How do I know if I have an eating disorder?
Almost everyone in our culture worries about weight, food intake and body image. However, not everyone is eating disordered. Here are signs of whether a real problem is in the making:
- You have recently lost or gained a significant amount of weight
- Worrying about what you will eat or what you weigh interferes with your life — for example, you skip meals, don’t go to parties, cancel plans or stay in because you are afraid of what you will eat.
- You can’t stop a food-related behavior (bingeing, purging, starving) even though you have tried — or even though others are worried about you.
- Thinking about food and weight is beginning to determine how you feel about yourself more than anything else.
- You can’t stop thinking about what you will—or will not—eat.
How long does treatment take?
Unfortunately with the treatment of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating, there is no way of knowing how long it will take for someone to resume and maintain healthy eating patterns. The longer someone has been entrenched in certain rituals of starving, purging or bingeing, the longer it will take to recover. However some change should be apparent in the first month or two of treatment (sometimes even within the first couple of weeks) or the therapy needs to be re-evaluated.
If my teenage son/daughter sees you for therapy, will I be able to be in touch with you?
Parents always should have a way of being in contact with the therapist if their son or daughter is underage–or if they are financing the treatment. In some cases, parents will be encouraged to take a direction that involves active intervention, such as re-feeding their anorexic child. In other cases, parents will be encouraged to help the team set limits regarding the eating behaviors. Regardless, parents will be included in the treatment process so that they have support and know how to best proceed. Dr. Brisman will want to balance parental support with an appreciation of the privacy that may be needed for a child, teen or young adult to best make use of the treatment process.
Do you take insurance?
Dr. Brisman is not on any insurance panel, though she will be covered if your insurance carrier allows for out of network benefits for psychotherapy. Please check with your insurance company for details regarding your particular plan.
Will I need to take medication to get better?
We have seen many people completely stop anorexic, bulimic and bingeing behaviors by exploring the reasons behind problematic eating and developing alternative means of taking care of one’s self. However, sometimes medication really can be of help and will be recommended to ease the effects of depression or compulsivity that can be associated with bingeing or starving behaviors. Medication, in and of itself, won’t stop an eating disorder. But, as a colleague once said “Taking medication is like running through Central Park in sneakers instead of stiletto heels. You still have to put in the work, but it certainly makes the process easier.”