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 Elena Touroni

Dr Elena Touroni is a skilled and experienced consultant psychologist with a track record of delivering high-quality services for individuals with all common emotional difficulties and those with a diagnosis of personality disorder. She is experienced in service design and delivery, the management of multi-disciplinary teams, organisational consultancy, and development and delivery of both national and bespoke training to providers in the statutory and non-statutory sector.

Having obtained a first degree in Psychology (BSc) at the American College of Greece, she completed her doctoral training at the University of Surrey. Dr Touroni is highly experienced in the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, substance misuse, personality disorder, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, adjustment disorder and relationship difficulties. She works with both individuals and couples and can offer therapy in English and Greek.

Dr Touroni has held a variety of clinical and managerial positions including as Head of Service in the NHS. Further she has held academic positions for the University of Surrey and the Institute of Mental Health lecturing on specialist postgraduate Masters and Doctorate programmes.

She is trained in several specialist therapeutic approaches such as schema therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), mindfulness-based approaches and Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). As well as holding a variety of NHS positions, Dr. Touroni is the co-founder of a private practice in Central London that has been a provider of psychological therapy for all common emotional difficulties including personality disorder since 2002. She is the founder and one of two directors of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.