Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

by Arista Dechant, LMHC

Posted : September 20, 2019 | nwfamilypsychology


 

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are two primary eating disorders (ED) that can lead to fatal outcomes. 4 females out of every 100 experience an ED in the United States, which typically affects females between the ages of 13-25. Parents need to be informed that the typical symptoms of ED involve restrictive food intake, binge eating, and psychological symptoms, such as guilt and shame that often centers on eating, as well as weight and shape of their body.
Signs of bulimia typically involve:
  • Eating abnormally large quantities of food in a very short period of time,
  • Lack of control following the binge, often resulting in
  • self-induced vomiting,
  • laxative abuse, and/or
  • excessive exercise
Signs of anorexia involve:
  • An intense fear of gaining weight characterized by
  • severe restriction or binging/purging of food – resulting in low body weight,
  • distorted perception of body shape
  • fear of gaining weight
Family Therapy Eating Disorder
Ms. Dechant has treated both youth and adults experiencing complex mood and behavioral challenges, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, and personality disorders.
In order to receive a diagnosis of ED, each individual needs both a physical evaluation and a psychological evaluation. A full family history is taken, including trauma history. Lab tests are often conducted and eating habits are documented. Further, psychological tests can be helpful to determine the specific diagnosis and covarying conditions, and the best treatments to consider.
Once an ED diagnosis is concluded, a treatment plan is developed which identifies the goals, objectives, and interventions for recovery. Sometimes an individual may be asked to enter a hospital specializing in ED treatment either full time or half time. Outpatient psychotherapy and medication management may also be a large part of treatment, as well as post-hospital recovery.
It is important to know that individuals who suffer from ED experience tremendous amounts of guilt and shame surrounding their disorder, and are unlikely to disclose this information to others. If your family member or friend shows any of the signs of an ED, it may be wise to get them help as soon as possible – either through their pediatrician/primary care physician or making an intake appointment with a
counselor skilled in treating ED. Ari is passionate and committed in working with individuals that may suffer from ED and is accepting referrals at both our Silverdale and Port Townsend offices.
Arista Dechant, LMHC, was born and raised in Kansas, where she attended Fort Hays State University. She graduated in 2011 with a master’s degree (MA) in counseling and became a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) soon thereafter.
Ms. Dechant has treated both youth and adults experiencing complex mood and behavioral challenges, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, and personality disorders. In addition, she has received forensic training at the Center of Counseling and Consultation. In this capacity, Ms. Dechant receiving training in administering psychological evaluations, working on parenting and custody evaluations, as well as competency evaluations for Barton County Superior Court.
Following this experience, Ms. Dechant relocated to Washington in 2014, at which time she became a Child Mental Health Professional. Since this time, she has worked as a court mandated psychotherapist for Peninsula Behavioral Healthcare and the Juvenile Justice Authority. In 2016, Ms. Dechant transitioned to Discovery Behavioral Healthcare, where she received additional training with intake assessments and became the assistant clinical director of that agency.
Ms. Dechant has now joined NW Family Psychology full time and is currently working on obtaining her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She will graduate with a specialty in clinical forensic psychology in the near future. Ms. Dechant is currently offering both psychological testing and counseling. She is available in both the Silverdale and Port Townsend offices.