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Eating disorders: Not just a teenage girl problem

Here are some commonly overlooked symptoms

By Marcus Westerman, MD, PhD
November 7, 2017

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Eating disorders can be hard to detect. Some people will hide it from family, friends and their doctor. However, recovery is not only possible, it’s probable when people get treatment early.

Eating disorders affect people of all ages and from all walks of life. At Melrose Center, we’ve treated patients as young as 6. And we’ve treated patients as old as 82. It may surprise you that binge eating disorder affects men and women at similar rates. And you might also not expect that it’s often diagnosed when people are in their 30s and 40s. When it comes to anorexia and bulimia, 1 out of every 4 patients is a man – which is a fact you might not have realized, either.

It’s important for families to know the early warning signs of eating disorders. That’s because they can play a key role in getting their loved ones help. That’s true no matter how old the person struggling is. And it’s true no matter what their gender is.

Commonly overlooked signs of eating disorders

  • Eliminating food groups from everyday meals
  • Skipping whole meals
  • Eating in secret
  • Filling up only on low-calorie foods
  • Becoming distant from friends
  • Making excuses for not eating with friends or family
  • Overeating, restrictive eating or eating fast
  • Having difficult emotions around eating
  • Constantly talking about food, calories and weight
  • Over-exercising to make up for eating

Interested in learning more?

Visit or call 952-993-6200.

About Marcus Westerman, MD, PhD

Dr. Marcus Westerman is a board certified psychiatrist and part of the Melrose Center team. He specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry. And he has a strong interest in understanding and treating eating disorders. Dr. Westerman’s goal is to help reduce the stigma of eating disorders, depression and anxiety so that these mental health concerns are identified earlier and those struggling can get treatment faster. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, going "up north" and watching movies.

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