What is anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder and a serious mental health condition. If someone has anorexia, they will try to keep their weight as low as possible to the detriment of their physical health. This is usually done through the restriction of food, making themselves vomit and excessive exercise.


Anorexia can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender. Although it’s more commonly reported in women, more recently, it has also started to become increasingly common in men.

Anorexia symptoms and warning signs

People suffering from anorexia tend to hide their behaviour from loved ones.

But some of the most common signs to look out for are:

  • Missing meals, eating very little or avoiding certain types of food
  • Obsessively counting calories in food
  • Leaving the table immediately after eating in order to vomit
  • Taking laxatives and appetite suppressants
  • Physical problems like feeling lightheaded, dizzy, hair loss or dry skin
  • Repeated weighing and mirror-checking

Individuals with anorexia can also suffer from anxiety, depression and self-harm.

consultation taking notes

Types of treatment for anorexia

Our team has considerable experience working with eating disorders. A multidisciplinary approach is often recommended for the treatment of anorexia.


Alongside psychiatric and psychological treatment, we’re also likely to work closely with your GP and a nutritionist or dietician.

Frequently asked questions

Anorexia is a very serious mental health disorder so if you suspect you – or a loved one – is suffering from symptoms of anorexia, it is important that you seek help immediately.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) are generally considered to be the most effective treatments for anorexia. Treatment will be delivered by a multidisciplinary team which means you are likely to see a psychiatrist, a psychologist as well as a nutritionist.

This depends on how severe your symptoms are. If your body max index has dropped below 18, this is a concerning sign and it would suggest that you need to be in an in-patient setting. The focus will be on helping you gain weight and also moderating some of the effects that starvation can have on the brain.

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Dr Stacie Tay

Dr Stacie Tay attained her BSc (Hons) Psychology at the University of Nottingham and worked as a psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore, before returning to the UK to complete her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University College London.   

Dr Tay has worked in a variety of settings within the NHS for more than eight years, including primary and secondary care, specialist psychological services and forensic inpatient settings. She currently works as a Clinical Psychologist at the North East London Foundation Trust.  

She has extensive experience working with individuals and groups, providing evidence-based psychological therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Mindfulness-based approaches as well as Schema-informed therapy.   

Dr Tay’s clinical experience involves working with people who present with a range of mild to severe mental health difficulties. This includes depression, anxiety (OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, health anxiety, phobia-related disorders, PTSD), stress related issues, low self-esteem, complex trauma, interpersonal difficulties, grief and bereavement, and long-term health conditions.