Eating Disorders

Parent Q&A

Helping a 22 year old niece with anorexia Jul 29, 2019 (5 responses below)
Therapist / treatment for daughter with anorexia Apr 22, 2019 (3 responses below)
Worried about teen boy's diet plan to bulk up Jan 9, 2019 (3 responses below)
Is it selective eating disorder?? Feb 26, 2018 (4 responses below)
Eating Disorder Nutritionist for 16 year old May 10, 2017 (2 responses below)
Resources for 9 year old with eating disorder Oct 23, 2016 (1 responses below)
  • Helping a 22 year old niece with anorexia

    (5 replies)

    In less than a week, I will be seeing my niece whom I only see once a year at max, given that she lives in France with the rest of her family.

    She has been anorexic--at least has had all the behavior and physical appearances of it--for many years but her condition is now severe. Her mother, father, and grand parents are unable to help her: they make remarks, try to talk about it, recommend that she sees specialists about it but she seems in total denial. I doubt very much I can change anything to the situation but I have a couple of small advantages over the rest of the family in that:

    1. I live far from her and therefore can be seen as an outsider to the situation

    2. I am much calmer than the rest of my overly stressed family

    I am wondering if anyone has any advice as to what I can do/say, if anything.

    My instinct would be to have a frank conversation with her, one on one, and try to help her face the reality of the situation and help her accept that she needs professional help, right now. But I also know what seems obvious to our eyes isn't what anorexic individuals see about themselves, and I don't want to waste the trust she might have in me by following a path known to fail from the start.

    Is there a better approach? From the last pictures I saw, the situation seems dire enough that just acting as if there was nothing would not feel right.

    Hello,

    Regarding eating disorders, such as anorexia, you can try reaching out to Janice Bremis.   She is the founder of the Eating Disorders Resource Center in Los Gatos.

    I contacted Janice when I had a concern about BDD and found her to be calm and compassionate. Her contact information can be found at http://edrcsv.org/

    Otherwise she can be reached at (408) 356-1212. Best wishes to you and your niece.

    Please look at nationaleatingdisorders.org. There is a hotline and a Q&A forum. My daughter has suffered with anorexia since she was 13 and is now 34. She is no longer anorexic and is healthy but still somewhat eating disordered. Please check out the website and best of luch

    Sorry about your niece.

    I have no idea about anorexia, but I know that when we were having difficulties with our 20 year old son, my sister, who lives away from us, came to visit, talk to him about seeing a therapist, that she had already found and was able to convinced him to go see this person for 3 sessions. She told him this would make us, the parents to feel better. The therapist was great and my son understood that it was to his benefit to keep seeing this person. I understand anorexia is very very difficult, more if your niece is denial, but maybe if you say is something good she would  for her parents, she will be willing to see a specialist.. 

    Wishing you the best.

  • Our 16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with anorexia last fall. She had been seeing a Kaiser therapist for nine months for anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping. Eventually she was referred to a psychiatrist who spotted the eating disorder immediately. She started seeing the teen pediatrician, a nutritionist, and a therapist and we were coached to feed her three meals and three snacks daily (which was extremely difficult for her at first, but she is mostly compliant now).Since that time she has regained about half of the weight she lost, started her period again (after losing it for 9 months). Her mood has improved (she’s taking antidepressants) but her ED thoughts are still very strong and she says she doesn’t want to recover. She does not particularly like her therapist at Kaiser. Has anyone else had experience with the eating disorder teen treatment team at Kaiser Oakland and have you supplemented with any other outside therapist or treatment programs? Can you recommend a therapist in Oakland or Berkeley who specializes in eating disorders? Any other advice or hope for us as we navigate this horrible illness?

    Hello,

    I recommend you take a look at the following website:

    https://www.ankabhi.org/casa-oakview.html

    Through Kaiser, my girl received treatment for anorexia at this residential facility in Lafayette.

    During my daughter's long, challenging road to recovery from anorexia, this proved an absolutely fantastic facility.

    Find out if your daughter qualifies for treatment there. 

    Best to you!

    Our daughter was hospitalized for AN and is now fully recovered. Please read Lock and Le Grange's "Help your Teen Beat an Eating Disorder". But my most valuable recommendation is aroundthedinnertable.org, a forum for parents of kids with eating disorders, mainly AN. Those parents coached me through all of it, great ideas and support, at any hour of the day! Look at Maudsleyparents.org. It's a marathon, and if you are giving her 3 meals and snacks per day, all of them high-calorie, that is the number one thing you should be doing, so celebrate your superhero parenting.

    Our family has a lot of experience with the eating disorder team at Kaiser Oakland. We also had difficulties with the therapist on that team and eventually found an outside therapist. There are a number of outside therapists, and I can point you in that direction if that is something you'd like to consider.  I would really welcome speaking with you- please contact me through my username below. I really sympathize with you-- it is indeed a horrible illness, and we have learned so much that we didn't know at the beginning. I would also recommend that you considering asking about the Kaiser Intensive Outpatient Program in Walnut Creek-- a number of people go there and experience improvements in their kids' situations when they've stalled out in a regular outpatient setting. It's also important to understand that it's possible that your daughter's lack of desire to get better might be connected to the fact that she is still underweight compared to where she was.  I don't know your situation, but I know that there can be major mental health implications for being significantly below one's target weight. Looking forward to speaking with you- it's so important that other people who have also had this really difficult experience support each other. I'm so sorry that you and your family are going through this.

  • Hello, my almost 18 year old son got into working out, and I'm happy about that, but am concerned that he's obsessing about it and may undermine his health, especially now that he's starting some kind of diet.  Does anyone know of a coach who could work with him on building muscle while eating right?

    So far, he said he's been "bulking up", so he's been eating even when he's not really hungry.  He's lean and muscular, so it doesn't seem like he's overeating though.  But, now he asked to get a food scale, and is planning to use it to figure out how much he eats and how much he needs to eat, with the goal to lose the fat.  I can't quite understand what he's going to do, but he says he's going to cut down on calories and lose weight, while still consuming the same amount of protein, with the goal of building muscle.

    He and his friend exercise together and are going to do the diet together, but I don't think either one of them has good common sense about it.  I am hoping for advice from a profession whom a teen would listen to, since he's definitely not listening to me.

    Please visit aroundthedinnertable.org. Your son could have an eating/body image disorder. Boys do get these, and they display precisely the symptoms you are describing. You say he is lean and muscular, and wants to become more lean and more muscular. You need to get him to a physician who is knowledgeable about eating disorders (many are not) and he should especially have his orthostatic blood pressure checked. Don't ignore this. It is a dangerous path.

    I am a mom in my 50's who has been working out and watching what I eat for 30 years; I feel great and have lots of energy, however at the beginning I definitely went a little overboard (and recovered!). My recommendation is that he sign up for a personal training session at the gym, adding nutrition counseling to the session. Also, both of you should read https://www.menshealth.com/, this is a repudiable magazine that can help you and he separate fact from fad.

    I agree with the above post that your son may have an eating disorder or may be seriously at risk for one. It definitely happens to young men, and this is one of the scenarios. I am unfortunately far too familiar with this world now. Young men and women can have what's called body dysmorphia, where they think that they are overweight when they're not and then continue to diet. It's a societal problem but much more extreme for some individuals. Unfortunately, eating disorders often start with a diet-- that can be one of the triggering events that precipitates a serious of physical changes. If your son does work with a nutrition person at the gym, please don't assume that this is enough to protect him. You probably need to have him evaluated by an eating-disorder savvy physician and then monitor him. I'm sorry to sound so serious but once this starts happening, it can takes years to get out of and have serious health effects. I know he's only doing what a long of young men are doing with regard to gyms right now, but many people are not aware of the risks. Diagnosed eating disorders are somewhat rare, but many people have disordered eating. Thanks for reaching out for advice!

  • Is it selective eating disorder??

    (4 replies)

    Did any of your teenagers experience that? What helped?

    My 15 years old daughter had always been a picky eater but as she got older it got worse. Now she really wants to eat only cheese pizza (only from one pizza place), Goldfish crackers, Rice crispy treats, one specific type of ice cream. Those she demands all the time and if I buy she would eat them instead of everything else. Othervice she cries and refuses to eat anything else or to do homework. 

    She is agreeable sometimes but not always to eat chicken, lasagna, meatballs (cooked specific way), mashed potatoes, one meal combination from Chipotle and sandwich from Subway that has bread, chicken, cheese and pickles but no other veggies. 

    With encouragement she agrees sometimes to eat a green apple, green grapes, watermelon and one type of pistachios. If the grapes are not green or if pistachios are a from different package, or if on subway sandwich was places wrong type of cheese etc she would not eat it. Nothing else!!!!

    She dislikes all vegetables, most fruits, berries, and beans. 

    Every time when I ask her to taste a spoon of a new meal she refuses. If she does taste she says she doesn’t like it. If we go to a restaurants she wouldn’t eat any food there so traveling is very difficult. 

    The problem is that she might be possibly allergic to gluten and corn because her bloodwork shows moderate allergy but skin test was negative so her allergologyst who she seen for possible asthma told ok to continue eating those because skin test more presise. She was on gluten-free diet prior to that but when allergologyst told ok to eat we included gluten back to her diet 1year ago. Since then she had worsening depression and anxiety and gets sick with cold all the time. Always has no energy. I feel her diet is contributing. 

    How to help her to be less selective with her food choices and allow more variety, fruits and vegetables? Coworker told her daughter had similar issues as a child and therapy helped, but her therapist moved out of town years ago. We tried 3 other therapists for her depression and they didn’t help. I don’t know what to do.

    Certainly keep looking for a therapist who she can see for her depression.

    Does your family eat dinner together? If not, it might help to start setting the table and trying to eat together. Don't force her to join you but invite her to do so. Maybe have something on her current list but other food for the rest of you and let her be part of the connection.

    She might venture out to other stuff but don't make a big deal out of it. 

    Work with a therapist to find out how to take stress off of her.

    Note: I am just another parent and these are my thoughts having read your post. Find guidance from professional doctors and therapists.

    My child was diagnosed for years with asthma. She also said the puffers never helped her.  Ill make a long story short, turned out her allergies created flu like symptoms and difficulty breathing.  This caused problems with her sleep cycle, which caused anxiety and depression. Finally I met with the chief of allergy.  He ordered the blood draws and  he referred her to head and neck. They found she had a deviated septum and inflamed nasal passages. (always inflamed.) Post nasal drip down the throat as she could not really blow her nose. A small procedure reduced the tissue and had a huge impact on her ability to breath. She was thrilled.  Also added allergy shots which also provided huge huge relief. 

    I will tell you the Head and Neck did not really think the procedure would do much, but it did. The tissue does grow back and she will do it again. (its been about three years and she is about to do it again...she requested it. 

    Anxiety is now almost completely gone, grades are way up, and most importantly I have a pretty content daughter again.  Still a little picky about food but not too bad. Loves vegetables so yay! (Allergy to fruit is very common when you have pollen allergies.  Cooking, or a slight zap in the micro seems to take away the itch reaction she gets.)

    I think the blood test is far more reliable then the scratch.

    Hope this helps!

    PS they were more then happy to give her ssri's and therapy. Turns out all she needed was the root problem addressed. And yes we did all things HEPA.

    I didn't and still don't make a big  deal out of subway and pizza and goldfish.  

    I can feel your pain. I would definitely recommend finding an eating disorder specialist immediately and also visit her physician if you haven't already. I was in a very similar situation with my daughter about a year ago (she was a few years younger than your daughter though). A previously picky eater, she rather suddenly became depressed and very avoidant of eating, with very OCD-like rules about food. We tried regular talk therapy for awhile and it was useless. The therapist claimed I was "giving her too much leeway" with food and that she must be acting out about some deep seated trauma (typical mother-blaming stuff!). Eventually she lost so much weight we ended up in the eating disorder unit at Stanford for a week. In her case, it turned out she was suffering from something called PANDAS and was treated with a combination of anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and therapy.

     Now, that might not be the case with your daughter but no matter the underlying cause, I can highly recommend Elizabeth Burns Kramer in Rockridge, who specializes in eating disorders. http://www.elizabethburnskramer.com/ Elizabeth worked with us after my daughter came out of hospital and it made all the difference. She is super warm and kind and she helped us come up with some really creative strategies - not just talking! She is young too, and I think she would be relatable for teens. I can also recommend the book about childhood eating disorders called "Giving Food a Chance" by Julie O' Toole. It contains a ton of useful information and it reassured me that yes, my child was suffering from a eating disorder, and no, it wasn't my fault or hers! Best of luck to you and please feel free to reach out to me directly.

  • My 16 year old is battling bulimia and is currently being seen at Kaiser WC metal health. She hasn't qualified for the intensive (3day/ wk) program at this point and unfortunately, that's the only way we'd have access to a Kaiser "eating disorder" nutritionist.  I'm willing to go out of network and would love someone familiar with the Maudsley approach as our entire family is willing to heal and get educated along with her.

    Grateful for some leads close to Walnut Creek.

    Hi there;

    While I am not familiar with the approach, but because I was myself bulimic from 16 to 24 and have today 26 years of recovery, I would just like to offer my support to your family or your daughter alone (if she wanted it, someone to talk to in confidence, and whose been there - there was no one there for me when I was younger and it may have helped...).

    Let me know, if you wish to talk, or if she does.

    I wish you the best on this journey ... one day it will be better and she will not do this anymore. 

    I can recommend Michele Vivas based on my daughter's treatment with her.  I am not sure what her referral procedure is or if she has any openings, but she is highly regarded in this area.  Good luck to you and your daughter in this difficult journey.

    http://www.michelevivas.com/

  • I am looking for resources for my 9 year girl old who is barely eating and dangerously underweight. Her BMI is around 12. This is out of the blue and has come on pretty quickly- no other health problems (we have seen family doctor) or traumas and no apparent body image problems that we know of. She is already seeing a children's therapist but I think we need some sort of eating disorder clinic or specialist- we are besides ourselves with worry. Most everywhere I look seems geared to the adolescent. Does anyone know how the programs at Stanford and UCSF Children's hospital compare? They say they treat kids but website mainly talks about teens. Any other places I should look? We are in the East Bay but will go where we need to.....we have a PPO. Thanks for any insight!

    I'm sorry for your understandable worry!   We met with Michele Vivas about four years ago (without daughter present) when our daughter was about 7.  She was eating very little, dipped just into the region of worry on her pediatric weight curve, and was starting to seem very tired in a way that concerned us.  Michele was very helpful, had good insight and explanations, and had enough strategies to suggest at one visit that we managed to turn things around.  The kid remains on the lean, lower end of the growth curve for weight, and remains fairly food-"selective", but is healthy and doing well.  I don't know if she takes insurance, we paid out of pocket.  www.michelevivas.com, her number is 510-595-9474 and her office is in Rockridge.  Hope you get some good advice. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


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Questions about Teens


Helping a young family member with bulimia

March 2016

Hello all,

We've recently realized that a young extended family member is bulimic. We want to help her (she is estranged from her immediate family), and are looking into ways to do so. We would appreciate it if:

1. Anyone in the community has a referral for a local (East Bay) therapist who is highly skilled in treating eating disorders, in addition to other trauma. 2. Anyone who has recovered from an eating disorder - what helped you the most? What do you see as the most effective way for family members to support someone who has an eating disorder? 3. Advice on how to approach the initial conversation, and how to help her to admit she has a problem and seek help - we have not yet discussed it with her.

Thank you all for your responses!


I was anorexic as a teenager, before the idea of eating disorders became ''mainstream''. There was no support for me. I was lucky to spontaneously ''snap out of it'' during a summer trip after high school. More recently I have noticed that Alta Bates has a residential eating disorders clinic. I have no idea how successful it is, but it's something to look into. My own daughter is 14 and for the past few years I have been super diligent about being supportive of her self image. Best wishes to your family member. recovered


I highly recommend Overeaters Anonymous, which despite its name is a recovery program for anyone with complusive food behaviors, including anorexia and bulimia. It's a 12-step program modeled on AA. I've been involved for about six months for an overeating problem and have been blown away. There are many people with powerful stories of long-term recovery (including anorexia and bulimia) and the program offers a strong support group and tools that are adaptable to tackle your own individual problem. No dues, no diets, no weigh-ins, just a different approach to life. It takes willingness, of course, but the first step is just to attend a meeting and hear from other people about their experiences. If you want more information, call me at 510-928-2225. I could probably arrange for someone with recovery from bulimia to talk to your extended family member. Go to eastbayoa.org to find a convenient meeting to attend. There are some meetings just for young people. OA member


Hi: I have a family member with an eating disorder right now, we are still in the midst of it so I cannot say what helped us ''cure'' it. However, I can provide some feedback, For therapists, Vandana Aspen in Pleasanton, and Christina Stewart in Berkeley. The clinic at LPCH, Stanford has decades of experience.

The therapist we work with has framed a couple family sessions around what the patient has said are weak areas and could use support. So I am now involved in very specific ways such as being near the open bathroom door during showers to inhibit purging in the shower.

I have been amazed at the gravity of an eating disorder. For example, when electrolytes are ''off'', the heart can stop beating... just start with that... this is really serious stuff. It is more than ''not eating'' it involves serious malnutrition and potentially fatal consequences. Bulimia has specific affects on body tissues and teeth. There is a ton of stuff to learn about it, I'm sure anyone who has been involved with an eating disorder could write volumes here.

There are books available from various perspectives - some from the patient, some from the parents, etc. Brave Girl Eating is a book I like. There are things called ''triggers'' - might be helpful to learn about, Ana and Mia are not just girls' names, ''thinspiration'' is a thing... I have spent time reporting facebook pages where people promote and support eating disorders.

As far as the initial conversation, it could be difficult if not impossible. At some point it is truly as if the person has been possessed by the disorder and it then manipulates everything to protect itself. Secrecy and denial are HUGE. You might not really be talking to your family member but just to the eating disorder... I got our primary care doctor involved and had her find symptoms that required that we go to a special clinic. From there, that clinic dealt with it head on - complete denial was not part of the picture anymore. If you want to try to initiate a conversation, you could approach it by listing the observations you have of the person's physical condition, skin tone, hair loss, they are always cold, loss of muscle, etc.

Be prepared to meet medical personal who are not knowledgeable about the topic. Keep looking until you are satisfied. Many people travel to the Stanford clinic.

A website, http://www.aroundthedinnertable.org might offer some useful tips.

Good Luck -it is amazing how terrible and disruptive eating disorders are. From a member of a club no one wants to join


I would recommend East Bay Behavior Therapy Center. Dr. Zuita Ona and the other therapists there are are skilled in helping adults and teens with body image problems. Their phone number is 925-956-4636 and the website address is http://eastbaybehaviortherapycenter.com/ Anonymous


UCSF also has a very good Teen and Young Adult Eating Disorders Clinic.

Your family member may think no one has noticed her illness. Bulimia is often accompanied by a lot of shame, and young people with bulimia often want help more than those with anorexia. Talk with her. Express your concerns. No judgement. This is a life threatening illness - not a product of vanity or a character flaw.

Book by leading experts on adolescent eating disorders LaGrange and Lock (Lock is at Stanford and LaGrange was at U of Chicago, now at UCSF, I think) : ''Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder'' Second Edition. Available on Amazon.

There is also the Eating Disorders Resource Center in Los Gatos for information.

Wishing you well.


My own struggle with bulimia was helped a lot when I realized that similar to alcoholism, I was not going to ''get over'' it. Though it sounds like some people have! Unlike being an alcoholic, unfortunately, you cannot avoid food entirely. So it is like being an alcoholic being constantly forced to go to bars!

I put several strict rules on myself. I did not not allow myself to know my weight, and asked for doctor's help (and everyone else) with this. (When I was pregnant they would just say ''ok'' or ''hm, you're not eating enough''.) I didn't explain, just said I was weird and really didn't want to know.

I did allow myself things that set me off, but only once a week in a controlled environment. I still have to do this. I never said, oh, I'm fine, and put myself in the path of a lot of food, and have it work. It would overwhelm me and I'd fall off the wagon basically and then give up and binge. (apparently people who think they can diet well and so expose themselves to lots of food don't diet well either so it's not just bulimics).

It was a problem in college and even now, where so many people want to meet around food, but I'd always suggest a walk, or something. Certain foods I would just have hard and fast rules and not change them. One cookie every Sat., for instance. And I would bring snacks that were ''ok'' to things where I was afraid I was going to be tempted (still do). I do now have it under control, but it feels like it is something I just have to take care of, just as I know that a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer is a bad idea--I will eat it. So I just try to control what is available at home to keep temptation down.

I also exercise a lot and eat lots of protein (and chocolate!) so I am not hungry. I didn't know until recently that I was constantly hungry, when I started having protein drinks and bars and realized I felt better.

It's hard--good luck!! It'll be ok I think, lots more known nowadays and you are on it! been there and doing fine now!


Group program for 14-year-old bulimic daughter?

Oct 2015

I have a 14 year old daughter who is bulimic. She has been referred to an eating disorder program in Walnut Creek called EDIOP. They meet three or four hours a few times a week, eat meals there, and apparently receive some therapy and skills/coping strategies.

Has anyone participated in this program? Is it successful? Does it work better for certain types of kids and not others? Our daughter is not outgoing and will not want to be with other teens, and will not warm up to group activities. Is this a characteristic that will impede her progress in the program?

Thank you for any insights anyone has out there! We are not sure if she should go or not. We are also not sure of other programs she might attend. Trying to navigate


I think you are referring to a Kaiser program. I don't know that program--but I would strongly recommend you contact Michele Vivas, the east bay expert on eating disorders. Her recommendation is worth a lot, and I would listen to her views about this program. Many, many doctors and even reputable medical care institutions are simply ill-informed about ED treatment. I had to change pediatricians twice before getting one who follows evidence-based treatment and not 1980s erroneous beliefs about EDs. If we had followed some of the bad advice from several doctors along the way, my daughter would be still sick, or even worse.

I also recommend looking at aroundthedinnertable.org. That forum is for parents of kids, teens and young adults with EDs. You can read there about others who have been successful and find great support. Ask questions on that forum, you will be answered by compassionate, experienced parents who have already been down this path and have much good advice to offer. Digging out of the ED rabbit-hole


I'm terribly sorry you and your daughter are struggling with this awful, tenacious, and dangerous illness. You don't say where you live. I am not familiar with EDIOP, but there is a very good adolescent eating disorders IOP (intensive outpatient program) in Concord called ''Casa Serena.'' There is also a very good residential treatment program - Center for Discovery - with locations in Danville and Menlo Park.

Your daughter has been referred to an IOP program for psychological treatment for a serious mental/physical illness. It isn't a day camp or a social activity. Most of the kids don't want to be there - they need to be. They may want to get better, but they don't want to do it in groups or in front of other people. There is a lot of shame. They may argue that they can get better on their own - but they CANNOT. The therapists will help your daughter engage in the program.

I strongly support you in following the medical advice you have been given, and in sending your daughter to an IOP program. Your daughter is at the age when eating disorders emerge. The more quickly they are treated, the better the odds for recovery and the less enduring physical damage may be done (to heart, bones, teeth, esophagus, stomach, intestines.) Your daughter's recovery is likely to be demanding for your whole family. I wish you every blessing for strength, patience and compassion. Try to keep in mind that your daughter is no more in control of this illness than she would be if she had pneumonia. It is a hard road. Been there


Dietitian/Nutritionist for Teen Eating Disorder

Feb 2014

I am looking for a great dietitian/nutritionist who works with teens with eating disorders. Pluses would be an office in Berkeley or Oakland, and experience with Family Based Treatment. Any recommendations? In Support of a Brave Girl


Michele Vivas, (510) 595-9474 and http://www.baeda.com/, sounds like the person you're looking for. She's very experienced with eating disorders, immensely knowledgeable, and uses the family-based / Maudsley approach. Personally, she's warm, practical, down-to-earth, and connects well with teens. She works closely with medical doctors and has a go-to list of therapists who share her approach. Our pediatrician put us in touch with her, and she has made all the difference. Stay brave


You may have difficulty getting in to see her, but the gold standard in this area is Michele Vivas (5665 College Ave, Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 595-9474). Her office is right in Market Hall, and she is super approachable and matter of fact. Wishing you the very best of luck with your brave girl...we are going through the same thing. Anon


16 year old's eating disorder after weight loss

Oct 2012

My 16 year old has eating disorder due to weight lost. She has strong resentment about medical treatment and therapy, only agrees to eat more at the condition of w/o getting too much weight back. However, I was told by the doctor that the only way to get her period back and improve her weak vital signs is to get at least 10 pounds back. Any advices of dealing with teenage girl with similar situation will be greatly appreciated. Very concerned and frustrated Mom.


You need to find a way to communicate to your daughter that she is doing her brain and body ACTIVE HARM by keeping her weight down--e.g. walk her through the implications of her period stopping (body shutting down non-vital functions in an attempt to keep going: this is an emergency response on the body's part). She is losing/has lost weight not just where she can see it but in her internal organs--including her brain. You may need to find good biological material to present her with and you probably need to scare her-but the issue is a scary one, after all.

I went through something similar with my daughter and she immediately came around once she understood what she was really doing to herself. If your daughter is at a place where she can't listen to reason, and it sound like she might be, maybe try therapy (individual or group)--she may have issues she needs to talk through and you are probably not be the person she can do that with. And there are surely local support groups that could help. Best of luck with this difficult situation. anon


So sorry to hear that your daughter is dealing with an eating disorder. I went through that myself at 16 and struggled with unhealthy eating habits (or not eating) for years. I wish my mother had addressed the situation more directly because I couldn't see how bad it was. The fact that you stop mensturating is a big problem. Please check out the Eating Disorder Treatment offered at Herrick Hospital in Berkeley. I hear it is an outstanding program. Eating disorders are about control, and you likely won't be able to get her to eat more. She needs to realize that it is problem and learn to take care of herself, sooner rather than later. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck with this. Anon


I had an eating disorder as a teen, in an era where anorexia was only a medical term. I was never formally diagnosed and feel very fortunate that I somehow got out of it on my own. After my son went through a residential treatment program for addictions, he was indignant that I hadn't told him about this aspect of my health history. He told me that eating disorders are considered a form of addiction. His justification for needing to know is that it showed an inherited susceptibility to addiction. (Given what he had gone through, I have no cause to question his statements.) So... Has your daughter been evaluated by a qualified medical person? If so, and therapy was recommended, then tell her it's appropriate. Alta Bates has a residential eating disorders program--they take it seriously. And not to scare you, but left untreated it can become very dangerous. Karen Carpenter died from anorexia not long after I recovered. And best wishes to your daughter. She's lucky that eating disorders are taken seriously these days. Grateful survivor


Hi, Since your daughter is willing to gain weight but is concerned about gaining ''too much'', I suggest that she consults with a nutritionist. Michelle Vivas, 510 595-9474, in Rockridge, is very experienced working with people with eating disorders and providing nutritional support. Perhaps she can allay your daughter's fears. experienced mom


Hello. I'm so sorry to hear of your daughter's struggles with food. I have walked that walk as a parent and it was frightening and beyond frustrating. One strategy I used was to take my daughter's passion, which was dance, and tell her she couldn't do it until she was at a safe weight. But I kept her close to it (watching rehearsals etc. ) so she became hungry for it and eventually decided to start eating again so she could dance.

Of course there was therapy etc. and she too, was very angry and resistant to it all. Along the way we met a great nutritionist who, for some reason, did not annoy my daughter. I recommend her highly. Her name is Tami Lyon (in SF and Marin.) You can find her number online. It's such a hard, and complex disorder. I wish you and your daughter well. Been there.


Call Michele Vivas http://www.baeda.com/ (510) 595-9474 She is a nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders. She was able to help my daughter see what she was doing to herself, and the very real danger she was in. I am very grateful to Michele-she stopped the eating disorder in its tracks and reversed it. She was worth every penny-it's your daughter's health and life we're talking about-if she had a diagnosis of diabetes, you'd do whatever had to be done to help her-same is true for an eating disorder-your daughter needs help, is not in control of the situation (though she may think she is). anon


18 years old boy needs help to treat bulimia

Oct 2011

Hi, I am a mother of 18 years old boy who is suffering eating desorder. I just realized that every time he eats, he goes to bathroom turn on the shower, than nobody can hear him, and start to provoke vomiting. Before that I new something wrong was happening with him. But he never wants to talk, every time I tried, he said he didn't want to talk and locked into his room.

I am desperate because I never thought that could happen with him. He is a happy boy, he loves to dance, he is a ballet dancer. I don't know how to start to resolve this problem, because he is already 18 years old and do not want to talk about that.

If somebody can help me organize my ideas and figure out how I can help him, I will really apreciate. Thank you very much for who can help me. Desperate mom.


I'm so sorry your son is suffering with this. I know that the dance/ballet world, especially, has very high rates of eating disorders amongst young dancers. Years ago I was involved with the 12 step program Overeaters Anonymous. There were groups w/in OA specifically for bulimia and anorexia and I think there are teen groups as well. You can find a local meeting on line. HOpefully your son will go, but if he wont', you should go. The 12 step groups are all welcoming and friendly. Good luck anon


I'm sorry to hear about your son. His symptoms are very frightening. I would take him to see a therapist immediately. The longer an individual is bulimic, the harder it is to get better. You and your son both need support and help with this. I would recommend a very skilled eating disorder specialist to you -- Lisa Bograd, MFT. She has a lot of experience with teens with eating disorders. She has an office in the east bay and one in SF. You can't deal with this alone! Her number is 415-820-3929. Good luck!


We discovered that our 14 year old daughter was bulimic much in the same way as you, using showering to disguise her purging. We ended up sending her to an inpatient eating disorder hospital for one month. It was a very hard decision to make, but for her it was lifesaving. Inpatient provides a full day of a variety of therapies for them. DBT, CBT, group and individual therapy. They even coordinate the homework with their high schools. She did not want to go of course, but now looks back on her time there fondly. She became very close to the other girls and still stays in touch. They are a good resource for her to stay on track. They are really supportive of one another. We found a program our health insurance would pay for. Unfortunately this one does not take boys. I think Stanford has a two week program. Good luck with your son. been there


Support for parent of teen with eating disorder

Jan 2009

does anyone have any therapist recommendation for parent support with dgthr with eating disorder in East Bay? a therapist with United Behavioral Health group? How about for young adult with eating disorder? thank you! therapist search ED


This is a serious medical and psycological condition that needs to be addressed NOW. I apologize that I missed your original post, so I am not certain that I am addressing your question to the point. Lucille Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford offers a comprehensive clinic and inpatient program for children with eating disorders. The patients are followed by an MD, cared for by nurses, seen by a therapist and other specialists are available to help you child if need be. A wonderful and essential resource for this journey. I would at the very least give the physicans or psychiatrists there a call for referrals in your area if that program is not an option for you. Anon


14-year-old son's induced vomiting

May 2007

Last night I walked into the bathroom and found my 14 yr old son trying to throw up because he said he had eaten too much earlier in the evening and his stomach hurt. I'm afraid that he may be heading toward some body image/bulimia/anorexia type thing.

He's normal weight, with a good appetite, has never dieted, but I know he's concerned about his body (what teen isn't) and wants to be fit and muscular. How worried should I be? He doesn't binge, so I don't think it was a bulimic purge, but still it was frightening to see.

We eat a healthy diet, and have always stressed eating until feeling full and then stopping. I've allowed him to self regulate (mostly) in this way since the beginnning, and thought everything was going well, since he is at an ideal weight for his height. But what I saw last night really has me shaken.

How should I handle this? worried mom


I think you need a professional to gage how serious this is. I would be concerned too. Call his doctor. If you want a referral to a male therapist, I'll just tell you a friend of mine told me about a terrific guy she found, Mick Hausauer. He's helped her son with something completely different. But I noticed that most therapists seem to be women and a teenage boy may prefer a man. Mr. Hausauer's number: 510-654-2311. I wish you the best. another mom


Support for teenagers with eating disorders

April 2005

I was wondering if anyone knew of a weekly therapy or support group for teenagers with eating disorders, specifically anorexia/bulimia. I know that Overeaters Anonymous has groups but this does not attract young women. The best resource would be a weekly therapy group that meets in the late afternoon or early evening. Thanks.


My daughter struggled with anorexia for several years, and while I had good health insurance (Blue Cross PPO), it was very difficult to find coordinated care for eating disorders here in the East Bay. At the height of her troubles, we sought treatment at Stanford Children's Hospital, because they have an outpatient clinic that integrates group work, individual therapy, nutrition and physician care. The only similar system here is at Kaiser.

When we wearied of travelling to Palo Alto, we found a therapist at Kaiser Oakland who also conducted private practice. She tried to get entree for my daughter to Kaiser groups, but they would not allow non-Kaiser paitents in to their sessions. We learned that private practice pyschologists are reluctant to hold groups, because the psycology of the disorder is that individuals can either learn new ways to perpetrate the behavior through others in the group, or they can get support for overcoming it--the former being a big liability risk for a psychologist without a large pool of patients to draw from.

Ultimately, we put together a triage here that replicated the Stanford care: our family physician followed the Stanford protocol of weight monitoring and setting limits on weigh loss and other activities; she collaborated with a nutritionist who agreed on pace of weight gain, eating protocols, etc; and they both worked with the therapist who played the role of calming the waters as new, more healthy behaviors were instituted, helping examine the self-destructive thoughts, and working to mediate the family dynamics that become so central to the agony of eating disorders. We never found a group setting once she was out of hospital care.

Throughout all of this, I always felt like yoga, acupuncture, meditation--energetic things that helped calm my daughter's anxiety--were as critical as the structures the triage gave her.

The therapists trained in eating disorders who helped us: Therapists: Thomasine McFarlin 510.538-0304 (near telegraph and derby); Manda Hakimi-Ederer (415) 710-9301 (practice on Piedmont ave); Nutritionist: Michelle Vivas: (510) 595-9474 (Rockridge).

If you're a parent who wants to talk to another who has come out the other end, call me.

Anonymous out of respect for my daughter's privacy


Therapist in SF for teen's eating disorder

Jan 2005

Hello,
My 19 year old daughter has an eating disorder and has expressed a desire to see a therapist again. She has some difficulty trusting doctors, etc. due to a past negative experience in counseling. She is attending college in San Francisco and lives on campus, so I am seeking referrals for female therapists in San Francisco who specialize in working with teens and eating disorders. Thanks in advance for your help.


I highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin . She specializes in eating disorders and has an office in San Francisco as well as the East Bay. She does very well with making young women and teens girls feel comfortable. Her numbers are 415-401-7180 and 510-652-0990. Good luck. anon


Anya Lane DMH in San Francisco is excellent with teenagers and eating disorders. She can be reached at (415) 346-1466. Jules


20-year-old daughter has eating disorder

2001

My 20 year old daughter suffers from an eating disorder. She has admitted she has a problem and has agreed to go for counseling. I am looking for a counselor who comes well recommended and has experience dealing with this issue. We would prefer someone in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito area, but are willing to travel a bit if necessary to get the right person. Thanks for your help.



While my daughter was being treated for an eating disorder, her therapist recommended an excellent family therapist who we all went to together alongside her therapy with my daughter, named Dr. DiMartini.


Preston Parsons Alvarez was someone who was recommended to us by my daughter's adolescent medicine doctor at Kaiser, Dr. Tipton. Preston is not a Kaiser provider -- she is private and this is costly. We decided we had more confidence in the private sector than Kaiser Permanente when it came to psychological help. I interviewed 5 therapists, including Preston, over the phone in lengthy conversations and then presented the results to my daughter. Ultimately, it was my daughter's decision. My daughter feels as good about Preston now as she did 5 years ago. Preston worked for many years in the in-patient units for eating disorder teens back in the days when they were subsidized by the government. She worked well with my daughter, and also consulted well with the psychiatrist who treated my daughter when she became an in-patient through Kaiser.


For the woman looking for a therapist who works with individuals' eating disorders... I would highly recommend Kirsten Beuthin . She is a thoughtful, dedicated and caring clinician who not only specializes in this area of work but is excellent working with adolscents and young adults. She is not in the East Bay, but isn't too far; she's across the San Rafael Bridge out in the Kentfield area and can be reached at 415 419-3576. She may also have a sliding scale if cost is a factor, but her rates are generally in the $70 per session range. She'll also know about adjunctive resources for your daughter should that be necessary. Michael


There is an excellent eating disorders psychologist in Berkeley. Her name is Dr. Sheila Byrns, 649-7979, 3020 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 10, Berkeley 94705. She will be on vacation from September 17 - October 17, but probably could recommend someone in her absence as well.


in reply to the Eating Disorder advice wanted entry: Jane Kaplan is an experienced therapist who specializes in eating disorders. Her practice is in Albany


My daughter identified her eating disorder to us, a combination of both bulemia and anorexia, when she was 16 years old. At first, as we made it through each day, we weren't sure if she was would make it. She is now 21 years old and a senior at U.C.S.C., working, and living on her own. She still comes back to Berkeley to see the therapist we found for her, and still attends her peer group that is run by an intern under her therapist as well. Preston Parsons Alvarez was someone who was recommended bo us by her adolescent medicine doctor at Kaiser, Dr. Tipton. Preston is not a Kaiser provider -- she is private and this is costly. We decided we had more confidence in the private sector than Kaiser Permanente when it came to psychological help. I interviewed 5 therapists, including Preston, over the phone in lengthy conversations and then presented the results to my daughter.

Ultimately, it was my daughter's decision. Preston, in turn, recommended an excellent family therapist who we all went to together alongside her therapy with my daughter, named Dr. DiMartini (don't recall his first name, maybe John). My daughter feels as good about Preston now as she did 5 years ago. Preston worked for many years in the in-patient units for eating disorder teens back in the days when they were subsidized by the government. She worked well with my daughter, and also consulted well with the psychiatrist who treated my daughter when she became an in-patient through Kaisewas totally paid for by Kaiser ($48,000). But we paid for Preston ourselves, which was around $20,000 over a several year period. These are the realities of private medicine. And this was the total after we received some reimbursement from New York Life, which was covered $1000 per year for the first couple of years by her step-father. It's an enormous long-haul, something which is ongoing. One way to look at it is that it takes a long time to go in this direction, and takes some time to make a different pathway. I wish you great luck with your child.


An additional resource for the young woman dealing with an eating disorder is Overeater's Anonymous. Though the name says Overeater the program, which is based on the same principles as AA, is for anyone facing any eating disorder. Best wishes to this young woman and her family.


On the eating disorders question, my son was starting to have eating problems associated with athletic stuff. Our pediatrician sent us to Michelle Vivas (642-5075), who is a nutritionist who works with athletes and with issues around eating disorders. She told me on the phone that she had names of a number of Bay Area therapists who specialize in this issue. In our case, just the very thorough interview with Michelle seemed to be successful in getting my son eating again. He really liked her, by the way. She would be a place to start, if not to finish.


Recommendations from Therapists Re: 20-year-old daughter has eating disorder (2001)

Editor Note:
Several therapists also wrote in to share recommendations from their own professional experience as well as suggestions from their colleagues. These appear below.


My name is Patty Hertz. I am a social worker and founder of the Magic Mirror Girls' Program; an educational service whose mission is to promote positive body and self image for middle school girls. Here at two therapists who specialize in eating disorders:
Jane Kaplan, Ph.D. 510-524-6117
Elizabeth Scott 415-488-9007

I also recommend a center in Marin called Beyond Hunger. Their web-site is www.beyondhunger.org

A national web-site with a lot of information and links is www.edap.org (eating disorders awareness prevention)


I can recommend you to very good people in the east bay: Linda Riebel, 2029 Durant, Berkeley 524-8444 Piera Piagentini 510-704-9989, formerly dir of adolescent psych unit at Alta Bates I also highly recommend Marya Hornbacher's book WASTED.

I would be very happy to talk with you about this subject, as I have been working somewhat with several young women with eating disorders. There are also some good in-patient places, which would be easier to discuss over the phone.

I wish you and your daughter lots of luck and many blessings on this journer to healing.

Sincerely,
Meg Siddheshwari Sullivan <siddheshwari [at] earthlink.net> 510-428-0675 </siddheshwari [at] earthlink.net>


Regarding eating disorder specialists... I'm a psychologist here in the East Bay who specializes in Eating Disorders. I work with the young population but am full in my practice right now. I wanted to give you a comprehensive list of who I consult with and work with. Please make the recommendations anonymous. I can tell you that Jane Kaplan runs groups and works well with parents as well as the patient. She would be my first recommendation as a resource in the area. I think Claudia and Preston are great with young people. Susan is excellent and I think a little better suited to an older population. Alison has a good reputation but her work I am not as familiar with. I gave you a list because we all tend to run pretty full at this time of year when school returns and Cal is back in session. Here is a list all in Berkeley, Oakland, Albany:
Jane Kaplan,PhD 510-524-6117
Susan Sands,PhD 510-841-4889
Alison Trules,PhD 510-654-5582
Claudia Toomey,PhD 510-339-2373
Preston Parsons, PhD 510-653-5504
Diane Cohen, PhD 510-653-1464


From: Eileen Crean, MFT, therapist, and parent of BHS Sophomore

I am forwarding this referral info re: teen eating disorders from the etree of the East Bay chapter of California Marriage & Family Therapists. I have announced to the EBCAMFT etree that I am posting their suggestions. They are happy to have the word of mouth recommendations posted to the greater public. Several have written back with their permission.

- AltaBates inpatient programs for eating disorders and their psychiatrist, Dr. McKnight, whose specialty is EDOs. She works with adolescents. She might be able to refer to outpatient therapists who specialize.

- Jane Kaplan, Ph.D., at 524-6117. On Solano and Curtis in Albany. She is doing extensive work with teen girls with eating disorders and the parents. She is an eating disorders specialist. Very smart and competent.

- Vicki Ryan, at 591-0862, in Oakland.

- Marcia Perlstein, in Berkeley, three blocks north of University on Martin Luther King. 510 486-1662

- Patricia Burke, Ph.D. 510-523-4851 works with biofeedback, EMDR, neurolinks plus kineseology. in San Leandro about a 5 minute walk from Bart.


I specialise in both teens and eating disorders. I have worked in many settings treating teens--residential treatment, outpatient clinics and in private practice. In addition, I am both a Marriage and Family Therapist and Registered Dietitian having experience in both fields treating teens, adults and some males with eating disorders. Currently, I have some day and evening appointments available in Castro Valley. Catherine Kvikstad, MFT Marriage and Family Therapist (510) 537-1606 Castro Valley


Two very good therapists who specialize in eating disorders: Joan Wickstrand MFT 530-9434 (Alameda), and Esther Lerman MFT (No. Oakland) 548-6241.


I have an office in Oakland and SF and specialize in working w/adults w/eating disorders individually and in group. I have a group in Oakland on Wednesday evenings from 7:10-8:40pm. This group is process-oriented and addresses food addiction and body image. I also teach a class at Oakland Kaiser called Food for Thought and it addresses people's food use and abuse. It includes some interesting exercises w/food, meditation, and helpful tools. It is open to Kaiser members for $40 for 8 weeks, and non-members for $80 for 8 weeks. You can reach me @ 510-436-4055.
Helene Redmond


I have my practice in Berkeley and I focus on treating eating disorders, especially compulsive eating and bulimia. I also accept referrals for anorexia if the individual is working closely with their physician. In addition, I work with mother/child dyads (child can be any age, but I work primarily with younger children to pre-teen) to help mothers foster attuned and healthy eating in their children. You may forward my name if you wish. Kellie Carbone, MFT (510) 594-8262


Questions about Adults


Mom with eating disorder - raising a healthy daughter?

Dec 2012

Does anyone know of any resources for moms who have eating disorders? Not moms of kids with eating disorders, but moms who have them themselves. I'm struggling with trying to raise my daughter to have a healthy relationship with food, while my own is so screwed up. Thanks - Struggling Mom


This is a great resource by Karen Schachter: DishingWithYourDaughter.com She has a newsletter about healthy relationship with food. she is a mom who recovered from an eating disorder and is on a mission to break the cycle and help other women and their daughters change their relationship to food. She also does 1:1 consulting. My mother is 72 and has an eating disorder, still. I congratulate you for seeking help. Don't give up. It is a strain on our relationship to this day. it's worth it to keep trying


Therapist for adult eating disorders?

Nov 2009

Do you have a recommendation for a therapist in the east bay who specializes in eating disorders with adults? looking for someone who would take United Health Insurance. Thank you.


Dr. Jill Rodgers-Quaye is a highly qualified therapist with expertise in treating eating disorders- she is well known in the bay area as one of the top therapists in this speciality and she is very pragmatic as well as easy to talk with. Check out her website at drjillrodgersquaye.com for more info. Satisfied customer


Therapist needed for compulsive overeating and bulimia

August 2008

I'm looking for a therapist in Berkeley who focuses primarily on food issues; compulsive overeating and bulimia in particular. Any insurance is fine, just somebody who is easy to talk to and not judgmental. Thanks


Try Fern Nemenay she has an office in Berkeley 510-654-9448. She has a lot of experience with food issues. anon


Alison McCabe, MFT is very experienced with food issues and eating disorders. She is in Berkeley or Oakland. (510)273-9969


I know that Lisa Lancaster, who is a fabulous therapist, sees a lot of patients with eating disorders. 510-841-2525. a.


Eating Disorder Therapy in Lamorinda, Walnut Creek

June 2006

Hi there, My entire life, I've been battling with my weight. I went on several diets, and found that the tricky thing for me is the uncontrollable desire to eat chocolate (lots of chocolate - at least 2.5 lbs a day).

Yes, I've been to therapy before without much success. I was a teenager then and I am hoping that at 37 I am open enough to tackle a significant change.

AFTER the birth of my first and only 2 year son, I gained over 60 lbs. I had post partum depression and I am still taking anti- depressants. I just cannot lose it. I am able to control food intake and exercise but I cannot control the binging. It got to a point that I cannot even look at myself in the mirror anymore. I need help immediately.

So...any leads on therapists, psychologists or psychiatrist specialized in eating disorder 'beyond' the Caldecott tunnel would be deeply appreciated. Thanks!


Why not give Overeaters Anonymous a try? It's free and I personally have seen people experience miraculous results after years of all kinds of extremely serious bingeing, purging, starving and compulsive eating of all types. You can find information about OA and a list of meetings in your area here: http://www.dvig.org/ or here: www.oa.org Anon


I don't have a specific recommendation for a therapist, but I can recommend a woman who specializes in regulating sugar cravings and depression, among other things, through the use of amino acids, herbs, and other supplements. She will tell you that your cravings are likely related to something your body actually needs and is trying to get via the chocolate. Her name is Julia Ross and she is in Marin and has written two books, The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure. I worked with her several years ago and the amino acids really helped. I beleive GABA is the one that reduces sugar cravings. I hope this is helpful. I am glad you are seeking help. anon


Help with compulsive overeating

May 2005

I am looking for a therapist who can help me with compulsive overeating/food addiction and my general inability to take care of myself physically. I would prefer to see someone with an MSW or a PhD, but would be open to providers with other education if they are really good. Thank you for your help! anon


I highly recommend Victoria Green, MFT. Her focus is eating disorders and food/body issues. She is also a nutritionist. Her office is located in San Francisco in Laurel Village but she will occasionally take a session over the phone if you are unable to get there. Her number is 415.974.9322. I believe her fee is $95/hour. She has also recovered from an eating disorder so she can relate on a very deep level. I encourage you to call. anon


Treatment for chronic adult bulimia

March 2005

Can anyone give me a current recommenedation for a therapist or psychiatrist (or other) for the treatment of chronic adult bulimia? Anyone know of any new medical treatments? Any ''alternative'' treatments? Thanks.


You might contact Kirsten Beuthin to get information and/or treatment for eating disorders. She helped me and my family deal with our daughter's bulimia. She is in Oakland and SF. 510-652-0990 or 415-401-7180.


Dr. Tara Rech is a wonderful therapist with an office on Collage Ave. She helped me with bulimia some years back. Goodluck! anon


Julia Ross in Marin County is a therapist-turned-nutritionist who treats eating disorders with nutrition, vitamins, etc. She has a book out, ''The Diet Cure''. If you go to her office, I recommend you see Julia for your appointments, not one of her assistants. jenny


Dr.Francis Dreher, in Kensington at Colusa Circle is a hypnotherapist who works with eating disorders (and other issues) and has had many successes. He's at 528 3738.


I do not have a recommendation for a therapist, but a friend of mine started a website on eating disorders that you should take a look at, called paysonroad.com. Best of luck to you. been there


I have several friends and a relative who have recovered from bulimia and/or anorexia through Overeaters Anonymous, a free 12- step program. They have a website at www.oa.org, which has a link to a list of local meetings. I guess you could call OA an ''alternative'' treatment for bulimia. Anon


I also wanted to let you know about another 12-step program for folks with eating disorders --http://www.foodaddicts.org/ -- this program is amazing and really strong here in the Bay Area. The focus is on being completely abstinent from overeating, undereating, throwing up, and other unhealthy behavior around food. I went to a psychiatrist, a therapist specializing in eating disorders, and Overeaters Anonymous before finally finding FA three years ago. The change in my life has been amazing -- I'm at a healthy weight, I'm happy, and food is finally ''in its proper place'' -- not something I obsess about, worry about, or even really think about :) If you're interested, check out a meeting (look on the website for days/times) -- there are a lot in SF and the East Bay. You'll find people of all ages, races, and experiences (folks who've lost 100+ pounds, folks who've stopped starving themselves or throwing up, folks who didn't have a weight problem but have overcome an unhealthy obsession with food and weight ...) and a ton of support. Good luck to you! Finally free


Low-cost therapy for binge eating disorder

March 2004

I have binge eating disorder and am seeking a good therapist who specializes in treating eating disorders. I would also like to find a therapy or support group for people with eating disorders. I am sure there are many good therapists and groups that address this issue, but the problem is that my eating disorder was triggered by financial stress, so I am seeking low fee and or sliding scale options. I'd prefer something in the East Bay (El Cerrito, Albany, Oakland, Berkeley) or nearby (San Rafael), but would consider driving farther if necessary. I'd appreciate any advice or referrals. Thanks!


contact stanford university hospital. they have an inpatient eating disorder unit that deals with both anorexia and bulimia. they may have recommendations on therapists and groups on the east bay. please, please, please pursue a group, individual therapy and medical evaluation on a regular basis. all are essential for your recovery and day to day health monitoring. anon


Overeaters Anonymous is a wonderful support group for people who have issues with food - undereating, overeating, purging, etc. Members include people from all ages, races and backgrounds and both sexes. Plus, you can't beat the cost - free! Go to the east bay website at www.oaeastbay.org Lisa


Mother suffering from bulimia

July 2001

Can anyone recommend a therapist (or other treatment option) for a mother suffering from bulimia? I have looked at the UCParents website and have not seen any information on this topic. Any information would be welcome. Thank you.


Preston Parsons, LCSW. She is located in Rockridge. Good luck. Sara


I would highly recommend Peggy O'Neil (843-8959), located here in Berkeley. Peggy is the director for the Eating Disorders Treatment Program at JFK University in Orinda (the program trains therapists & health care providers in the diagnosis & specialized treatment interventions of all eating disorders). She has dedicated a large portion of her professional career to working with those w/ eating disorders & is highly knowledgeable/experienced. She also has a good working relationship w/ several MDs & nutritionists in the area which is also very important for safe, thorough care of someone w/ an eating disorder. I have trained under her in the program at JFK as well as collaborated w/ her on a few cases. I have found her to be very approachable & well liked by her patients, students & colleagues alike. Romy


I would recommend Pamela Zelnik, MFT, a therapist who has worked with eating disorders (including bulimia), post-traumatic stress (response to child post dog-bite), and integrates a cognitive-behavioral approach into her work. She has been treating individuals, couples, and families for over 13 years. She is astute at teasing out issues, is warm and very easy to talk to. She is also the mother of a 3-yr-old, so she has first-hand (and not just clinical) experience with many of the therapeutic issues facing parents. She has an office in Berkeley and can be reached at 527-0274. Good luck. Janet


Can't recommend a therpist for bulimia, but Overeaters Anonymous has meetings for bulimics. Also people with bulimia are addressed and welcome at all of the meetings. The therapy at OA lies in the support from other members with the same problems. Years ago I was involved with OA as a compulsive overeater and got unbelievable benefit from the meetings and made a lot of close friends as well as conquered my compulsion. OA is in the phone book and there are meetings all over the Bay Area.