Last week in Health Plus one eastern Iowa woman was brave enough to talk about her eating disorder. Tonight more of her story and how her condition is treated:
Nicole Stern has had an eating disorder for years. It was especially challenging in high school. She could not eat in front of others so she never ate in the cafeteria.
After getting help through Covenant Clinic, the now 30-year-old still struggles even admitting her issues with food are serious. But she does own it, so to speak. Looking back on it she sees now that she has a problem and had one then.
Social worker Lori Rasmussen says an eating disorder is a complex issue and is caused by multiple sources. Rasmussen says, like in Nicole's case, the emotional issues triggering the disorder can date back decades.
The key, she says, is peeling back the layers. She looks at the fears and other issues patients are facing and tries to tackle them one by one.
Nicole says she accepts that obsessing about food isn't normal, though it has been such a central part of simply living for her for so long.
Her advice to others? If someone says something to you about it, Nicole thinks it is worth checking out because there may be something there.
Rasmussen agrees. The first step, she says, is to talk to someone you trust.
A professional assessment is recommended to really determine if you have an eating disorder.