Call for Help! Toll-Free 24 Hour Assistance: 1-800-397-3006 admissions@tpoftampa.com

Eating Disorders

What Is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are progressive, addictive, dangerous and potentially fatal for men and women.

In 1989, Turning Point of Tampa developed what is now a nationally recognized Eating Disorders Program for clients with Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa.   Focusing on food as an addiction, we utilize a comprehensive 12-Step based treatment approach. This includes individualized food plans, individual and group counseling, body image groups, meal planning, food shopping, meal preparation, nutritional education, balanced exercise, and assertive communication skills.

At Turning Point of Tampa, our gentle and caring approach, based on a 12-Step philosophy, strives to uncover our client’s personal issues in a supportive and encouraging environment. Our highly-qualified and well-trained multi-disciplinary team uses the power of the group setting to address body image, beliefs about ourselves and food, underlying issues that get in the way of recovery and the process of surrender for total recovery.

Our clients meet regularly with their primary therapist to develop an individualized treatment plan with measurable objectives and to address obstacles as they arise. Each client also meets with the dietitian for a complete assessment and then, at least weekly, to develop and monitor a food plan tailored specifically to their needs.  The dietitian works hand in hand with the clients, preparing meals, making grocery lists and going on a restaurant outing to help jumpstart the physical component of recovery.

Eating disorders are serious conditions related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact your health, your emotions and your ability to function in important areas of life. The most common eating disorders and their definitions (according to the DSM-5) are:

Binge-Eating Disorder:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances
    • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
  • The binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty afterward
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
  • Binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  • Binge eating not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors as in Bulimia Nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa methods to compensate for overeating, such as self-induced vomiting.

Bulimia Nervosa:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g. within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances
    • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g. a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
  • Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
  • The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  • Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
  • The disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of Anorexia Nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa:

  • Persistent restriction of energy intake leading to significantly low body weight (in context of what is minimally expected for age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health).
  • Either an intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat, or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain (even though significantly low weight).
  • Disturbance in the way one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body shape and weight on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

But how common are these eating disorders?

Here are some statistics we have found to be vital:

According to the NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association):

  • The rate of development of new cases of eating disorders has been increasing since 1950.
  • There has been a rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930.
  • The incidence of bulimia in 10-39 year old women TRIPLED between 1988 and 1993.
  • The prevalence of eating disorders is similar among Non-Hispanic Whites, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians in the United States, with the exception that anorexia nervosa is more common among Non-Hispanic Whites.
  • In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder.

Eating disorders often develop in the teen and young adult years, although they can develop at other ages. Turning Point of Tampa treats men and women, ranging from 18 years and older. With treatment, you can return to healthier eating habits and sometimes reverse serious complications caused by the eating disorder.

Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on your weight, body shape and food, leading to dangerous eating behaviors. These behaviors can significantly impact your body's ability to get adequate nutrition. Eating disorders can harm the heart, digestive system, bones, and teeth and mouth, and lead to other diseases.

Some of the health consequences related to eating disorders can be:

  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.
  • Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.
  • Muscle loss and weakness.
  • Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.
  • Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.
  • Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common.
  • Growth of a downy layer of hair—called lanugo—all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

If you feel that you or someone you love may have an eating disorder, please consider this brief questionnaire.

Eating Disorders Discovery Questionnaire

  • Do you see yourself in some of these questions?
  • Has anyone expressed concern about your thoughts and/or behavior around your eating, body or weight?
  • Do you think or obsess about food, eating, your body and/or your weight much of the time?
  • Do you binge on a regular basis, eating a relatively large quantity of food at one sitting?
  • Do you eat to relieve unpleasant emotions?
  • Do you eat when you are not hungry?
  • Do you hide food for yourself or eat in secret?
  • Can you stop eating without difficulty after one or two bites of a snack food or sweets?
  • Do you often eat more than you originally planned to eat?
  • Do you have feelings of guilt, shame or embarrassment when you eat, or afterwards?
  • Do you spend a lot of time calculating the calories you ate and the calories you burned?
  • Do you feel anxious about your weight, body or eating?
  • Are you fearful of gaining weight?
  • Do you tell yourself you’ll be happy when you achieve a certain weight?
  • Do you feel like your whole life is a struggle with food and your weight?
  • Do you feel hopeless about your behavior with food and/or your obsession with your body and weight?
  • Do you entertain yourself with thoughts of food and what you are going to eat next?
  • Do you weigh yourself once, twice or more daily?
  • Do you exercise excessively to control your weight?
  • Do you avoid eating or severely limit the amount of food you will eat?
  • Being totally honest with yourself, do you think you have a problem with food?

Some of these questions can be difficult to answer. Every person is unique, but if you or someone you love is in some way affected by an eating disorder, please call our Admissions Department at (813) 882-3302 / (800) 397-3006 or email us at admissions@tpoftampa.com.

Useful Community Links

Overeaters Anonymous: www.oa.org
Food Addicts: www.foodaddicts.org
Food Addicts Anonymous: www.foodaddictsanonymous.org