Anorexia Nervosa is a Life-Threatening Disorder Requiring Treatment

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

A member of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, Alyssa Mandel, LCSW, CEDS, leads The Mandel Center of Arizona. There, Alyssa Mandel treats individuals with eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.

Anorexia nervosa affects 1 percent of the US population, or 1 out of every 100 persons. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by an obsession with weight and body image. The majority of persons with anorexia are females between the ages of 10 and 20, but men are also affected. Anorexia can be a fatal disease.

Persons with anorexia may refuse to consume a sufficient calorie intake, may exercise continuously to keep a lower body weight, and may refuse to acknowledge the problem or its serious consequences. Risk factors for anorexia include an obsession with body image and appearance, anxiety disorders in childhood, and the harboring of a negative self-image. Anorexia is not limited to the teen years and can occur at any time during one’s life. Treatment should be pursued if anorexia is suspected.

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Becoming Certified For Eating Disorders Treatment Through the IAEDP

International Association of Eating Disorders Professional pic
International Association of Eating Disorders Professional
Image: iaedp.com

The director of The Mandel Center of Arizona since 2003, Alyssa Mandel is a licensed social worker with more than 20 years of experience in the field of mental health. Alyssa Mandel serves as president for the Arizona Chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP), through which she maintains certification as an eating disorders specialist.

In addition to offering resources and conferences for professionals who work with people suffering from eating disorders, the IAEDP also provides certification courses through which specialists, registered dietitians, creative arts therapists, and registered nurses can gain expertise and training in the treatment of eating disorders.

Each of the certification exams requires completion of the same four core curriculum courses. These include introduction to eating disorders, treatment modalities for eating disorders, medical aspects of eating disorders, and nutritional aspects of eating disorders.

Through these courses, students receive practical, advanced education necessary for their work with patients with eating disorders, as well as the information required to pass their final certification exam.

Students pursuing certification can complete the core curriculum training either online or by attending the two-day workshop held prior to the IAEDP annual symposium. They must score 70 percent or higher on the multiple-choice exam that concludes each module. Once they have taken the core curriculum courses, students may sit for the certification exam which, when successfully completed, grants a two-year accreditation.

Eating Disorders – Bulimia

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

Alyssa Mandel is the director of the Mandel Center of Arizona, which treats people with eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa. In addition, Alyssa Mandel is a member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals.

Patients with bulimia nervosa often eat great quantities of food within very short amounts of time then engage in purging. That is to say, they use vomiting or other means to prevent themselves from gaining weight. The bingeing and purging behavior often arises from self-esteem problems linked closely to body image. Bulimia is a serious health problem that may result in the loss of life.

If allowed to progress unchecked, bulimia may harm the body by repeatedly exposing the tissues in the mouth and throat to stomach acids. Frequent vomiting may cause tooth decay, swelling, and even esophageal tears. Moreover, purging behavior may lead to electrolyte imbalances that could, in turn, cause dangerous heart arrhythmias.

Patients may benefit from bulimia support groups, talk therapy, and nutritional therapy. Since bulimia may be associated with depression, patients could benefit from antidepressant medication.

Addiction – Alcohol Abuse

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

A provider of therapeutic resources for people in need of mental health support, Alyssa Mandel works as the CEO and director of the Mandel Center of Arizona. In her leadership role, Alyssa Mandel helps clients with a variety of illnesses, including alcohol dependency.

Individuals who have trouble controlling the amount of alcohol they consume or who continue to consume alcohol despite the disruptive problems it causes may have alcohol use disorder. Usually called alcoholism, the disorder is typified by behavior like binge drinking that gives rise to distress and difficulties participating in daily life.

Advanced alcohol use disorder sometimes involves dependency such that the body goes into withdrawal if the patient stops drinking. Heavy alcohol use can harm essential organs like the brain and liver. If consumed during pregnancy, alcohol can interfere with fetal development.

People struggling with alcohol dependency often improve with treatment. However, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, only a small portion, as low as 8.4 percent, of the people who need professional help get it.

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.

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.

Eating Disorder Myths

 

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

Alyssa Mandel holds a master of social work from Columbia University and is the founder of the Mandel Center of Arizona in Scottsdale. In her practice, she works in collaboration with psychiatrists, social workers, and nutritionists, to provide comprehensive treatment to clients. In addition to other issues, Alyssa Mandel is passionate about helping individuals overcome eating disorders.

A good deal of misinformation exists within the public consciousness about the causes and effects of eating disorders. Here are some of the most common myths and the reasons why they aren’t valid.

Myth: Eating disorders are only about food.
Truth: There are always underlying issues beyond food itself that cause a person to have an unhealthy relationship with their eating. Some use food as a means of comfort or escape from pain and trauma in their lives. Others have dysfunctional self-image issues that cause them to either starve themselves (anorexia) or binge and purge (bulimia) in the belief that they must attain a certain physical standard.

Myth: Eating disorders are a choice.
Truth: While some believe that a person can simply stop their unhealthy eating behaviors, the causes of disordered eating are deep-rooted, and sometimes out of a person’s ability to control without intervention via mental treatment and/or hospitalization. By the time a person transitions into a full-blown disorder, they have gotten to the point where the behavior is entrenched as the primary coping mechanism for dealing with intense or unwanted emotions.

Myth: Only women experience eating disorders.
Truth: While the majority of those with eating disorders are female, it is not an exclusive club. Approximately 10 percent of suffers are male. Depending on the type of disorder, those numbers can be higher. For example, when only examining binge eating disorder demographics, the number of males jumps to nearly 40 percent. Current data suggests that adolescent boys are also among those seeing the fastest rise in eating disorders.