What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude to food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour. An individual with an eating disorder tends to focus on their weight excessively, leading them to make unhealthy choices, over-exercise or use other behaviours such as purging to control their weight. Eating disorders often have a very damaging effect on an individual’s health.
There are different types of eating disorders with the most common being:
Anorexia nervosa – When a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible, often by excessively restricting their eating and/or excessive exercise
Bulimia – When a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives to control their weight
Binge eating disorder – When a person eats large amounts of food in a short time
Some people might be diagnosed with an eating disorder that has a mixed presentation of these symptoms which is referred to as EDNOS, eating disorder not otherwise specified.
The most common symptoms of an eating disorder are:
- Negative perception of your own body
- Constant weighing yourself
- Dissatisfaction with body parts
- Food restriction
- Compulsive exercise
- Need for perfection
- Fear of being fat
- Excess eating
Treatment for eating disorders
If you are suffering from an eating disorder, depending on its type and severity, you might require a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. You are likely to be offered a psychiatric review and will work closely alongside your GP and a nutritionist. There are certain circumstances in which inpatient treatment may be necessary in which case we will liaise with appropriate approved providers about your care. At The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, we can offer you both a psychiatric assessment and psychological therapy. The most effective forms of therapy for eating disorders are cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy and cognitive analytic therapy.