Q: What is an eating disorder?
A: The first thing to understand about eating disorders is that it is not about food. Food behavior serves as a maladaptive coping mechanism for the pressure, stress, or conflict in one's life. An eating disorder is an illness that involves physiological changes associated with restricting food, binge eating, purging, or fluctuations in weight. Furthermore, individuals with this illness have a distorted perception of his or her body.
Q: My child is afraid of gaining weight and getting fat. I've noticed that she hardly touches anything on her plate. Mealtime has become a battlefield for the whole family. Does my child have an eating disorder?
A: Fear of gaining weight, fear of getting fat, and difficulty finishing healthy meals are often signs that an eating disorder is developing. In addition, family mealtime tends to be tense and is often avoided and met with resistance.
Q: My daughter has been exercising and using diet pills so she can lose weight and maintain what she views is an ideal body size. I recently learned she has been taking laxatives and diuretics in addition to exercising excessively. I'm really afraid that she may have an eating disorder. What should I do?
A: Your child is displaying significant eating disorder behaviors of anorexia which is the fear of gaining weight and the fear of what food can do to one's body. Your daughter should receive a complete medical examination by her physician. Upon examination, discuss your concerns regarding your daughter's eating behaviors with the physician and consider seeing a therapist with experience in eating disorders.
Q: I'm worried that my child may have bulimia. My son seems to eat large amounts of food for periods at a time. I've noticed that he feels guilty afterwards and that he is vomiting after eating. How do I talk with my child about my concerns and what can I do to get help?
A: Your son is experiencing the bulimic cycle of bingeing and purging along with the guilt that accompanies this eating disorder. The best way to talk with him about this is with love and understanding. Once you talk with your child, follow-up with his physician for a complete medical examination.
Q: What does this program consist of?
A: The eating disorder program at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center (LLUBMC) includes two levels of care--the partial hospitalization treatment model and the intensive outpatient treatment model. The partial hospitalization model provides treatment for individuals daily. The intensive outpatient treatment model is designed for patients who need a lower level of care as they are able to still function in school and family life while struggling with their eating disorder. Individuals in this level of care attend three days a week.
Q: Who would benefit from this treatment?
A: An individual between the ages of 12 to 18 who is suffering from anorexia or bulimia would benefit from this program.
Q: What role do parents have in the treatment of their child's eating disorder?
A: Parents are an integral part of the recovery process and therefore have a required involvement in their child's treatment. This is accomplished by participating in the program's family-centered treatment groups.
Q: What is the goal of treatment?
A:The treatment goal is to place the patient on the road to recovery by increasing self-value and self-esteem as well as building effective life skills such as problem solving and coping. The goal also includes parental and family support building, eating disorder education, and awareness skills to help overcome the disease.
Q: How will I pay for this program?
A: Most insurance plans cover the treatment of eating disorders. Some of our providers include, but not limited to Blue Cross, Kaiser, Pacific Care, Behavioral Health, Managed Health Network, and many more. Check with your insurance provider for a complete understanding of your benefits. LLUBMC's staff will assist you in understanding your coverage for the treatment of eating disorders. Arrangements can also be made for cash based treatment.