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Eating disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by disordered eating behaviors, distorted body image, and intense preoccupation with food, weight, and shape. Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds, and can lead to serious physical and mental health complications if left untreated.

Eating disorders can have devastating physical and emotional consequences. They can lead to malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, heart problems, and other serious health complications. In addition, eating disorders can cause significant emotional distress, impair relationships, and interfere with daily functioning.

Different types of eating disorders

There are several types of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED). 

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a restriction of food intake, a fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image, whereas bulimia nervosa involves binge eating followed by purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives. 

Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating without purging behaviors. OSFED refers to eating disorders that do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for other types of eating disorders but still cause significant distress or impairment.

How can a psychiatrist help with an eating disorder?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions, including eating disorders. A psychiatrist can help people with eating disorders by providing a comprehensive evaluation, developing a treatment plan tailored to their needs, and monitoring their progress.

One of the most effective treatments for eating disorders is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is commonly used to treat eating disorders. CBT helps people with eating disorders learn how to identify and challenge their disordered thoughts and behaviors and develop new coping strategies.

Family-based therapy (FBT) is another type of therapy that involves the family in the treatment process and can be particularly effective for children and adolescents with eating disorders.

Medications are also very helpful in treating eating disorders, particularly in combination with psychotherapy. Antidepressants and antipsychotics are commonly prescribed medications that can help manage symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors that accompany eating disorders.

Best psychiatrists for eating disorders

If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, it is important to seek help from a qualified psychiatrist. However, finding the right psychiatrist can be a challenging task, especially if you’re not sure what to look for.

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1. Dr. Minoo Mahmoudi

Dr. Minoo Mahmoudi is an expert psychiatrist with 8 years of experience, specializing in treating eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. She exclusively offers online consultations for the convenience of her patients.

Dr. Mahmoudi prioritizes getting to know her patients and conducting thorough psychiatric evaluations to understand their symptoms and challenges. With this information, she develops an individualized biopsychosocial formulation and educates patients about possible diagnoses.

Dr. Mahmoudi develops individualized management plans that may include medications, therapy, or a combination of both. She also collaborates with patients’ therapists and allied health professionals to ensure optimal care. Dr. Mahmoudi believes in a holistic approach and provides a safe and healing environment for her patients and their families. Her sessions cost $375 per session, and she offers a free 15-minute consultation to prospective patients.

2. Dr. Lauren Burr Ozbolt

Dr. Lauren Burr Ozbolt, MD is a board-certified adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist who specializes in treating eating disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety.

As an expert in the evidence-based treatment of these conditions, Dr. Ozbolt offers a comprehensive, personalized approach that is tailored to meet the individual needs of each patient. Her office is conveniently located in Los Angeles and she is available for in-person appointments.

Dr. Ozbolt is extensively trained in psychopharmacology and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and treatments available. She provides medication management for her patients as well as a variety of other treatment options to help her patients achieve their goals.

3. Eric C. Li

Dr. Eric C. Li is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience. He completed his medical education at USC Keck School of Medicine and his residency and fellowship training at UCLA Resnick Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital. 

Dr. Li is known for his compassionate and thorough approach to patient care and has successfully treated patients of all ages. He specializes in treating eating disorders, addictive disorders, ADHD, depression, and anxiety disorders. Dr. Li is also fluent in French, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Dr. Li takes a conservative approach to medication management, particularly with children and teens. He is well-regarded in the West Los Angeles community for his expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy and his ability to tailor treatment to meet the individual needs of each patient. 

Dr. Li offers both in-person and online appointments for the convenience of his clients. He provides a free 15-minute consultation to prospective patients. Dr. Li works with patients of all ages, from toddlers to adults, and is dedicated to helping them achieve optimal mental health and well-being.

4. Margaret Seide

Dr. Margaret Seide is a board-certified psychiatrist with over 13 years of experience in the field. She completed her residency at Johns Hopkins University and later worked there as an attending psychiatrist and faculty member for five years.

Dr. Seide’s expertise lies in treating eating disorders, as well as major depression, panic disorder, and anxiety. She offers a range of treatment options including medication, therapy, and group therapy based on the patient’s preference.

Dr. Seide values the importance of building a strong therapeutic relationship with her patients to facilitate positive change in their lives. Dr. Seide accepts insurance and is available both in-person in New York and online. She offers a free 15-minute consultation to help patients determine if she is the right fit for their needs.

5. Jennifer L Kraker

    Jennifer Kraker, M.D., M.S., is a Columbia and Cornell-educated psychiatrist who is highly experienced in treating eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and food addiction, as well as addictions to all substances. With specialized experience in the treatment of underlying personality conflicts, she offers a highly personalized approach to treatment, tailored to each individual’s unique needs. 

    She employs a combination of psychotherapy, medications, and integrative treatment modalities, including buprenorphine treatment when appropriate. Dr. Kraker’s approach to treatment emphasizes finding the root cause of the issue, rather than just treating the symptoms.

    Her expertise extends to a variety of other psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, depression, women’s reproductive psychiatry, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and OCD. 

    Dr. Kraker has authored numerous medical journal articles on nutrition and the brain and has lectured at the UN about women’s international mental health. While she does not take insurance directly, she works with her patients to maximize reimbursement through their insurance providers. Dr. Kraker charges $300 per session and sees individuals, couples, and families.

    Should You See a Therapist or Psychiatrist for Eating Disorders?

    Deciding between a therapist or a psychiatrist for treating eating disorders can be a difficult decision. While therapists typically provide talk therapy and support, psychiatrists can prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms. It’s important to remember that both therapists and psychiatrists can be valuable in treating eating disorders, and in some cases, a combination of both may be necessary.

    If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as extreme weight loss or malnutrition, a psychiatrist may be the best option for you as they can provide immediate medical interventions. However, if you are looking for emotional support and coping strategies, a therapist may be a better fit.

    If you are considering therapy for eating disorders, BetterHelp is an excellent online platform to find a licensed therapist. With thousands of therapists to choose from, you can easily find one who specializes in eating disorders, substance abuse, or other mental health issues.

    BetterHelp also offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to switch therapists if you are not satisfied with your initial match. Remember, seeking help is a brave step towards recovery, and finding the right mental health professional can make all the difference.


    What are some signs that I may have an eating disorder?

    Common signs of an eating disorder include a preoccupation with food and weight, distorted body image, avoiding social situations that involve food, frequent dieting or fasting, binge-eating or purging behaviors, and significant weight changes.

    How do I know if I need to see a psychiatrist for my eating disorder?

    If you are struggling with an eating disorder and it is interfering with your daily functioning and quality of life, it may be helpful to seek the expertise of a psychiatrist.

    What questions should I ask a psychiatrist before starting treatment for an eating disorder?

    You should ask about the psychiatrist’s experience treating eating disorders, their approach to treatment, and what you can expect from the treatment process.

    How long does treatment for an eating disorder typically last?

    The duration of treatment can vary depending on the individual’s needs and the severity of their symptoms. However, psychotherapy for eating disorders typically lasts for several months to a year.

    Can medication cure an eating disorder?

    Medication alone cannot cure an eating disorder, but it can be helpful in managing symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

    Can people with eating disorders recover?

    Yes, it is possible to recover from an eating disorder with the help of appropriate treatment, such as psychotherapy and medication. However, recovery is a process and can take time and effort.

    In conclusion, eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that require specialized treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help from a qualified psychiatrist. With the right treatment and support, recovery is possible.

    Additional Posts:

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    2. Best Psychiatrists for OCD
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    4. Best Psychiatrists for Bipolar Disorder
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