients cope with intense emotions. The therapy arose as an intervention for borderline personality disorder, which often causes extreme and quick emotional changes. Because individuals with this disorder have not yet developed the skills necessary to respond adaptively to such changes, they are often inclined to react in charged and possibly inappropriate ways.

DBT helps individuals both with and without borderline personality disorder to de-escalate heightened emotions and respond with more adaptive pro-social behaviors. Using individual therapy, group training, and phone coaching, each client learns and practices actionable skills that strengthen his or her social-emotional competence. By the time a client has completed the course of therapy, his or her skills span the categories of mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation.

Warning Signs of Anorexia

Mandel Center of Arizona pic
Mandel Center of Arizona
Image: mandelcenter.com

Alyssa Mandel is a master of social work graduate of Columbia University and the founder of the Mandel Center of Arizona in Scottsdale. In her practice, Alyssa Mandel collaborates with psychiatrists, social workers, and nutritionists, to provide the highest level of comprehensive care for clients.

Individuals with anorexia often are adept at hiding their eating habits. With that in mind, here are some warning signs to watch for if you believe someone close to you may have the disease.

Early warning signs typically manifest themselves as an unhealthy preoccupation with food intake and/or obsessive dieting. This preoccupation with food and its relationship to body image will eventually morph into disordered eating patterns. Consistently skipping meals, denying hunger after long periods of not eating, obsession with body image, and making excuses for lack of eating are all early warning signs.

In the more advanced stages, individuals typically tend to push themselves to excessive and unhealthy levels of exercise and weight themselves constantly. Obsessively checking the mirror and complaining about weight are other signs that tend to manifest themselves, as well as decreased and/or flat moods, displaying a lack of emotional response to the world around them.

Left untreated, anorexia can be a life-threatening condition, even if the individual is not dramatically underweight. The behavior can bring about abnormal heart function and electrolyte imbalances that can eventually cause significant heart complications.