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Anorexia/Eating Disorders/Swollen face after recovery?

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Question
I'm a 20 year old female who has been weight restored from orthorexia/anorexia for over 2 months. I went through a period of binge-eating during my recovery, which caused my face to go from gaunt and slim to incredibly swollen and puffy. Despite resuming normal eating patterns, this puffiness has not subsided, and I seem to have permanent hollow bags under my eyes. My face looks fat and completely different from my pre-eating-disorder self. I understand that this facial swelling is common in people with bulimia, but I have never purged, even when I was bingeing. I was wondering if you have seen this in other recovered anorexic patients before, and if I can ever expect my face to return to normal? This is very distressing for me and I'd greatly appreciate a response. Thank you.

Answer
Dear Jackie,

I've seen a little bit of everything during the years I've helped young women.  A swollen face is not at all unusual.  Your face will eventually go back to its normal size -- it's all about fluids and where they choose to settle.  This is the time that separates the "men from the boys."  Don't look at yourself or at least not at length  -- but hang on and keep on with your meal plan.

How are you doing?

Anorexia/Eating Disorders

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Jeanne Rust, PhD

Expertise

I have been treating eating disorders for over 25 years and I have a doctorate in clinical psychology. I am an expert in anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders and in co-occurring disorders as well -- depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. I was the official eating disorder therapist for the University of Arizona athletic department and love working with girls and women of all ages! 12 years ago I started my own treatment centers in Arizona where we treat adolescents and adults. I love working with people and have been helping people online since 1994. My hearts go out to the people out there who are unable to find help, who aren't sure whether they need help, and who don't have much of an understanding of the terrible consequences, emotionally and physically, that go hand in hand with the eating disorder. I view eating disorders as coping mechanisms that people use when they are under stress. I believe that eating disorders most times have many similarities whether it is anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. The good news is that people can heal from an eating disorder and learn to create the lives they would like to live.

Experience

I have 25 years of experience in treating eating disorders of all kinds. I also do consultations for people who are starting treatment centers.

Education/Credentials
Northwestern University -- BA Masters in Counseling Doctorate in Clinical Psychology -- Saybrook institute

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