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Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a group of conditions involving an unhealthy relationship with food and weight. They can lead to serious problems with your health, relationships and work or school life.

Eating disorders affect both men and women of all ages, but they develop most often in young women. Common eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa. This disorder involves self-starvation and extreme thinness, often associated with excessive exercise and occasionally purging behaviors. People with anorexia have a strong fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image, meaning that they often see themselves as bigger than they actually are. Women with the condition may stop menstruating. Anorexia nervosa can lead to complications such as bone loss, heart disease and multi-organ failure.
  • Bulimia nervosa. This is a condition involving a pattern of binging (eating large amounts of food in a short time) and purging (ridding your body of food through intentional vomiting, abuse of laxatives or other means). People with this condition often maintain a normal weight, but they are focused on body image and extremely fearful of weight gain. Bulimia nervosa can cause problems such as tooth erosion, digestive disorders and kidney and heart damage, if left untreated.
  • Binge Eating Disorder. This condition involves recurrent episodes of eating larger than normal amounts of food without purging.   It is accompanied by a sense of a lack of control and often shame, embarrassment and guilt.
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. This condition includes avoidance or restriction of food such that normal growth does not occur.  It can be on the basis of sensory characteristics of food or following an aversive experience such as choking. While it often occurs in children, it may persist into adulthood

The exact causes of eating disorders are unknown. Genetic, emotional and social factors all appear to play a role.

Treatment is available for eating disorders. Our goal is to help you recover from physical problems and change unhealthy eating behaviors while also addressing the emotional aspects of your condition.

Indiana University Health offers the region’s most comprehensive outpatient and inpatient services for eating disorders, and we manage cases that are severe or complex. Our team includes experts in psychiatry, psychology, internal medicine, adolescent medicine, nursing, pediatrics, social work and nutrition.

Each case is different, and you may need a combination of medical care, nutritional counseling and therapy to address all aspects of the condition. Our experts work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs and preferences.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Eating Disorders Treatment Information

We provide several levels of care, including age specific groups, intensive outpatient and partial hospital programs. Treatment options include:

Eating Disorders Locations & Physicians

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Find a Specialist

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Eating Disorders Support Services

Learn more about eating disorders at these websites: