Genesis Counseling Center
Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia

Eating disorders affect approximately 6 million individuals in America. Unlike dieting, eating disorders are strongly associated with unusual eating behaviors to prevent weight gain. It is also characterized by never being satisfied with the weight loss, even if the individual loses a large amount of weight. Eating disorders primarily affect younger women, but they have been known to exist in other groups such as men, older women, minorities, and people of different income levels. The medical field acknowledges two distinct categories of eating disorders, which include anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

The following are categories of eating disorders:

The cause of eating disorders is currently unknown.  Scientists speculate that it is a combination of genetics and environmental influences. Regardless of the cause, eating disorder illnesses can be extremely deadly if not treated properly. Some effective forms of treatment are CognitiveBehavioral Therapy and Cognitive Therapy, amongst other models of therapy. Depending on the severity of the disorder individuals may be referred to either an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility.  For outpatient treatment, Genesis Counseling Center can offer these effective forms of treatments as well as nutritional classes to help fight the disorder. Genesis can also help you locate an inpatient facility for treatment to meet you or your loved ones needs.

Please contact Genesis Counseling Center for more assistance with this disorder.

Eating Disorders and Teens
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“In America, 1 or 2 out of every 100 students will struggle with an eating disorder”

Eating Disorders ~ What are they?
Eating disorders are continuing to rise in adolescents.  Eating disorders are psychological disorders brought about by unresolved problems and/or traumatic events in life.  The disorder involves development and habitual maintenance of the unhealthy eating habit.  In addition to keeping the eating habit, body image overconcern and/or distortion is at the core of eating disorders. 

Two Types
Anorexia Nervosa
This type presents a real fear of weight gain and a distorted view of their body size and shape which causes restriction of food, extreme dieting, and/or excessive exercise.  If the teen eats at all, she obsesses over the small amount of food consumed.

Bulimia Nervosa

Similar to Anorexia, this type presents with eating or binging, then purging to prevent weight gain.  Purging consists of forced vomiting, using laxatives, and/or exercising excessively.  This cycle occurs at least twice a week over months.

Signs of Eating Disorders

Consequences of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders often occur with other problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use.  Eating disorders can lead to malnutrition and DEATH!

Physical Effects of Eating Disorders

Don’t Wait! Get Her the Help She Needs
Unhealthy eating patterns become harder to break the longer they continue.  Of the 10% of American females with an eating disorder, it is estimated that more than 50% will die from their disease. 

Help her by taking these steps:

  1. Recognize the signs & address the problem as soon as possible.
  2. Ask the teen if she has an eating problem.
  3. Prepare yourself for possible responses of anger, sadness, denial, minimizing, or hostility.
  4. Be compassionate and focus the talk on her behavior rather than her appearance.
  5. Call a medical and mental health provider.  This condition requires more than a onetime talk or parenting.
  6. It takes time to unlearn unhealthy eating behaviors, reassure the teen by letting the teen know she is NOT alone in the struggle to overcome an eating disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder
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by Shelby DeBause, MA, LMFT, Senior Clinician at Genesis-Hampton

Have you ever stood alone in the kitchen, mindlessly gorging yourself with whatever you can find in the cabinets and fridge? Or maybe you hit the drive-through at a local fast food chain and order enough for two people, then eat it in your car where no one you know can see you? Do you feel out-of-control sometimes with food? Have you experienced the guilt, shame, and regret that often follow? If you find yourself doing these or other similar things in your relationship with food, you may have Binge Eating Disorder (BED).

A person typically meets the criteria for Binge Eating Disorder when they are repeating the type of behaviors mentioned above at least one time per week. The danger of BED can include weight gain, gastro-intestinal issues, and loss of physical cues indicating fullness. Psychologically, BED can lead to depression and anxiety as a person unsuccessfully attempts to control their behavior with food, or believes food will help improve their pre-existing low mood state. Self-esteem often is decreased and issues can develop with body image.

Learning what factors may predispose you to BED and addressing underlying psychological issues, as well as learning to avoid triggers, is often very successful in helping individuals in their recovery from BED. Counseling can be a very effective resource for treating and overcoming BED. Genesis Counseling Center has several counselors who are able and eager to help.


Genesis Counseling Center
(757) 827-7707 Hampton/Chesapeake
(757) 364-3100 Williamsburg

National Eating Disorders Hotline

National Crisis Hotline

Researched and written by Lakeisha Jones