06/26/2015 03:34 am ET | Updated Nov 28, 2016

Why Eating Disorders Are About So Much More Than Food

Bella, 15, admits she is obsessed with food, hoards it in her bedroom, and binges and says she purges 30 to 40 times a day. The teen says her behavior started when she was a child and is now out of control.

“Your focus on food was because [your parents] made it taboo,” Dr. Phil says to Bella in the video above. “They put it off limits to you, so that made it something you really focused on. You said that you use food to rebel against their control.”

“I do,” she agrees.

Dr. Phil points out that Bella has picked a battle with her mother using as her weapon the only thing she has control over. “You can control what you take in and what you put out, when you do it and how you do it,” he says, explaining that it’s not unlike a child who is exerting control when he learns to potty train.

“I feel like I have no control now,” she says.

“It starts for one reason but it continues for another,” Dr. Phil explains, a similar pattern often holds true for drug addicts. “They start out taking the drugs to party, but pretty soon, the drug gets ahold of them and now it owns them.”

Dr. Phil explains that Bella may have started controlling her food in an effort to defy her parents, but it soon took on a life of its own. On Friday’s show, Dr. Phil offers Bella help for moving forward. Watch more here.

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