Recognizing and Addressing Eating Disorders and Body Image Issues

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Our relationships with food and our own bodies are often complex and fraught with challenges. At their best, they can help lead us to both physical and mental well-being. But all too often, these relationships become problematic, resulting in people having negative body image.

In some, this has the potential to develop into conditions such as anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphic disorder. And while treatment is available and highly effective, it requires recognition of these conditions, which itself can be difficult.

So, how can we identify when someone is struggling with an eating disorder or body image challenge? Who is most at risk of developing one? And what are the treatment options?

Audience Questions

Dr. Roberto Olivardia offers educators, clinicians, and concerned loved ones a roadmap for recognizing eating disorders and body image issues, provides tips for finding appropriate professional care, and answers questions about the causes and many manifestations of these conditions.

  • What are the differences between body image, eating disorders, and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)?
  • Is it possible to have more than one of these conditions at the same time?
  • How common are eating disorders and BDD?
  • What are the warning signs of anorexia nervosa and how do they differ from those of bulimia nervosa?
  • How do you distinguish binge eating disorder from bulimia?
  • What do we know about the causes of eating disorders? Do genetics play a role?
  • When does one’s relationship with food become problematic? When does one’s struggle with weight loss develop into an eating disorder? And when should one find professional help?
  • What is the process for treating eating disorders?
  • When is hospitalization necessary for someone with anorexia nervosa or bulimia?
  • How does body dysmorphic disorder differ from typical body image concerns?
  • How is body dysmorphic disorder treated?
  • What are your suggestions for working with patients who are extremely resistant to change or engaging in any eating disorder treatment?
  • How do you help young people navigate social media in a way that doesn’t create body image issues?
  • What should we know about eating disorders in boys and men?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Olivardia

Roberto Olivardia, PhD, conducts diagnostic evaluations at The Pavilion at McLean Hospital. He maintains a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts, where he specializes in the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as issues that face students with learning disabilities. He is a nationally recognized expert in eating disorders and body image problems in boys and men.

Dr. Olivardia is co-author of “The Adonis Complex.” He specializes in evidence-based psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral treatment. He currently serves on the Professional Advisory Boards for Children and Adults With ADHD (CHADD), The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for ADDitude. He has spoken on numerous webinars and presents at many talks and conferences around the country.

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