A private London clinic integrating psychiatry and psychology

Therapies for Eating Disorders

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Many people struggle with some form of eating disturbance. Eating disordered symptoms fall on a continuum from full-blown diagnosable eating disorders such as Bulimia, Binge-eating Disorder and Anorexia, or can be disruptions in healthy eating accompanied by body image difficulties that don’t meet the full criteria for a diagnosis. A thorough assessment will be conducted to ascertain where the afflicted person falls on the continuum.

Often certain personality traits contribute to disordered eating/body image difficulties such as Perfectionism, and/or a very powerful need for control that usually plays out via the body – except that it’s not only about body, it’s also about self-esteem, unacknowledged negative feelings, beliefs about physical attractiveness and how those link to a sense of worthiness and acceptability. Because people with this kind of difficulty often struggle to work out what constitutes balanced eating, an onward referral to a specialist dietician might be indicated as part of the overall treatment plan. Disturbed eating behaviour often (although not always) requires a multi-faceted approach in terms of the psychology aspect, the nutritional aspect, and the psychiatric/medical aspect, especially if there is accompanying anxiety, depression and/or medical problems such as electrolyte imbalance.

References

Agras, W.S., & Apple, R.F. (2008). Overcoming your eating disorder: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating disorder. Oxford University Press.

Bryant-Waugh, R. & Lask, B. (2013). Eating Disorders: A parents' guide. Routledge.

Fairburn, C. (2008). Cognitive behavior therapy and eating disorders. The Guilford Press

Simpson, S. & Smith, E. (Eds) (2020). Schema therapy for eating disorders. Routledge

Scheel, J. (2011). When food is family: a loving approach to healing eating disorders. Idyll Arbor

Zerbe, K. (2008) Integrated treatment for eating disorders. W Norton & Co.

Schmidt, U., Treasure, J., & Alexander, J. (2015). Getting better bite by bite: A survival kit for sufferers of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders. Routledge.