EATING DISORDERS  

If you struggle with disturbances in your eating behaviour and in the way you think and feel about food and your body, you may have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders can result in severe physical, emotional and social consequences that limit us in our ability to lead happy and fulfilling lives.

On this page, you can find out more about what it feels like to have an eating disorder, factors that can trigger the development of an eating disorder.

You can also learn more about the consequences of eating disorders for your health and wellbeing, and how the different treatments we offer can help you recover and reach wellness.

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WHAT DOES HAVING AN EATING DISORDER FEEL LIKE?

Having an eating disorder can feel very lonely and isolating. Many sufferers try to keep their behaviours a secret because they feel shame and embarrassment about what they do, or because they believe other people will judge them.

You may feel that your disordered eating behaviour gives you a sense of control when life gets a little crazy. You may also feel the contradiction of knowing that what you do is not healthy and not what you want for your life, but at the same time you feel your eating disorder gives you a feeling of power and strength.

Or perhaps you have a friend, partner or child who suffers from an eating disorder. You may not understand the best way to support them, and feel helpless watching them suffer from the ravages of their disordered eating.

On the surface, eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder may seem like mental health conditions connected to food, weight and eating. The reality is, there are many biological factors, environmental stressors, and psychological / emotional patterns that lie underneath the visible eating disorder symptoms.

There is often a strong internal pull between restricting food and weight control, with a desire to binge and overeat. Our experience tells us, this conflict is often a way of escaping difficult situations in life, challenging relationships and overwhelming emotions.

Eating disorders can affect you in many ways, and once they take hold in your life, your mental and physical health can deteriorate quickly. Socially, they can isolate you in relationships, and leave you feeling alone. Your mind can become riddled by a critical inner voice, paranoid thinking and a strong drive for perfectionism.

Your body will become sick, with elevated stress levels, lowered immunity, malnutrition and poor sleep. This will drive your desire to eat, which consequently fuels the eating disorder to take hold. Below are some health risks and psychological consequences of eating disorders.

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CONSEQUENCES OF AN EATING DISORDER

HEALTH RISKS OF EATING DISORDERS

 

  • High/low blood pressure

  • Osteoporosis

  • Severe dehydration & electrolyte imbalances

  • Heart failure

  • Hormone imbalances

  • Gastric complications

  • High cholesterol

  • Type II Diabetes

 PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF EATING DISORDERS 

  • Distorted body image

  • Obsessive thoughts about food

  • Low self-esteem

  • Mood swings

  • Overwhelming guilt

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Perfectionism

COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY

Our experienced team of therapists will work with you to change your thoughts, feelings and behaviours around your body, food and eating.

We will slowly start to uncover thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that are keeping you stuck in your eating disorder, and challenge patterns of thinking and behaviour that sabotage your efforts to get well.

We will explore the root issues behind your eating behaviour, which may have developed as a way of surviving and coping with challenging situations, relationships or bereavement. Learning new ways to manage life’s ups and downs is essential.

Developing emotional agility is essential, so we will teach you skills to help you tolerate your emotional experience without reaching for food, and support you in developing a robust emotional resilience.

Working with body image, self-worth and the complexities of weight and shape are areas we will explore as part of your recovery.

Our therapists take a person-centred approach – this means that they can use different tools and techniques to support you in your recovery. The approach they take depends on your past experiences as well as your symptoms and presentation.

Below you can find out more about different therapeutic approaches that can be used to support you in your eating disorder recovery.

CBT EATING DISORDER TREATMENT

CBT eating disorder treatment comprises behavioural, cognitive and relapse / maintenance phases. Your therapist will help you identify negative patterns of thinking, emotions and behaviour.
Treatment will target cognitive restructuring to help you develop healthier thinking, and techniques to help you manage and tolerate overwhelming triggers and emotions.

DBT EATING DISORDER TREATMENT

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) comprises four essential modules that shape the therapy that is provided; mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation.
DBT eating disorder treatment helps with self-awareness, regulating emotions, control of negative thoughts and improving responses to conflict and stress.

EMDR EATING DISORDER TREATMENT

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic technique that supports individuals in healing emotional distress connected to mental health presentations such as trauma, abuse and grief.

Often an eating disorder can develop in response to early childhood trauma or control, meaning EMDR, in conjunction with an integrative therapeutic approach, can be a helpful tool in eating disorder recovery.

PSYCHIATRY

Our Consultant Psychiatrist can work alongside your clinicians to develop a treatment plan to support you through your recovery.

Psychiatric support can be beneficial if you are struggling with complex and challenging experiences that can affect your recovery. This can include depression, anxiety, personality disorders, trauma, and others.

Sessions may include assessing and tracking your eating disorder symptoms, as well as reviewing medication and arranging exploratory blood tests. Psychiatric coaching and psychological intervention may also be included to support your treatment plan.