Disordered Eating Assessment and Treatment

Sindecuse Health Center at Western Michigan University uses a collaborative care model when helping individuals cope with eating disorders or those who may engage in disordered eating behaviors. Eating disorders are treatable conditions that affect one’s physical, psychological, spiritual health, and body image. We offer a team approach to provide holistic treatment. Individual counseling, psychiatric care, nutrition counseling, and medical consultations are all essential aspects of treatment for eating disorders.

A Collaborative team

The Disordered Eating Assessment and Treatment team consists of:

  • Psychiatrist and Sindecuse Health Center Medical Director: Dr. Gayle Ruggiero, MD
  • Physician Assistant: Melissa Shields, PA-C
  • Registered Dietitian: Gretchen Kauth, RD

The treatment team provides care to WMU and other area college students only at this time. Services are available through referral from Counseling Services or the Primary Care Department at Sindecuse Health Center.

How to Get Started

Currently enrolled WMU students may start in Counseling Services or Primary Care at Sindecuse.

Start at Counseling Services   Start at Primary Care

Other area college students may call (269) 387-3287 to schedule a primary care visit to start.

What to expect at your first visit

A provider will work with you to

  • Review eating habits, behaviors, lifestyle, and emotions
  • Address presenting concerns
  • Establish goals
  • Obtain referrals to treatment team members as needed

Kinds of disordered eating

Disordered eating may look very different from person to person. The following list is for reference only, not as a guide to diagnosis.

Anorexia nervosa

Individuals with anorexia nervosa are unwilling to maintain the weight that is considered normal or expected for their age and height. Less than 85 percent of the normal weight is often used as a guide. The individuals with anorexia nervosa display excessive fear of gaining weight even though they are often severely underweight.

Bulimia nervosa

Although there are variations in behavioral patterns for individuals with bulimia nervosa, a typical episode involves consuming a large amount of food that would be considered excessive under normal circumstances. Then behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, enemas, diuretics, severe calorie restriction or excessive exercising follow the overeating in an attempt to compensate for calorie intake.

Binge eating disorder

Individuals with binge eating disorder binge eat but do not regularly engage in behaviors to compensate for over eating to control their weight. A binge eating episode is often described as rapid consumption of food with a sense of loss of control, uncomfortable fullness after eating, and eating a large amount of food when not hungry. Feelings of shame and embarrassment often follow binge eating. Binge eating disorder is often associated with obesity.