Disordered Eating Services

Eating disorders (EDs) are serious mental illnesses with significant, life-threatening physical and psychological complications.

Types of Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia Nervosa: A serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by food restriction, weight loss and intense fear of gaining weight and often a denial of the severity of weight loss or low weight.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: A serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of bingeing (a feeling of loss of control while eating large quantities of food) and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
  • Binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards;
  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED), is a feeding or eating disorder that causes significant distress or impairment, but does not meet the criteria for another feeding or eating disorder.

For more information on eating or feeding disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association.

Important Facts about Eating Disorders

  • EDs affect men and women; children, adolescents and adults; people from all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds; and people with a variety of body shapes, weights and sizes
  • People who are normal weight can have EDs
  • Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder  
  • The serious medical consequences of EDs can go unrecognized    
  • Some people struggling with EDs may not understand the severity of their condition    

Signs & Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Individuals with Eating Disorders (ED) may present in a variety of ways. An ED may occur without obvious physical signs and symptoms.

Psychological symptoms:

- Preoccupation with thoughts about weight, shape, and food
- Self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape
- Excessive exercise or exercising despite being injured or sick
- Dieting, fasting, refusing to eat certain foods
- Periods of loss of control of eating
- Guilt, shame, and distress
- Denial of hunger
- Social withdrawal
- Denial of severity of low weight or other ED behaviors

Physical symptoms:

- Significant weight loss, gain or fluctuations
- Constantly feeling cold
- Weakness
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Dizziness
- Fainting
- Hot flashes, sweating
- Irregular heart beat
- Irregular periods for women
- Poor concentration/memory difficulties
- Acid reflux
- Dry hair and skin
- Hair loss or growth of fine, soft hair on the body
- Puffy cheeks

Treatment is available. Recovery is possible.

Ideal standard of care is: early recognition, timely intervention using an evidence-based, multidisciplinary team approach (medical, psychological & nutritional). Treatment plans often are tailored to individual needs and may include one or more of the following:

- Individual, group, and/or family psychotherapy
- Medical care and monitoring
- Nutritional counseling
- Medications
- Hospitalization if the ED is severe

On-Campus Resources

Eating Disorder Services at CAPS
  • Short term individual therapy
  • Psychiatry
  • Group therapy
  • Wellness skills groups with focus on intuitive eating and body image
  • Outreach by request
  • Case management/treatment planning to help students connect with off-campus services

Since Eating Disorders have serious medical complications, we coordinate care closely with medical providers and dieticians at Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness (The Ashe Center) or with off-campus treatment providers. We ask that every student entering group treatment for disordered eating at CAPS have an eating disorder medical assessment prior to entry to group.

For students requiring more intensive or long-term eating disorder treatment, we can help students connect to treatment in Los Angeles or near their home. We welcome parent and family involvement in treatment planning as appropriate.

Visit CAPS to discuss your concerns or to begin treatment. 

Eating Disorder Services at The Ashe Center
  • Eating Disorders Medical Evaluation and Medical Monitoring
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Laboratory
  • Pharmacy

The Ashe Center
(310) 825-4073
Free 24-hr Nurseline: (310) 825-4073, select Option 2
221 Westwood Plaza (Bruin Plaza)
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Visit Resources for more information about eating disorders and getting online and community support.