Bellin Health offers free screenings for eating disorders

02/18/2010

GREEN BAY — Bellin Health Psychiatric Center will offer free screenings for individuals exhibiting symptoms of an eating disorder.

The screenings will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at the Bellin Health Psychiatric Center, 301 E. St. Joseph St., Green Bay.

A typical eating disorder screening consists of a 30-minute written assessment that is reviewed and scored by a mental health expert. The expert then meets with the client to ask further questions and review the assessment results. A course of action is then recommended.

“The main message we want to convey is that help is available for you or someone you know that has an eating disorder,” said Sheila Gohr, a licensed professional counselor at Bellin Health Psychiatric Center. “Eating disorders affect men, women, young adults and in some cases, children. In all cases, we can help.”

The screenings are being done in conjunction with National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, February 21-27.

Eating disorders are serious conditions that cause both physical and emotional damage. These disorders frequently occur in tandem with other mental disorders such as depression, substance abuse or anxiety disorders. The most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by self-starvation, excessive weight loss and a high rate of premature death.

Bulimia nervosa is also a potentially life-threatening eating disorder. It is characterized by periods of overeating followed by purging, sometimes through self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives.

Binge eating disorder, simply put, is out-of-control eating. It’s characterized by consumption of large quantities of food in a very short period of time until one is uncomfortably full. Binge eating disorder is similar to bulimia except individuals do not use any form of purging following a binge. Individuals typically feel guilty and ashamed after a binge episode.

“Also, realize that there are many people that struggle with a borderline eating disorder, where they may experience some characteristics of an eating disorder, but not all,” Gohr said. “Professional help is also encouraged in these cases so that these borderline conditions do not become full-blown eating disorders.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (920) 445-7373.