“The first step is just knowing that there is help available,” says Dr. Neeru Bakshi, MD, a psychiatrist at the Moore Center in Bellevue. Not everyone who seeks help for an eating disorder will be diagnosed with an eating disorder, she says, but a trained professional can help you look at the big picture and figure out if there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
What if it’s not yourself you are worried about, but someone else? Dr. Bakshi suggests approaching people gently, but do approach them, as bringing attention to potential problems can be a catalyst for healing. “Eating disorders grow in places of darkness and secrecy,” she says.
Successful eating disorder treatment is almost always a team approach between a registered dietitian and a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professional. That’s because while eating disorders involve an unhealthy relationship with food, they aren’t all about the food. The dietitian can help you form healthy, balanced, flexible eating patterns while the counselor or therapist can help you address the underlying issues that helped you develop that unhealthy relationship.
There are many experienced, qualified nutrition and mental health professionals in the greater Seattle area who offer eating disorder counseling and treatment. Some are in private practice, others are in group practice, with the entire treatment team under one roof. I have interacted with staff at three eating disorder treatment centers in the area, and would recommend any of them:
The Moore Center Clinic (Bellevue)
The Emily Program (Westlake neighborhood, Seattle)
Opal Food + Body Wisdom (University District, Seattle)
The Greater Seattle Dietetic Association also has a referral list. Some of the dietitians on the list have specialized experience in working with clients who have eating disorders. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.