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  • Pediatric Eating Disorders Center

  • Goryeb Children's Center
    Overlook Medical Center

  • Medical Arts Center (MAC) II Building, Suite 200

  • 11 Overlook Road, Summit, NJ 07901

  • Phone: 908-522-5757

Learning About Eating Disorders

Learn about some of the eating disorders treated at the Pediatric Eating Disorders Center at Atlantic Health System, as well as warning signs, causes and the role of parents.

Anorexia Nervosa

Patients with anorexia may be unable to maintain an appropriate body weight, have a fear of weight gain or engage in behaviors that interfere with weight gain. They tend to not see their bodies accurately or may not recognize the seriousness of being underweight.

Physical Warning Signs:

  • Dramatic weight loss or in young children or failure to gain appropriate weight
  • Menstrual irregularities or loss of period in females
  • Dizziness and/or fainting episodes
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Fine hair on the body
  • Thinning of hair on the head
  • Abnormal lab findings, such as slowed heart rate, low blood cell counts or low hormone levels

Psychological Warning Signs:

  • Preoccupation with food or calories
  • Refusal to eat certain foods or food groups
  • Refusal to eat in public settings or at mealtimes
  • Frequent comments about “feeling fat”
  • Food rituals
  • Body image rituals
  • Driven to exercise or excessive workouts
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and activities
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability or limited emotional expression

Bulimia Nervosa

Patient with bulimia go through repeated cycles of binge eating, followed by inappropriate purging or laxative abuse to prevent weight gain. Their body shape and weight often negatively effects how they view themselves as a person.

Physical Warning Signs:

  • Noticeable fluctuations in weight (some may maintain a normal body weight or be overweight)
  • Dizziness and/or fainting episodes
  • Cuts or calluses on fingers
  • Dental problems
  • Swelling of cheeks
  • Abnormal lab findings, such as low potassium levels

Psychological Warning Signs:

  • Preoccupation with food or calories
  • Disappearance of large amounts of food from the household
  • Hoarding of food
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom after meals
  • Evidence of laxative use
  • Difficulties eating in public
  • Food rituals
  • Body image rituals
  • Driven to exercise or excessive workouts
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and activities
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability or limited emotional expression

Causes of Eating Disorders

While there is not one specific factor that has been identified as the cause for eating disorders, research suggests that biology could play a role. Differences in the brain have been found in patients who develop anorexia or bulimia versus those who do not. What’s more, certain personality traits, such as perfectionism, may make individuals more susceptible to eating disorders. These traits are usually noticeable in childhood and tend to persist even after recovery.

The Role of Parents

It is not uncommon for parents to feel guilt or blame when they discover that their child has an eating disorder. However, research has proven that parents do not cause eating disorders, and although they were often excluded from treatment in the past, parents today are a vital part of the child’s recovery process.

  • Pediatric Eating Disorders Center

  • Goryeb Children's Center
    Overlook Medical Center

  • Medical Arts Center (MAC) II Building, Suite 200

  • 11 Overlook Road, Summit, NJ 07901

  • Phone: 908-522-5757

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Our Medical Team

Nita Bhatia, MD

Patricia Gazzola, APN

Jill Clark-Hamilton, MD

Cliff Hamilton, MD

Reshmi Morris, MD

Walter D. Rosenfeld, MD

Leslie Sanders, MD, Acting Division Director, Medical Director, Eating Disorders Program

Generous Sponsors

Our eating disorders program was developed by and is supported through generous donations from individuals, families and organizations concerned with the prevention and treatment of eating disorders.

Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Hackettstown Medical Center

651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
908-852-5100

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5200

 

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 900 health care
providers.
1-844-264-2250