Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director at Clementine South Miami, talks about some truths about eating disorders: eating disorders are not choices, increased risk for both suicide & medical complications, genes & environment play important roles and full recovery is possible. The expert says she works with adolescents and they may have moments of relapse, but she believes that recovery is 100% possible with a lot of care.
Eating disorders are also family problems. Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director at Clementine South Miami, advises not forcing adolescents to eat, because they become more willful. She says it’s important to get support away of the relationship. She recommends having a team of specialists in the field of eating disorders (physicians, nutritionists, therapists, psychologists), who help the entire family in this situation.
Genetic, biological, psychological and social are the most common eating disorder risk factors. Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director at Clementine South Miami, affirms if someone has a family member with an eating disorder, she is 7 to 12 times more likely to develop it. She also says people who are more obsessive, perfectionist, high harm avoidance are more prone to develop eating disorders.
There are several anorexia signs: extremely restricted eating, extreme thinness, relentless pursuit of thinness, intense fear of gaining weight and distorted body image. Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director at Clementine South Miami, says most of teens want to change their bodies because they think this makes them more popular. She advises parents to be alert if their kids are decreasing in weight or they see any change in their behavior.
Preteens and teens are the most vulnerable to develop eating disorders. Between the ages of 12 up to 25, about 90% of the eating disorder cases are reported at that time, says Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director at Clementine South Miami. She believes there are a lot of well-meaning people that want to be healthy, they want to take of care of themselves, but also there’s a lot of fear and when someone uses an external factor to treat his body, problems may occur.