Las vegas park

Walk to the Las Vegas Park Help Group for Eating Disorders

Summerlin resident Katie Fiorillo, 26, was 17 when she was diagnosed with anorexia. Overwhelmed by the combined stress of high school, extracurricular activities and applying for college admission, she began to eat less and less, withdraw from family and friends, lose a lot of weight.

“I really saw something wrong,” Fiorillo said. “I just wasn’t sure what it was. I’ve always had these underlying perfectionism-like beliefs and self-doubt, so it felt almost normal. After I started not doing as well healthily, I realized it could be worse than I thought. I just didn’t want to do anything. I was not interested in the activities that I usually was. I just thought this was gonna be my life.

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess over weight and what they eat – and to consider themselves overweight even if they are underweight. Fiorillo began seeing an outpatient therapist and dietitian after his diagnosis and slowly worked to overcome the disease. But even after visiting a residential treatment center in her home state of Florida, she was still struggling.

“There is nothing that solves the problem,” Fiorillo said. “It’s definitely more of a gradual process than something that clicks and you feel better, which is what I always thought it would be. … It takes a lot of time. Recovery is a very long process. Being patient is the most important thing. It’s scary. Not many people talk about it, and it’s hard to get the support you need both medically and therapeutically just because there aren’t many people who specialize in this area.

Fiorillo left Florida for Las Vegas a little over a year ago. After a 10-year battle with anorexia, she’s finally in a place where she’s ready to give back, she said. This year, she is organizing the third National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) walk in Las Vegas, scheduled for Sunday at 10:30 am.

“Vegas is greatly missed by the eating disorder community,” Fiorillo said. “So I think it’s really important to start this community of people, even if it’s just once a year.”

Summerlin’s Samantha Corey, a friend of Fiorillo’s, was 14 when she noticed a change in mood and a drastic weight drop. She had recently moved from Denver to the Las Vegas Valley and wasn’t thinking about it as she was a dancer in school and teachers used to see students lose weight. He was diagnosed with anorexia soon after.

“For me it started out as I just wanted to eat healthy,” said Corey, 21. “I took a health course and they had a nutrition unit. That’s when I started to watch what I was eating. From there it got out of hand. I used to focus on calories. Over time, it became more and more obsessive. I became isolated. I wanted to spend more time alone, I didn’t want to go to functions; I didn’t even want to go to my dance parties. I didn’t have the energy for it.

Due to the lack of facilities in the Las Vegas area, Corey said, she was sent to a facility in Denver. She hosted the first NEDA walk in 2014 and has since advocated for eating disorder awareness in Las Vegas.

“My family was shocked at the lack of treatment centers here,” Corey said. “And I ended up getting out of state because there was no facility in Vegas for it. I just think walking is the first step in opening people’s eyes to what Las Vegas needs in terms of psychological treatment, dietitians… whatever is included in recovery.

According to the NEDA website, anorexia is the third most common chronic disease in young people, after asthma and type 1 diabetes. die than their peers of the same age.

“Eating disorders have the highest death rate of all psychiatric illnesses,” said Dr. Lindsey Ricciardi, an eating disorder specialist who has an outpatient department in southwest Las Vegas. “A lot of them are linked to suicide, but most of them are due to cardiac arrest. Most people with eating disorders could never tell by looking at them, and that’s a huge problem. our training; we’re looking for this very emaciated person, when many of my clients look like the cover of a health and fitness magazine.

Ricciardi has worked with people with eating disorders for over 10 years and has seen hundreds of cases in the Las Vegas area. She currently has around 20 patients. On Sunday, she will walk in honor of a deceased former patient.

“I don’t think people understand the reality of it,” Ricciardi said. “His death began with a diet that began 20 years ago. It has become an obsession. She died on the way to Utah to get to a residential treatment center. She was trying to get help.

Contact Mia Sims at msims To follow @miasma___ on Twitter.

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