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What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder—include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.

What are some signs of Eating Disorders?

  • Excessive Concern about weight and body shape
  • Unexpected Weight Loss
  • Disappearing to the bathroom after meals
  • Secretive eating or discovery that food is missing
  • Loss of menstrual cycles
  • Evidence of laxative abuse
  • Skipping meals
  • Avoiding eating in front of others

What kind of medical complications can happen as a result of anorexia or bulimia?

  • Menstrual irregularities or loss of periods which can result in infertility
  • Weakening of the heart and other organs due to malnourishment
  • Dehydration and possible impaired kidney functions
  • Lowered resistance to infection
  • Dehydration-altered brain function and size
  • Dizziness, weakness or fainting
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Sleep disturbance and fatigue
  • Severe dental problems including loss of teeth and bone
  • Death

What is the assessment process for eating disorder treatment at Sanford?

For an assessment at the Eating Disorder and Weight Management Center outpatient clinic please contact 701-234-4111 to discuss setting up an intake appointment with a Care Coordinator. An evaluation with the psychologist, registered dietician and medical provider are scheduled for each patient. For admission to Inpatient or the Partial Hospitalization Program please call 701-461-5300 and ask to speak to the Program Coordinator. Although each patient has specialized needs, the goal of treatment is the same: To help people regain control of their lives and overcome the potentially life-threatening consequences of eating disorders. Programs are open to both men and women and family involvement is strongly encouraged every step of the way.

Will my insurance cover treatment?

Most insurance carriers cover the costs of inpatient, partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment for eating disorders. Medical assistance also covers these expenses. Sanford cannot guarantee that your insurance will cover the cost of treatment. We will contact your insurance for prior authorization if required however this does not guarantee payment by your insurance company. Please keep in contact with your insurance company throughout the course of treatment. We also have Financial Assistance available for those who qualify.

How do you help someone you suspect might have an eating disorder?

  • Learn as much as you can about eating disorders. Read books, articles, and brochures.
  • Know the differences between facts and myths about weight, nutrition, and exercise. Knowing the facts will help you reason against any inaccurate ideas that your friend may be using as excuses to maintain their disordered eating patterns.
  • Be Honest. Talk openly and honestly about your concerns with the person who is struggling with eating or body image problems. Use “I” statements and let your friend/family member know you are concerned. For example, “I am worried because you haven’t eaten lunch this week.” Avoiding it or ignoring it won’t help!
  • Be caring, but be firm. Caring about your friend does not mean being manipulated by them. Your friend must be responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions. Avoid making rules, promises or expectations that you cannot or will not uphold. For example, “I promise not to tell anyone” or “If you do this one more time I’ll never talk to you again.”
  • Compliment your friend’s wonderful personality, successes or accomplishments. Remind your friend that “true beauty” is not simply skin deep.

For more information about Eating disorders click here.

Posted Date: August 2014