Eating Disorders

Posted February 26, 2021

What is an Eating Disorder?

“Eating disorders are a range of psychological conditions that cause unhealthy eating habits to develop. They might start with an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape” (Muhlheim, 2020).  

“Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are serious mental illnesses with onset commonly during the early teen years. They have serious medical consequences, are notoriously difficult to treat, and in many cases require specialized treatment. 

Middle schools and high schools have an obligation to provide resources to support children with eating disorders as well as aid in their prevention. In many cases, schools may be an important partner in treatment. Through the power of the social environment, they can also play a significant role in prevention” (Muhlheim, 2020).

Early Intervention

Eating disorders must be addressed from both a medical and a mental health perspective for full recovery to occur. Early intervention is crucial. The sooner one gets help, the greater the likelihood that they will get better. Without early intervention eating disorders may become chronic, or even fatal. 

  • For crisis situation CALL 911, OR TEXT “NEDA” TO 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at a crisis text line 
  • Additionally if any adolescent/family at Hamilton Middle School needs any supportive services or resources please contact Ms. Torrez-Fluent, LCSW School Social Worker at 720-423-3951, Mr. Crespin, MSW Social Worker at 720-423-9513 for assistance.

Types of Eating Disorders & Warning Signs

Anorexia Nervosa

People with anorexia generally view themselves as overweight, even if they are dangerously underweight. They tend to constantly monitor their weight, avoid eating certain types of foods, and severely restrict their calories.

Bulimia Nervosa

People with bulimia frequently eat unusually large amounts of food in a specific period of time. Each binge eating episode usually continues until the person becomes painfully full. During a binge, the person usually feels that they cannot stop eating or control how much they are eating. Individuals with bulimia then attempt to purge to compensate for the calories consumed and relieve gut discomfort. Common purging behaviors include forced vomiting, fasting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas, and excessive exercise.

Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder regularly and uncontrollably consume large amounts of food in short periods of time. Unlike people with other eating disorders, they do not purge.

Warning Signs

The following behaviors might indicate that a student has an eating disorder. However, not all students with eating disorders will display these behaviors; and even though a student displays some of these symptoms, he or she might not have a disorder. 

  • Skipping lunch  
  • Seeking out snacks frequently  
  • Avoiding high fat foods, eating only health foods, or consuming a very narrow variety of foods  
  • Throwing away food  
  • Avoiding food in social situations  
  • Playing with or taking apart foods (e.g., removing cheese from pizza)  
  • Secrecy around eating  
  • Using the restroom immediately after eating  
  • Weight loss, weight gain, or fluctuation in weight  
  • Frequent attempts at dieting  
  • Obsession with maintaining low weight to enhance performance in sports, dance, acting, or modeling  
  • Excessive exercise in physical education class, sports, dance, etc.  
  • Continually talking about food, weight, and body image or disparaging comments about their appearance  
  • Preoccupation with dieting or exercise  
  • Fatigue or dizziness  
  • Wearing baggy clothing  
  • Calluses or scars on the knuckle (from sticking fingers down throat)


Resources Regarding Eating Disorders

Link to schedule for a free assessment:

  • National Eating Disorders Association
  • Helpline: 800.931.2237
  • Link to Eating Disorders Screening Tool:
  • Jewish Family Service of Colorado
  • Phone:303.597.7777                                      
  • Address: 3201 S Tamarac Dr., Denver, CO 80231
  • Rocky Mountain Child and Family Therapy Center
  • Phone:303.660.5896
  • Address: 4155 E Jewell Ave., Ste 905, Denver, CO 80222
  • Denver Family Institute
  • Phone:303.756.3340    
  • Address: 3600 S Yosemite St., Ste 1050, Denver, CO 80237