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A Closer Look at What's Behind Eating Disorders

January 17, 2023
This Giddy article features quotes and insight from Dr. Elizabeth Wassenaar in a discussion about eating disorders: risks, causes, and triggers; types and stages; socioeconomic and cultural factors; and data about eating disorders.

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Eating disorders are a classification of psychiatric illnesses within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). They are characterized by highly distressing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to a person's food intake, body shape and weight, according to Elizabeth Wassenaar, M.D., the regional medical director of the Eating Recovery Center in Denver.

Consequently, eating disorders have a negative impact on both physical and psychological health and are life-threatening if left untreated.

It is important to recognize that eating disorders are not a choice. They don't develop suddenly or disappear overnight. Food is not the root of the problem; it's the coping mechanism. As with drug use, food is a substance used to deal with underlying issues. This is why, in order to recover, nutritional rehabilitation is not enough.


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Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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