Although it is not uncommon to be self-conscious of one's weight, some individuals take these concerns to the extreme by developing abnormal eating habits and/or weight loss methods. Recent statistics show that eating disorders affect more than 8 million Americans. Starvation, binge eating, purging and compulsive exercising are just a few of the behaviors associated with eating disorders. Features of eating disorders often go undetected; yet, they constitute serious health problems. While the psychological and emotional effects are devastating, the medical complications of eating disorders have severe and sometimes life-threatening consequences. In fact, eating disorders are the deadliest of all psychiatric disorders. Research indicates that the earlier the treatment, the better the chance for a full recovery.

Our Clinical Services

The Eating Disorders Service at the NYU Child Study Center is dedicated to the prevention, assessment and treatment of eating disorders through education, research and therapy.

The Child Study Center's Eating Disorders Service provides diagnostic evaluations by expert clinicians with extensive experience. Evidenced-based treatments are offered including medication interventions, cognitive-behavioral treatment programs, and family therapy for children, adolescents and young adults suffering from Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating.

Evaluation

Following an initial telephone screening, youth with suspected eating disorders and their families are referred to a member of our specialty team. This specialist will conduct an in-depth diagnostic interview and administer several questionnaires in order to establish a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. The evaluation includes a comprehensive assessment of presenting problems, past history, medical history and a review of past treatments. Referral for additional diagnostic testing including blood work, physical examination and nutritional evaluation may be recommended.

Upon completion of the evaluation, a feedback session is held to review findings and discuss treatment recommendations.

Treatment

Although specific treatment goals are tailored to individual clients, they generally focus on re-establishing healthy eating habits, weight and body image within the context of identifying and exploring psychosocial issues that influence sense of self and impact functioning. Treatment goals address self esteem, school stress, friendships and family relationships with an emphasis on building adaptive strategies and coping skills. Eating disorders commonly co-occur with other psychiatric disorders including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse and anxiety disorders. Treatment is provided for these and other coexisting psychiatric diagnoses. Parents are seen as allies in the treatment of each child and adolescent. Coordination of care with the youngster's primary care physician is included as needed.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact an intake coordinator at (646) 754-5000 or e-mail us at services@aboutourkids.org.

Our Clinicians

Melissa Nishawala, M.D., Clinical Director
Andrea Vazzana, Ph.D.