Eating Disorder Treatment


If you’re stopping by this page, it’s probably because you’re wondering if you, or someone you love, might be struggling with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are psychological conditions that can develop into unhealthy eating habits. T getting progressively more dangerous the longer they’re left untreated. They often start with an unhealthy obsession with food, body image, or physical appearance.

A paper cutout of a woman sees a distorted view of themselves. Contact an eating disorder therapist in St. Pete, FL to learn more about eating disorder treatment in Tampa, FL and the support online eating disorder therapy in Tampa, FL can offer. Symptoms of eating disorders can vary from binging and purging, over-exercising, obsessing over caloric intake, restricting food intake, and even starving oneself in an attempt to reach an ideal weight or body type. Eating disorders can affect people of any body type or  lifestyle, and are not limited by gender or age, although it has been reported that males seek treatment at a lower rate than females. 

In the most severe circumstances, left untreated, an eating disorder can lead to irreversible physical and mental damage, and can even lead to death. 


Symptoms can vary depending on the disorder, but every eating disorder involves a deep focus on food intake and weight gain (or loss). Some signs to look for include:

  • Obvious and dramatic weight loss
  • Anxiousness about gaining weight
  • Skipping meals
  • An obsession with tracking food or calorie intake
  • Aversions to specific foods
  • Observing unhealthy or neurotic behaviors around cooking and eating food
  • Excessive exercise or physical activity
  • Obsessing over the scale (weighing oneself repeatedly)
  • Constantly dressing in a way that hides your physical appearance
  • Hiding food

There are also physical signs to look for. These can include:

  • Frequent stomach issues
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Not sleeping well or sleeping too much
  • Thinning hair and fingernails
  • Always feeling cold
  • Sores in the mouth or on the fingers (from inducing vomiting after eating)
  • Menstrual irregularities in women
  • Low heart rate
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Irregular blood work


Mayo Clinic defines them this way:

Anorexia Nervosa 

Often simply called anorexia — is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight. People with anorexia place a high value on controlling their weight and shape. They using extreme efforts that tend to significantly interfere with their lives.

Bulimia  Nervosa

Commonly called bulimia — is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder. When you have bulimia, you have episodes of bingeing and purging that involve feeling a lack of control over your eating. Many people with bulimia also restrict their eating during the day, which often leads to more binge eating and purging.

Binge-eating disorder

When you have a binge-eating disorder, you regularly eat too much food (binge) and feel a lack of control over your eating. You may eat quickly or eat more food than intended, even when you’re not hungry, and you may continue eating even long after you’re uncomfortably full.

A close up of a plate with a scale in the middle. This could repreesent the struggles of eating disorders an online eating disorder therapist in Tampa, FL can offer support with overcoming. Learn more about online eating disorder therapy in Tampa, FL today.After a binge, you may feel guilty, disgusted, or ashamed by your behavior and the amount of food eaten. But you don’t try to compensate for this behavior with excessive exercise or purging, as someone with bulimia or anorexia might. Embarrassment can lead to eating alone to hide your bingeing.

A new round of bingeing usually occurs at least once a week. You may be normal weight, overweight or obese.

Eating Disorder Unspecified

Unspecified feeding or eating disorder (UFED) applies to presentations in which symptoms characteristic of a feeding and eating disorder that cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functions predominate but do not meet the full criteria for any of the disorders in the feeding and eating disorders diagnostic class.

Disordered Eating 

The term “disordered eating” refers to food- and diet-related behaviors that don’t meet diagnostic criteria for recognized eating disorders (EDs) but may still negatively affect someone’s physical, mental, or emotional health.


Eating disorder treatment is often treated with a team approach. Some people choose to start by talking to their primary care physician about their struggles. Others start with a mental health professional, who can work hand in hand with a PCP and dietitian to help provide medical care, as well as help with meal planning and nutritional support. It is also imperative that a person suffering from disordered eating have a group of friends and family that can help hold them accountable, as well as offer long-term support.

It’s important to understand that treating an eating disorder can be a lifetime challenge. Even after the disordered eating is under control, it’s still vital to the patient that they maintain contact with their support team, and that the members continue to communicate and work together to provide long-term support. This is especially important for teens who are struggling. In those cases, parental support is imperative for healing and success. 

Your treatment team will work with you to come up with a plan, utilize coping skills, treat the physical and mental challenges that come with disordered eating, and identify the resources that will help you overcome your struggles. 

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, there are 4 types of care that are most effective for those struggling with disordered eating. They are:

  1. Intensive outpatient. This is recommended for patients who are medically and mentally stable but in need of assistance.
  2. Partial hospitalization. This method is best suited to patients who are medically stable but mentally impaired enough to require daily care. 
  3. Residential care. This method is geared toward those who are medically stable but need psychiatric care requiring more than what outpatient care can provide.
  4. Inpatient care. This form of treatment is the most extreme and is reserved for those who cannot monitor their own mental and physical health conditions. 


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT therapy is rooted in the belief that our psychological issues are caused by an unhealthy way of thinking. When someone is struggling with disordered eating, it almost always stems from unhealthy thoughts and unrealistic expectations. CBT therapy can help get to the root of those thoughts, and by treating them, can provide a solution to the problem.

Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). MNT therapy uses the basic premise that food is medicine, and therefore takes into consideration the customization of one’s diet to treat the issues. This method often includes meal planning to ensure the patient’s long-term success.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). For more information on how DBT is used to treat eating disorders, visit our blog post here! 

A top down view of 4 bread snacks with different toppings. This coulld represent feeling more comfortable with food after workign with an eating disorder therapist in St. Pete, FL. Learn more about eating disorder treatment in Tampa, FL and the support an online eating disorder therapist in Tampa, FL can offer.Jackie Dowgiallo LMHC specializes in treating disorders. If you are looking for eating disorder treatment in Tampa, or St. Pete Florida Jackie is offering in-person sessions in our Tampa office. If you are anywhere in Florida and looking for virtual care, she also offers virtual sessions available to anyone across the state. We accept United Healthcare, Optum, UHC, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana health insurance. Please reach out to us to schedule an appointment. If you are not sure if you might be suffering from an eating disorder you can talk to a therapist about your concerns and have an evaluation where you can learn more and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and concerns.

Begin Eating Disorder Treatment in Tampa, FL, and St. Pete

You don’t have to have a negative relationship with food. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to support you in navigating eating disorder recovery. We are happy to offer in-person therapy and online services across Florida. You can start your therapy journey with our Tampa, FL-based practice by reaching out to schedule a free consultation.

Other Services Offered with Wellness Psychological Services

Our team understands you may face a variety of mental health issues in addition to eating disorder treatment. We are happy to offer online therapy, counseling for depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety, stress management, relationship problems, testing and evaluation, OCD, PCIT, DBT, and EMDR therapy. Our team is happy to also provide support for people dealing with relationship issues. Our couples therapists focus on marriage counseling, divorce discernment, and collaborative divorce. We also offer therapy for professionals, life coaching, and more. Contact Wellness Psychological Services in Tampa Bay, FL today to learn more.

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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