Issues with Food and Eating Disorders
What is an Eating Disorder?
Food is one of the many mediums through which our emotions and distress can be expressed.
An eating problem means any relationship with food that you find difficult. Not every eating problem will be diagnosed as a disorder. A common symptom of eating disorders is believing one is not 'sick enough' to receive help. This is never the case and there is an abundance of evidence for earlier intervention resulting in the best outcomes for treatment.
Historically, eating disorders have been associated with females but we are cognizant of the fact that they can impact anyone irrespective of race, gender, sexual orientation or background. We have an experienced and compassionate team who would encourage everyone who would like to discuss their relationship with food, no matter how small the issue may be, to do so.
Understanding feelings and behaviours linked to certain eating disorders can be helpful in improving one's relationship with food and eating. This is true even if you don't have a diagnosis.
Common eating disorders are:-
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Binge Eating Disorder
- Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
Less common eating disorders include:-
- Purging disorder - Individuals with purging disorder often use purging behaviours, such as vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, or excessive exercising, to control their weight or shape. However, they do not binge.
- Night eating syndrome - Individuals with this syndrome frequently eat excessively, often after awakening from sleep.
- Avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) - Individuals with this disorder avoid foods or types of foods without any preoccupation with the body or body weight. The avoidance can stem from excessive sensory response to the taste, texture or smell or certain foods or having had a distressing experience with a food or food type.
- Other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED) - this includes any other conditions that have symptoms similar to those of an eating disorder but don’t fit into any of the categories above.
How are Eating Disorders treated?
Usually you will be offered a talking therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), to help you deal with your disorder. This will involve working with a psychologist who will help you to:
- cope with your feelings
- in patients diagnosed with anorexia, understand nutrition and the effects of starvation
- make healthy food choices
- how to adopt regular eating habits and how to stick to them.
- show you ways to manage difficult feelings and situations to stop you from relapsing once your therapy ends.
- maintain regular eating habits
- for patients with Binge Eating Disorder, they will help you work out what is triggering your binge eating, how to change and manage negative feelings about your body, and help you stick to your new eating habits so you do not relapse into binge eating
You may be offered an antidepressant in combination with therapy or self-help treatment to help you manage other conditions, such as:
- anxiety or depression
- social phobia
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
The main goals of treatment are to normalize eating patterns and behaviours, together with changing beliefs and thoughts that maintain your disorder. However, recovery from an eating disorder takes time, and recovery will be different for everyone.
Contact and Appointments
If you are seeking an appointment with a psychiatrist, you should discuss this first with your GP to obtain a referral. Referrals are also accepted from clinical psychologists and counsellors.
Once you have your referral, please do contact us via our Enquiry Form and one of our team will be in touch without delay.
Overseas referrals are warmly welcomed. We do also see individuals without a family doctor (GP), and we can help you find a private or NHS family doctor.