Eating Disorders

We provide several levels of care, including age-specific groups, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs

Eating disorders include conditions involving an unhealthy relationship with food, weight and body image.

They affect both men and women of all ages, but they develop most often in young women and can lead to serious health problems.

Our experts provide treatment for eating disorders to help you recover from physical problems and change unhealthy eating behaviors, while also addressing the emotional aspects of your condition.

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

Eating Disorder Types

Common eating disorders include:

Anorexia Nervosa

This disorder involves self-starvation and extreme thinness, often associated with excessive exercise and occasional purging behaviors.

People with anorexia have a strong fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image, meaning they often see themselves as heavier than reality.

Women with the condition may stop menstruating. Anorexia nervosa can lead to complications such as bone loss, heart disease, multi-organ failure and even death in some cases.

Bulimia Nervosa

This condition involves 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. 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.

People with this disorder often have a sense of a lack of control, 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 typically stems from food aversion in childhood but may persist into adulthood.

How We Can Help

The Charis Center for Eating Disorders offers the region’s most comprehensive outpatient and inpatient services for eating disorders in adolescents and adults. Physicians at IU Health manage severe and complex cases. Your team may include experts in:

  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Internal medicine
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Nursing
  • Pediatrics
  • Social work
  • Nutrition

Cases vary and you may need a combination of medical care, nutritional education and access to many types of therapy to address all aspects of the condition. Your team will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs and preferences.

To schedule an appointment for the Charis Center, please call 317.295.0608

Understanding Eating Disorders

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

Eating Disorder Types

Common eating disorders include:

Anorexia Nervosa

This disorder involves self-starvation and extreme thinness, often associated with excessive exercise and occasional purging behaviors.

People with anorexia have a strong fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image, meaning they often see themselves as heavier than reality.

Women with the condition may stop menstruating. Anorexia nervosa can lead to complications such as bone loss, heart disease, multi-organ failure and even death in some cases.

Bulimia Nervosa

This condition involves 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. 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.

People with this disorder often have a sense of a lack of control, 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 typically stems from food aversion in childhood but may persist into adulthood.

How We Can Help

The Charis Center for Eating Disorders offers the region’s most comprehensive outpatient and inpatient services for eating disorders in adolescents and adults. Physicians at IU Health manage severe and complex cases. Your team may include experts in:

  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Internal medicine
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Nursing
  • Pediatrics
  • Social work
  • Nutrition

Cases vary and you may need a combination of medical care, nutritional education and access to many types of therapy to address all aspects of the condition. Your team will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs and preferences.

To schedule an appointment for the Charis Center, please call 317.295.0608

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

Psychotherapy

This treatment involves talking with a licensed psychologist, counselor or other mental health professional.

Psychotherapy can help you change unhealthy habits, develop coping skills and deal with negative feelings. Individual, family and group therapy play major roles in treating eating disorders. The right approach for you depends on many factors, including the type and severity of your condition.

Many patients with bulimia and binge-eating disorder benefit from individual or group-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), art and movement therapy. Therapy can last from months to years.

Medical Care & Management

You may receive treatment for malnourishment or other physical problems resulting from an eating disorder.

If you have serious complications, such as dehydration or extremely low blood pressure, you may need to stay in the hospital for monitoring, feeding, fluid replacement, testing or other care.

Additionally, when you begin recovering from malnourishment, a potentially fatal complication called refeeding syndrome can occur. This condition is related to fluid shifts and electrolyte imbalances that occur as you start eating again.

We help you avoid refeeding syndrome by reintroducing calories gradually and keeping careful track of your body’s functioning. Medications can sometimes help.

Nutrition & Other Education

Our experts provide highly practical assistance in planning meals, understanding nutrition problems and achieving a healthy weight. Treatment may also include education and counseling in developing assertiveness, mindfulness and a positive body image.

    Treatment

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

    Psychotherapy

    This treatment involves talking with a licensed psychologist, counselor or other mental health professional.

    Psychotherapy can help you change unhealthy habits, develop coping skills and deal with negative feelings. Individual, family and group therapy play major roles in treating eating disorders. The right approach for you depends on many factors, including the type and severity of your condition.

    Many patients with bulimia and binge-eating disorder benefit from individual or group-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), art and movement therapy. Therapy can last from months to years.

    Medical Care & Management

    You may receive treatment for malnourishment or other physical problems resulting from an eating disorder.

    If you have serious complications, such as dehydration or extremely low blood pressure, you may need to stay in the hospital for monitoring, feeding, fluid replacement, testing or other care.

    Additionally, when you begin recovering from malnourishment, a potentially fatal complication called refeeding syndrome can occur. This condition is related to fluid shifts and electrolyte imbalances that occur as you start eating again.

    We help you avoid refeeding syndrome by reintroducing calories gradually and keeping careful track of your body’s functioning. Medications can sometimes help.

    Nutrition & Other Education

    Our experts provide highly practical assistance in planning meals, understanding nutrition problems and achieving a healthy weight. Treatment may also include education and counseling in developing assertiveness, mindfulness and a positive body image.

      Patient Stories for Eating Disorders

      National Eating Disorders Association

      This nonprofit group advocates for patients and their families, offering general information on eating disorders as well as treatment referrals and other resources.

      Resources

      National Eating Disorders Association

      This nonprofit group advocates for patients and their families, offering general information on eating disorders as well as treatment referrals and other resources.