A highly regarded eating-disorder treatment center is about to make the Kansas City area its first site outside of its home state of Colorado, a development local clinicians said would help fill a critical gap in services here.
The Eating Disorder Center of Denver expects to open its partial hospitalization program on Dec. 29, according to local program director Tanja Haaland. The company is renovating 5,400 square feet of space in the lower level of an office building near Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Merriam, Kan.
High standards. A desire for greater control. A predisposition toward anxiety or depression. These traits are common among people who suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia. These illnesses are complex, multifaceted and incredibly dangerous. Body image is just the tip of the iceberg.
On most days, Jon Smith takes a lunchtime walk on a route from his data supervisor job in Overland Park. The 23-year-old Lenexa man maintains an active lifestyle to stay fit, having dropped a running regimen where he logged as many as 20 miles a day during his struggles with an eating disorder.
Credit Mike Sherry / Hale Center for Journalism at KCPT
At one point when he was in college at Kansas State University, Jon Smith would jog as many as 20 miles a day.
“If I wasn’t in the library and not in class,” he says, “I was running.”
But Smith was far from healthy.
His over-the-top regimen was a manifestation of an eating disorder known as purge-type anorexia, hints of which first surfaced when weight gain from migraine medication made Smith a pudgy fifth-grader. His training obsession began two years later during preparations for the Junior Olympics.
We eat every day and most of us enjoy it. It satiates our hunger, and provides us with nutrition and complex and pleasurable flavors and textures. But for some people eating can become the center of an obsession, an inescapable part of the date filled with anxiety. Eating disorders impact 2.7 percent of population, according the National Institute of Mental Health, but the problem extends far beyond the struggling individual.