Diagnosing & Treating Anorexia Online

Anorexia nervosa is a very serious, emotional eating disorder that can be life-threatening. People with anorexia have a difficult time maintaining an appropriate body weight for their height, age and stature. According to the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), to be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory and physical health
  2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat
  3. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight

If one does not meet this criteria from the DSM-5, a serious eating disorder can still be present. When it comes to anorexia, there are two common types:

  • Binge/Purge Type – The individual suffering from this type of anorexia will purge when they eat.
  • Restrictive – In this form, the individual will drastically limit the amount of food consumed. Typically, an individual will ingest a minimal amount that is well below their body’s caloric needs, which leads to starvation.

Anorexia nervosa is far from a simple disorder – it has many symptoms, effects, and causes and every case is unique. There are many factors that can contribute to the eating disorder, both environmental and biological. To successfully diagnose and treat an individual for anorexia, it is essential to determine the contributing factors.

You and your online therapist or psychiatrist can work together to determine the severity of your anorexia nervosa and what type of treatment is needed, or if a referral to a specialist is required. Your diagnosis will be based on the physical exam, duration, severity of symptoms and your medical history.

Once a diagnosis has been made, your therapist or psychiatrist will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for anorexia is different depending on the severity.

Given the complexity of anorexia, it is recommended that a team of medical professionals work with you for recovery. This professional team would typically involve medical doctors, nutritionists, therapists, and psychiatrists. This team will work together to reach an effective, holistic eating disorder treatment plan. This treatment plan, may include:

  • A medical doctor addressing any serious health issues that maybe have resulted from malnutrition, like an unstable heartbeat.
  • A nutritionist working with the patient to restore, implement and supervise a tailored meal plan. There is also an education component here about normal eating patterns.
  • A therapist and psychiatrist recognizing any underlying issues associated with the disorder. This could be by learning healthier and emotional coping skills.

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See below for answers to some of our most common questions. You can also call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-317-0280 to speak to a medical professional about your symptoms or conditions.



 What is major depressive disorder?

Major depression is the most common form of depression. It is sometimes called major depression, clinical depression, unipolar depression or simply 'depression.' Major depressive disorder is typically when one has a low mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities. Other symptoms can be a factor in depression and most of these symptoms will last for at least two weeks. Depression can be described as mild, moderate or severe. Severe cases of depression are either melancholia or psychotic.


 What is Telepsychiatry?

Through the TelaCare website or mobile app, you can speak to a therapist from the privacy and comfort of your own home to address common behavioral health challenges. TelaCare's therapists do not have the ability to prescribe medications for the treatment of diagnosed mental disorders. They will refer to you psychiatrist in your area who can prescribe medication if is necessary.

 Does TelaCare offer refunds?

No, All sales are final, and no refunds will be offered or accepted on services purchased from TelaCare. As we are a medical benefits company like any other benefit, once you accept our terms and conditions, you have purchased our services and accept this refund policy as a whole. Services can be canceled in the system at your discretion under account settings if your account is completed. Your satisfaction with your purchase is essential to us. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, please contact us at support@telacare.com


 Can I get a prescription online?

Yes, in general you can get a prescription online. There is support for this nationwide, however there are several exceptions. 


 What is the difference between a therapist and psychiatrist?

A patient would see a psychiatrist for medication management and a psychologist for talk therapy. Sometimes the best form of treatment is a combination of both talk therapy and medication management. Psychiatrists and therapists are each able to evaluate a person to determine whether one or both treatments approaches are necessary, and can make recommendations based on their assessment.


 What are the side effects of anorexia?

Some physical complications of anorexia include anemia, bone loss, absence of a period in women, low testosterone in men, heart problems. Someone with anorexia may also experience mental side effects, including depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide.

 What is the difference between anorexia and bulimia?

People with anorexia and bulimia both are fixated on obtaining a thin figure, but people who have anorexia do so by limiting their food intake to an unhealthy degree. While people with bulimia may limit their food intake, they will also binge eat, but will purge whatever they’ve consumed.

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