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Early Treatment Key for Texans with Eating Disorders

PHOTO: The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating and the conditions can lead to serious health problems and even death if untreated. Photo credit: Charlotte Astrid/Flickr.
PHOTO: The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge eating and the conditions can lead to serious health problems and even death if untreated. Photo credit: Charlotte Astrid/Flickr.
February 23, 2015

BUFFALO GAP, Texas – Like many other conditions, when it comes to eating disorders, early intervention is key to recovery for those struggling with these potentially life-threatening problems.

Camela Balcomb, executive director of the Shades of Hope treatment center in central Texas, says only a small percentage of those with eating disorders seek professional help, often because the condition isn't viewed as serious or is considered just a phase.

"They don't see it as a problem,” she explains. “Society doesn't see it as impacting their lives. A lot of times someone with an eating disorder, it's not their food that gets them into trouble, it's the medical complications.

“For an anorexic, all of a sudden they have heart problems, things of that nature, so the bells go off."

In the U.S., it's estimated that 30 million people will be impacted by an eating disorder at some point in their lives, with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating the most common.

Balcomb also notes that the treatment for eating disorders needs to go beyond the plate, as there are often other co-occurring mental health issues or addictions.

"Be it alcohol, be it spending, be it drug, be it depression, be it self-harm issues – that's one that nobody ever wants to talk about,” she states. “We truly try to treat the totality of the person and not just one behavior. You've got to go into what is perpetuating the behavior. "

This is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX