Eating Disorders Treatment

Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center

Fargo, North Dakota

What Is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is a type of mental illness in which there is an obsession with food, how one’s body looks, and being thin. Eating disorders are often characterized by extreme diets, bingeing on large amounts of food, self-induced vomiting, or over-exercising, which leads to malnutrition.

What Are the Different Types of Eating Disorders?

Anorexia Nervosa

An eating disorder characterized by an extreme fear of gaining weight, resulting in starvation.

Bulimia Nervosa

An eating disorder characterized by bingeing (eating large amounts of food all at once) and purging behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge-eating is a type of eating disorder characterized by periods during which you eat unusually large amounts of food with a feeling of loss of control. Typically, overeating happens at least once a week for three months.

Exercise Bulimia

A condition characterized by an eating disorder in which a person exercises obsessively to counter the effects of bingeing.

Eating Disorders Treatment | St. Sophies

What Are the Symptoms of Eating Disorders?

The list below describes some of the symptoms of anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorders. The more symptoms a person has, the more severe the problems can be.

Common physical signs of an eating disorder may include:

  • Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Frequent infections or problems with sores that heal slowly
  • Severe constipation or stomach pain from regularly skipping meals
  • Bloated abdomen from holding in gas
  • Damage to parts of the brain as a result of nutrient deficiency

Common emotional/mental signs of an eating disorder may include: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme concern about being fat
  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Feelings of intense guilt after eating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Decreased ability to cope with stress

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors for Eating Disorders?

The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown, but several factors may contribute to developing an eating disorder.

Family history

People with family members who have experienced eating disorders may be more likely to develop a similar problem.

Stress in life

Some individuals turn to food or exercise in an attempt to cope when experiencing stress in their lives.

Low self-esteem

Individuals with low self-esteem tend to have much more negative views about themselves when they eat and tend to be overly critical when looking at their bodies.

How Are Eating Disorders Diagnosed?

Eating disorders are diagnosed by a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker. They will usually perform an evaluation that will include:

  • A detailed history of your symptoms and past problems
  • A physical exam to check for signs of malnutrition or other medical complications
  • Lab tests to look for nutrient deficiencies
  • Signs of depression and suicide attempts

How Does A Psychiatrist Treat Eating Disorders?


This is a form of therapy that helps patients deal with problems by talking about them. Therapy can include family members if they are involved or willing to be involved in treatment.


Several kinds of medicine may help with some of the symptoms of eating disorders, such as depression and mood swings. For severe cases, patients may need hospitalization.

Why Choose Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center To Recover From An Eating Disorder?

At Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Center, we offer several treatment options for those diagnosed with an eating disorder. Treatment modalities include:

Make an Appointment with a Psychiatrist in North Dakota

Dr. Emmet M. Kenney, Jr. is a psychiatrist who founded Saint Sophie's Psychiatric Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota in 2010. Today, the clinic has a team of licensed providers who offer clinical psychiatric care, both in-person and through teletherapy, to North Dakota and Minnesota residents. If you or your loved one is suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder and would like more information on our program, please contact us!