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LLU Behavioral Medicine Center eating disorder program - adult FAQs

Adult eating disorders
Frequently asked questions

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: What causes eating disorders?
A: Research has not revealed a specific cause of eating disorders; however, there are certain personality characteristics, genetic dispositions, environments, and biochemistry common to many sufferers.

Q: What are the warning signs of bulimia?
A: Common warning signs of individuals suffering from bulimia include: binge eating without being able to voluntarily stop, frequent use of the rest room after meals, dealing with stress by overeating, menstrual irregularities, swollen glands, frequent fluctuation in weight, obsessively concerned with weight, shame or guilt about eating, feeling out of control, excessive exercise, isolate eating, and/or experiencing depressive moods.

Q: What are the warning signs of anorexia?
A: With society's push for being fit and wide acceptance of frequent dieting, it is often difficult to determine if an individual is anorexic. There are, however, certain warning signs to watch for which include: a thin individual constantly trying to get thinner, a distorted body image, being preoccupied with food, calories, nutrition, or cooking, exercising obsessively, significant weight loss resulting from excessive dieting and exercise, feeling bloated or nauseated when consuming a normal amount of food, frequently weighing themselves, thinning or loss of hair, and/or feeling cold when the temperature is normal.

Q: What are the recovery rates for those with disorders?
A: An estimated 50 percent of individuals with anorexia or bulimia have a full recovery, 30 percent have a partial recovery, and 20 percent have no substantial improvement in symptoms.

Q: Will you make me eat?
A: The program consists of two meals and a snack. Although one of the program goals is to develop healthy eating habits, food is not forced. Our program creates a safe haven where patients are supported during mealtime.

Q: What does this program consist of?
A: The eating disorder program at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center (LLUBMC) uses a partial hospitalization model where patients come for treatment daily. The eating disorder program has a multidisciplinary team composed of a licensed therapist, psychiatrist, nursing staff, registered dietician, addiction specialist, and occupational and art therapy.

Q: Who would benefit from this program?
A: Any male or female 18 years or older who is suffering from anorexia or bulimia would benefit from this program.

Q: What can I expect from this program?
A: You will be assisted with developing a healthy relationship with food, learning positive ways to deal with life's challenges, and finding greater fulfillment in your personal relationships.

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.