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Exercise is one of the healthiest things you can possibly do – unless you take it to excess. Erin’s life is ruled by her compulsion to exercise. She works out eight hours a day and sleeps barely two or three hours a night to make time to run, work out on the elliptical, spin, and hit the gym for weight training.
A few months ago Erin recalled traumatic abuse by a childhood friend, and since then her addiction has spiraled further out of control. “I’m just scared my body’s going to break down,” she shares.
Erin visits Psychotherapist Dr. Erin Foster, who believes that her problems involve more than exercise – Erin’s eating is disordered as well. “I don’t feel like I have an issue with food,“ Erin claims, but then she reveals that she had an eating disorder at age 15. “Food is also a problem,” Dr. Foster tells her.
“It’s like I’m running away from everything else in my life,” Erin admits.
Dr. Jorge Rodriguez examines Erin. When it comes time to weigh her, she says, ”I just don’t want to know the number.” Erin’s blood pressure is dangerously high. “That kind of concerns me,” says Dr. Rodriguez.
Erin’s muscles are deteriorating from over-exercise. Her white cell count is high, her red blood cells are abnormal, and she may have an enlarged heart. “I’m so glad you took that test, because otherwise you may have just found this out through an emergency,” Dr. Rodriguez tells her.
She’s dehydrated. She says that if she doesn’t work out, she feels sick.
Dr. Rodriguez says, “Travis, in the six years that I’ve done this show with you, Erin is the most ill person, the sickest person we’ve had on the show in my opinion.”
“I just think of myself as so healthy,” Erin sobs.
ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork reassures her. “We can medically get you to a healthier place. But we can’t improve that until we stop the behaviors that have led to that outcome.”
James Huffman from Haven Hills Recovery shares that his first wife, who passed away seven years ago, struggled with an eating disorder. His daughter has also been treated for an eating disorder and is now in remission. He has a very personal connection to eating disorders and founded Haven Hills to treat them. It’s very small by design and doesn’t feel like a hospital. He offers Erin and her mother, Barbara, 60 days of in-patient treatment to save Erin’s life.
Dr. Stork tells Erin, “You can’t tackle a problem until you acknowledge you have a problem. Without seeking help, you can’t do it alone. You are a shining example.”
Eating disorders are the deadliest psychological disorders. If you or a loved needs help or resources regarding an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorder Association at 1-800-931-2237.”