SOURCE: Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

February 15, 2016 12:13 ET

Early Intervention Is the Best Prevention of Eating Disorders

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center Aims to Increase Awareness of These Deadly Disorders for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 21 - 27

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - February 15, 2016) - As National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (February 21 - 27, 2016) approaches, Timberline Knolls is helping increase awareness of these serious disorders that can be life-threatening. Early detection of the signs and symptoms of eating disorders increases an individual's chance for life and successful recovery.

"We live in a world consumed by the pressure to be on a diet or spend hours in a gym, and this behavior is often commended by others," said Amy Klimek, MA, LCPC, director of program development at Timberline Knolls, a residential treatment center located in the Chicago area for women and adolescent girls struggling with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, and co-occurring disorders. "Skipping a meal is applauded, purging your dinner is taboo, and bingeing on your favorite foods becomes a tag line on social media. In our drive for thinness and perfection, our culture has placed a mask on these behaviors and has lost focus on an individual's soul. People only look at the number on the scale."

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. This is not a disorder someone chooses to suffer with. Loved ones, parents, and friends can all help if they recognize the signs.

Signs that someone is struggling with an eating disorder include:

  • A change in behaviors and attitudes toward  weight loss, dieting, or controlling of food or body. Increase in food and  body "talk"; subtle and more obvious conversations about wanting to change  their food or body, including shaming words about food or their body.
  • Withdrawal or isolation from friends or family,  social engagements, and activities.
  • Excessive and rigid exercise schedule -- not only  how many times someone goes to the gym, how long do they spend there, and  what is their focus? Despite fatigue, illness, or injury and the  compulsive need to "burn off" calories, they go to the gym.
  • Excessive money spent on food, disappearance of  food, frequent trips to the bathroom after meals may all be signs of  bingeing and purging behaviors.
  • Fast and extreme weight loss.
  • Counting calories or moving from one diet to  another.

If someone is struggling with an eating disorder, Klimek recommends telling someone the person trusts. It is a vulnerable and courageous choice to speak up. It's important to be honest about what behaviors are being engaged -- including the subtle behaviors from body checking, cyclical, negative and at times shaming thoughts about the body or food, to the more obvious behaviors of restricting, purging, bingeing, excessive exercise, and misuse of laxatives or diuretics. 

"Society has taken a blind eye to the behaviors, signs, and symptoms of an eating disorder or even disordered eating; making it incredibly difficult to notice if someone is struggling," adds Klimek. 

With the help and care from health professionals and support from family, friends, and/or the community (12-step community, support community, treatment community), recovery is possible. Recovery is a journey and starts when an individual takes the first step to getting the help they need. 

To continue educating the public about eating disorders, Timberline Knolls is partnering with Eating Disorder Hope to offer a free, informative and interactive Google Hangout featuring Kim Dennis, M.D., CEO and medical director of Timberline Knolls. Dr. Dennis will discuss "Eating Disorder Recovery: Relapse Forwards or Backwards" during the live Hangout at 11 a.m. CST on February 22, 2016. Those interested can register at: https://plus.google.com/events/codh3fkv9cpvig23qvcv6ma36q4

In addition, Timberline Knolls will be presenting about eating disorders to student bodies and faculty at several universities across the country, including Florida State University, the University of Arizona, the University of North Florida, and Wheaton College in Illinois.

For additional information about National Eating Disorders Awareness week, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

About Timberline Knolls:

Timberline Knolls is a leading private residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 - 65+) with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call us at 877.257.9611. We are also on Facebook -- Timberline Knolls, LinkedIn -- Timberline Knolls, and Twitter -- @TimberlineToday.

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