Anorexia, Bulimia & Feeding Disorders | Torrance Memorial

Conditions We Treat

Severe eating disorders are complex and difficult to treat, and in many cases result in life-threatening physical effects on the entire body. The team at Torrance Memorial is experienced in diagnosing and managing the dangerous complications that can result from an eating disorder—with the goal of stabilizing our patients so they can continue onward toward healing and health.

Our program treats adolescents to adults experiencing medical complications:

Anorexia Nervosa

People suffering from anorexia have a significantly low body weight coupled with a distorted body image, self-starvation and an intense fear of gaining weight.

Bulimia Nervosa

People suffering from bulimia may have a normal body weight but feel a lack of control surrounding food. They tend to consume large amounts of food, followed by purging via forced vomiting, laxative abuse or excessive exercise.

Avoidant-Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is characterized by the inability to eat certain foods or groups of foods, which can lead to malnutrition and low body weight.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)

An eating disorder that causes concern but doesn’t exactly fit the criteria of other eating disorders.

Additionally, sometimes adolescents and young adults come to us with low body weight that may be from an unknown cause, where an eating disorder diagnosis is being considered.

An eating disorder can have devastating physical consequences for the body. Our team works closely with other specialists at Torrance Memorial to diagnose and treat:

  • Heart conditions such as an extremely slow heart rate, low blood pressure and ECG abnormalities
  • Electrolyte imbalances resulting from dehydration and depleted nutrients
  • Poor digestion
  • Gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation and gastroparesis
  • Severe dehydration
  • Swelling in the feet and legs caused by fluid retention and poor nutrition
  • Prevention of refeeding syndrome

10 Signs of an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders most often begin during the adolescent years. Although eating disorders can be very serious, the majority of patients recover if discovered and treated early. If you are worried that your child may have an eating disorder, discuss your concerns with your pediatrician or healthcare provider. It may be helpful to review this list with them. Two or more positive signs should prompt further evaluation.

Adolescent medicine specialists are particularly skilled in determining whether your teen or young adult child has an eating disorder, implementing an effective treatment plan, and guiding them through the recovery process.

  1. Progressive weight loss, especially if coupled with persistent concerns and comments about "being fat." Preoccupation with body appearance. Rapid weight loss even if overweight.
  2. Constipation; bowel movement frequency less than every other day and/or hard stools which are difficult to pass. 
  3. Frequent stomachaches, reflux of stomach contents, or heartburn.
  4. Absence of two or more menstrual periods, or not menstruating by age 16. Athletes with missed periods should be evaluated; it is not normal for a woman of reproductive age to stop menstruating. 
  5. Use of laxatives, diet pills, teas, or herbal products marketed for weight loss or energy. Use of amphetamines, cocaine, or other substances which suppress appetite. 
  6. Preoccupation with preparing food (especially desserts) for family members without eating the prepared foods. Skipping meals. Ritualist eating behavior; cutting food into tiny pieces, taking too long to eat, eating all of one type of food on the plate before starting another, etc. 
  7. Change in eating habits: "eating healthy," "eating clean," or becoming vegetarian or vegan. Frequently "on a diet." Elimination of food categories, such as red meat, fats, gluten, dairy, etc. Calorie counting. Progressive narrowing of types of food eaten; requests for special foods to be purchased and eating only those foods. 
  8. Large quantities of food missing from the house without explanation. 
  9. Disappearance into the bathroom directly after eating.
  10. Compulsive exercise: doing bedroom leg-lifts, crunches, etc. Working out on a cardiovascular machines or running alone for more than an hour at a time. Exercising seven days a week, even when sick with a cold or flu. 

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