Eating Disorder & Anorexia Therapist Near Me in Desert Hot Springs, CA

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About Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by self-starvation to achieve and maintain abnormally low body weight. This is often accompanied by an intense fear of weight gain and a distorted body image.

Physical symptoms of anorexia include:
  • Significant weight loss over weeks or months
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems (such as insomnia)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Slowed or irregular heartbeat
  • Chills
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Growth of soft, fine hair on the body
  • Dry skin
  • Bluish or purple discoloration of hands and feet
  • Low blood pressure
  • Swelling of arms and legs (edema)
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration

In addition to the physical symptoms, anorexia can lead to behavioral and emotional symptoms largely centered around weight loss and eating habits. These may manifest as excessive exercise, skipping meals, social isolation, and more.

Anorexia is thought to be primarily caused by emotional, biological, and cognitive factors that distort a person’s sense of self-worth. The disease is not as much about being “healthy” or “fit” as it is about dealing with stressors and low self-esteem. There is also some evidence to suggest that anorexia can be inherited through genetics. Those who have a first-degree relative who has had anorexia have a high risk of dealing with the disease themselves.

Anorexia can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. If you or someone you know is dealing with sudden weight loss, distorted thinking about food and eating, or other symptoms of anorexia, talk to a health care provider right away.

Looking for help? Use the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders’ helpline to talk to a qualified professional right away. The helpline can be reached at 888-375-7767.

Treatment Options

There are a number of effective treatment options for anorexia, but the first step in treating anorexia is getting help. Below are common treatment plans for anorexia. Talk to a health care provider about a plan that is right for you or the person needing treatment.

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Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by self-starvation to achieve and maintain abnormally low body weight. This is often accompanied by an intense fear of weight gain and a distorted body image.

Individuals who struggle with anorexia try to control and minimize their caloric intake by severely limiting the amount of food they eat. Other methods used to control weight include vomiting after eating, excessive exercise, diet supplements (often used in place of food), laxatives, and enemas.

While weight management and maintaining a healthy weight can help your general wellness, eating disorders like anorexia are extremely dangerous and sometimes life-threatening. An eating disorder - like anorexia - is more easily linked to emotional distress and an unhealthy self-image rather than actual weight management.

Anorexia can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. If you or someone you know is dealing with sudden weight loss, distorted thinking about food and eating, or other symptoms of anorexia, talk to a health care provider right away.

Looking for help? Use the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders’ helpline to talk to a qualified professional right away. The helpline can be reached at 888-375-7767.

Eating disorders are mental health and physical conditions characterized by unhealthy eating habits and self-image. An eating disorder often develops from an individual’s body image concerns and issues of self-esteem. This is not universal, but most cases of disordered eating occur when someone becomes overly preoccupied with weight loss and their relationship with food itself. These thoughts can lead to unhealthy eating patterns such as self-starvation, overeating (often followed by forced vomiting known as purging), and excessive exercise.

Eating disorders can lead to extreme malnourishment, mental health issues (such as suicidal thoughts, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder - OCD - and depression), and relationship problems. The physical effects of an untreated eating disorder can damage your heart, internal organs, bones, teeth, and tissue in your mouth.

Severe instances of an eating disorder can lead to hospitalization, organ damage, and death. If you or someone you know are experiencing the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, talk to a health care provider right away. Many people dealing with an eating disorder are resistant to treatment, but you can minimize the damage these conditions cause by seeking therapy early.

The most commonly diagnosed eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder.

- Anorexia: As detailed above, anorexia nervosa is characterized by a preoccupation with maintaining a low body weight - often leading to self-starvation, purging, excessive exercise, and other weight loss methods. While weight management is not in itself unhealthy, individuals struggling with anorexia often have dangerously low body weight, causing serious damage to the digestive tract, heart, and development.

- Bulimia: Bulimia nervosa- commonly referred to as bulimia - is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder. Those with bulimia will go through episodes of “binge eating”, where they are unable to control the amount of food they eat, followed by “purging”. Purging can take a variety of forms, including laxative use, self-induced vomiting, enemas, diuretics, or excessive exercise.

- Binge-eating disorder: Binge-eating disorder - commonly referred to as BED - is characterized by eating abnormally large amounts of food, often accompanied by a feeling of being out of control or the inability to stop. Most of us overeat every now and then. Individuals struggling with BED frequently overeat, and will often continue to do so even though they are uncomfortably full.

- Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder: Also known as ARFID, this condition is most common in young children. ARFID is characterized as an extreme “pickiness”, or an uninterest in eating food. Often, children who are dealing with ARFID will only eat very select foods that they enjoy - which can result in poor nutrition and affected development as they grow older.

Eating disorders can affect anyone of any age and gender. In general, adolescents - primarily teenage girls - are most commonly diagnosed with eating disorders, although young men may be affected too. These conditions are more often seen in young people (teenagers and young adults) than they are in older adults, due to the hormonal and physical changes young people go through during puberty.

In addition to the factors listed above, there are several other risk factors that may increase a person’s likelihood of developing an eating disorder. These include:

- Genetics: Individuals who have a close relative (like a sibling or parent) that has had an eating disorder may be more likely to develop one themself.

- Mental health conditions: Individuals who are dealing with prior mental health conditions such as major depressive disorder (depression), anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), are more likely to develop an associated eating disorder.

- Stress: Eating disorders may develop due to stressors such as relationship issues, problems at work or school, bullying, the death or illness of a loved one, moving, and weight loss.

This, of course, is not a complete list of potential risk factors. Eating disorders often develop over time, often without you knowing it. If you or someone you know is experiencing the early signs and symptoms of an eating disorder, talk to a health care provider or licensed professional counselor right away. Most eating disorders are treatable with a combination of psychotherapy and behavior modification.

If you’re looking for help, reach out to the National Eating Disorder Helpline at (800) 931-2237. Online chat, text, and phone chats are available to get you the help you need.

Anorexia may manifest itself in different ways, and to different severities, in different individuals. The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are related to the starvation and weight loss associated with the condition.

Physical symptoms of anorexia include:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness and fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Thinning or brittle hair
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Arrhythmia or abnormal heart rates
  • Soft hair on the face and other parts of the body
  • Bluish fingers
  • Yellowing skin
  • Dehydration
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Changes in menstrual period
  • Intolerance to cold

These physical symptoms may occur in conjunction with emotional and behavioral symptoms, often caused by anxiety around weight and self-image.

Common emotional and behavioral symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal from socialization
  • Avoidance of eating around others
  • Preoccupation with food
  • Excessive exercise
  • Skipping meals
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Mood changes, or a “flat” mood
  • Little or no interest in sexual activity

While many of these signs may indicate several mental health conditions, anorexia often results in these symptoms occurring simultaneously with extreme weight loss and the physical effects listed above.

If you or someone you know are experiencing the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention. If left untreated, these physical and emotional indications can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications. Anorexia and other eating disorders will rarely go away on their own. To discuss eating disorder treatment, reach out to a primary care physician or licensed professional counselor (LPC). If appropriate, these providers can refer you to an eating disorder specialist or eating disorder specialist who can treat the condition safely and healthily.

There are a number of effective treatment options for anorexia, but the first step in treating anorexia is getting help.

Anorexia can lead to life-threatening complications such as starvation and dehydration. An inpatient hospital stay may be required for extreme weight-loss, or if the patient requires feeding through a nasogastric tube.

Specialized eating disorder treatment centers can provide intensive and comprehensive care that allows a treatment team of therapists and health care providers to track a patient’s vital signs while providing counseling to treat the underlying cause of the disorder.

During and after treatment, it is recommended that you work with a dietitian to help regain control of your nutrition and eating habits. Nutrition rehabilitation helps create meal plans and healthy eating habits to prevent binging and purging or the life-threatening refeeding syndrome. Refeeding syndrome occurs when a malnourished individual begins to eat or ingest nutrition again. The body has a hard time metabolizing nutrition, leading to complications such as swelling, internal organ failure, and gastrointestinal problems. Because of this, and because anorexia can adversely affect vital processes in the body, it is urged that you seek medical attention from a licensed provider and not try to treat it yourself.

Along with nutritional rehabilitation and medical treatment, psychotherapy is strongly encouraged to address underlying behavioral and emotional causes of anorexia. The most common forms of eating disorder therapy include:

- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT can help address distorted thinking around self-worth, body image, and eating habits. An eating disorder therapist can assist with weight gain and positive cognitive processes that support healthy behaviors and thoughts.

- Group therapy: Your therapist may refer you to a group therapy program. These therapeutic groups allow you to socialize and connect with individuals dealing with similar challenges, while also doubling as another space for talk therapy.

- Family therapy: Family-based therapy is the only evidence-based method to treat anorexia in patients under the age of 18. This therapy puts the family members - usually parents - in charge of refeeding and proper nutritional habits for the patient.

Ongoing therapy is recommended for patients dealing with anorexia. Stress or triggering events can provoke a recurrence of the disorder, so it is recommended that you or the patient undergo long-term treatment to establish and maintain healthy behaviors and eating habits.

Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and primary care physicians can all help get you the care you need. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental and emotional health. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication to treat mental health conditions. Psychologists, on the other hand, are professionals who offer a range of mental health services - particularly talk therapy. Suitable for young children and adults alike, psychologists use talk therapy and psychotherapy to get to the root of your mental health condition and enhance your wellness and well-being. Psychologists are not able to prescribe medications.

Doctors who specialize in psychiatry are trained to treat depression, anxiety, and a range of behavioral health and emotional concerns.

Psychologists can treat these disorders, as well as provide counseling services. If you're looking for couples therapy, sex therapy, or stress management therapy, a psychologist could be the doctor for you.

Connect with mental health professionals on Sesame who can assess your condition, manage your symptoms, and develop a treatment plan for you.

A therapist is a medical professional that uses psychotherapy (generally called talk therapy) to help relieve the emotional distress and mental health issues of their patients. Many trained professionals fall under the broad umbrella of "therapist" including psychiatrists, social workers, mental health clinicians, life coaches, and licensed counselors. Therapists can treat a wide range of mental health disorders that include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and relationship problems. Therapists can also help you gain tools to better handle stress, or set and achieve major goals.

Therapy is a great tool to help you track your emotions, reduce stress, work on goals like quitting smoking, guide you through major life decisions, hone skills like communication, or address problem areas in your life. Talk therapy has been widely received as an effective health care treatment for many different mental health conditions including:

  • Substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Relationship problems
  • Behavior issues

Yes! Telehealth marketplaces like Sesame make it easier than ever to book an online therapy session. Sesame offers a range of mental health care services, including online therapist appointments, that can meet with you over video conferencing platforms to discuss symptoms of mental illness, mental health concerns, treatment options, and more.

To book an appointment, search “Online Therapy” or “Video Therapy” using Sesame’s search bar. Browse the list of available providers, and book an appointment at your convenience. You’ll receive an email confirmation with a link to your video appointment.

Online therapy is a convenient, discreet, and affordable way to get the mental health care that you need from the comfort of your own home. Book an online therapy appointment today - no health insurance needed.

During a mental health consult, a primary care provider can help start the conversation about mental health care and maintain prescribing and medication management for those who are in stable condition and do not need the expertise of a psychiatry specialist. It's ideal for individuals seeking basic mental health guidance within a primary care context.

Mental health care starts with reaching out for help. On Sesame, you can connect with mental health specialists online to get the quality care you need right away.

Counseling services can help with a variety of issues and difficulties related to mental health and emotional well-being. A patient may seek counseling for any number of situations, but some of the major types of counseling include:

- Individual mental health counseling: Mental health counselors deal with patients on an individual basis. They may assist patients with depression, emotional issues, behavioral problems, or stress management. Mental health counselors are licensed professionals that help individuals toward mental wellness through personalized sessions addressing the issues listed above.

- Substance abuse counseling: Substance abuse counselors help patients deal with chemical dependency, substance abuse, and the underlying causes of addictive behavior. Substance abuse counselors may work with individuals or groups in group counseling. A substance abuse counselor may help patients develop coping mechanisms, create goals, and give referrals to support groups.

- Couples counseling/ couples therapy: Counselors working with couples will usually meet with both partners to help with relationship distress. Examples of relationship distress may include a history of domestic violence, communication issues, parenting conflicts, and intimacy problems.

- Group Counseling: Group counseling brings together a group of individuals, usually dealing with a common issue, to discuss, interact, and work together under the supervision of a group counselor. These groups act as support groups, giving individual patients a safe space to work out problems and speak freely. Examples of group counseling examples include academic support groups, individuals coping with divorce or grief, or individuals dealing with substance abuse issues.

- Family therapy/ counseling: Family counseling helps families improve communication and resolve conflicts in the family unit. Family counseling may deal with issues between parents, children, and parents, or the wider family. These counseling services can also help family members deal with mental illness in the family or domestic abuse.

- Career counseling: Career counselors help clients work toward career goals while identifying strengths and areas for growth. Career counseling may help clients deal with stress management, anxiety, and mental wellness in the workplace. These counseling sessions can also help clients determine interests, and personality types to place the individual in a conducive work environment.

Counseling sessions help individuals work through or deal with an issue in their personal, social, or work-life. Counseling is usually centered around a specific issue or need of the patient/ client, unlike therapy which addresses the individual's thoughts, and behavioral patterns.

Counseling psychology (or psychological counseling) is a form of mental health care provided as a general practice or as a specialty clinical health care service. Counseling helps patients deal with specific issues over a period of time. Examples of these types of instances include:

Grief counseling: A patient may see a counseling psychologist who specializes in grief to help cope with the loss of a loved one.

Career counseling: A patient may want to undergo career counseling to work through career goals, stress related to work, or depression about work.

Couples counseling: Couples may seek couples therapy with a licensed professional counselor to talk about issues related to marriage or the improvement of communication in a relationship.

There are a number of different types of counseling that can address individual needs and specific needs of a group. But most counseling sessions center around a specific issue or difficulty. Counseling may be a more short-term relationship, as opposed to long-term therapy.

Conversely, therapists work more with clients managing mental health, behavioral, or personality disorders. Therapists tend to work with clients on a deeper level, addressing psychological and emotional issues, mental health disorders, and facilitating personal growth. They often utilize various therapeutic modalities to help clients explore and process their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapists use a broader range of therapeutic techniques and interventions to delve into clients' underlying emotional and psychological issues. They might use psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, or other approaches.

In sum, counselors will work with clients to overcome a problem or concern. Therapists will work with clients to address why that concern is occurring in the first place while addressing the underlying causes of behavioral or emotional challenges.

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