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Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder or Not?

09/16/2011

Question:

I normally have a small appetite and eat very little. Whenever I feel stressed, overwhelmed, angry, sad, etc. I stop eating completely. I will go for days without eating anything at all without realizing I am doing it. If I do realize I am not eating it is usually because someone has pointed it out to me or I have lost weight (I am 5`1" and just under 100 lbs as it is). During those times, the sight or smell of food makes me nauseous and trying to force even a bit or two makes me vomit. I am 49 years old and have done this most of my life.

Answer:

You describe many symptoms and tendencies that meet criteria for an eating disorder.  It would be strongly recommended that you seek a specialized eating disorder assessment in the community near you.  The National Eating Disorder Association has  a referral listing for your state and area, and http://www.edreferral.com/ is also a common eating disorder source for referrals. 

If you had a swollen ankle and it was not getting better, you would probably have it checked out; this note is to encourage you to do the same to discuss your symptoms around your eating, feelings, and thoughts about eating. 

If you live in central Ohio, The Center for Balanced Living is the specialized eating disorder nonprofit clinic that provides assessments, education, support groups, and treatment for those 16 and above. OSU does not provide specialized ED treatment or assessments. Nationwide Children's Hospital provides outpatient specialized eating disorder assessments and treatment for those under 19 years old.

For more information:

Go to the Eating Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Laura  L Hill, PhD Laura L Hill, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University