Eating disorders are complex health problems that include both medical and psychological issues. The two most common types of eating disorders (ED) are Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN).
People who suffer from anorexia often have a distorted body image and feel they are overweight when they are really normal or even underweight. They will often have a very restrictive diet, trying to eat as little as possible. They can also exercise excessively in order to burn calories.
People with bulimia have episodes consisting of bingeing (eating large quantities of food in a sitting) followed by purging (usually by vomiting). They may be normal weight or overweight.
Many people find that they may have some features of both of the diseases described above, or that they have some disordered eating patterns but do not necessarily fit either of the categories above.
What is concerning about any kind of disordered eating is an unhealthy preoccupation with food, to the extent that it can interfere with relationships, social activities, schoolwork, sleep, and overall emotional well-being.
At SHS we have several providers who are especially interested in helping patients who think they may have an eating disorder. Drs. Leslie Thompson, Vanessa Stoloff, and Amanda Swain see patients in Primary Care and you can make an appointment by calling our main number at 215.746.3535 or by clicking on "Schedule an Appointment" in the main menu to schedule on-line. You should schedule a 30-minute complete physical exam. These appointments will include reviewing medical history, doing a physical exam, and possibly arranging for lab work or other studies needed.
In addition to seeing a physician at SHS, patients who have eating concerns are also recommended to make an appointment with a counselor at the Counseling and Psychological Services ( www.vpul.upenn.edu/caps/ ), and to make an appointment to see a nutritionist (more information under Nutrition on the menu above).
Check out more information at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org