Do you have an eating disorder? Does it affect your day to day life? Would you like help? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.
What are Eating Disorders??
Eating disorders are any of a range of psychological disorders characterised by abnormal or disturbed eating habits such as anorexia nervosa. A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health.
Eating disorders include a range of conditions that can effect someone physically, psychologically and socially. The most common eating disorders are:
- Anorexia nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves or exercising excessively
- Bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight
- Binge eating disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time
Some people, particularly those who are young, may be diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). This means you have some, but not all, of the typical signs of eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.
There are many different causes for eating disorders. They are often blamed on the social pressure to be thin, as many young people in particular feel they should look a certain way. However, the causes are usually more complex.
An eating disorder may be associated with biological, genetic or environmental factors combined with a particular event that triggers the disorder. There may also be other factors that maintain the illness. Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a person having an eating disorder include:
- Having a family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
- Being criticised for their eating habits, body shape or weight
- Being overly concerned with being slim, particularly if combined with pressure to be slim from society or for a job – for example, ballet dancers, models or athletes
- Certain underlying characteristics – for example, having an obsessive personality, an anxiety disorder, low self-esteem or being a perfectionist
- Particular experiences, such as sexual or emotional abuse or the death of someone special
- Difficult relationships with family members or friends
- Stressful situations – for example, problems at work, school or university
It can often be very difficult to identify that a loved one or friend has developed an eating disorder.
Warning signs to look out for include:
- Missing meals
- Complaining of being fat, even though they have a normal weight or are underweight
- Repeatedly weighing themselves and looking at themselves in the mirror
- Making repeated claims that they’ve already eaten, or they’ll shortly be going out to eat somewhere else and avoiding eating at home
- Cooking big or complicated meals for other people, but eating little or none of the food themselves
- Only eating certain low-calorie foods in your presence, such as lettuce or celery
- Feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places, such as at a restaurant
- The use of “pro-anorexia” websites
It can be difficult to know what to do if you’re concerned about a friend or family member. It’s not unusual for someone with an eating disorder to be secretive and defensive about their eating and their weight, and they may deny being unwell.
Who Does It Effect?
A 2015 report commissioned by Beat estimates more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder. Eating disorders tend to be more common in certain age groups, but they can affect people of any age. Around 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2,000 men will experience anorexia nervosa at some point. The condition usually develops around the age of 16 or 17. Bulimia is around two to three times more common than anorexia nervosa, and 90% of people with the condition are female. It usually develops around the age of 18 or 19. Binge eating affects males and females equally and usually appears later in life, between the ages of 30 and 40. As it’s difficult to precisely define binge eating, it’s not clear how widespread it is, but it’s estimated to affect around 5% of the adult population.
An eating disorder will not only effect the person suffering it will also affect their family and friends who care about them. They will be worried about you and want to help you overcome it. If they are worrying about the sufferer, they may be severely affected emotionally, physically and mentally.
Responsible for more loss of life than any other form of psychological illness, eating disorders are now more common than ever before. Indeed, over the last 30-40 years, instances of eating disorders have increased to become a widespread problem. Beat estimate that there are over 1.6 million people suffering from diagnosed or un-diagnosed eating disorders throughout the UK. Whilst many have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment, many more remain un-diagnosed and at risk. The deniability, secrecy and stigma associated with eating disorders will stop many seeking help, and prevent others taking responsibility to help a sufferer.
Statistics for eating disorders
- 6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder
- 11% of the 1.6 million are male
- 14-25 year old’s are most affected by an eating disorder
- There are up to 18 new cases of bulimia per 100,000 populations per year
- 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30, are affected by anorexia
- 10% of people affected by an eating disorder are anorexic
- 40% of people affected by an eating disorder are bulimic
- The rest fall into the EDNOS category including those with binge eating disorder
- Research suggests that the earlier treatment is sought, the better the sufferer’s chance of recovery
These statistics were taken from http://www.priorygroup.com/eating-disorders/statistics but were published data from Beat and MIND.
Examples of People with Stress
“My Eating Disorder almost killed me. But it didn’t.” – Juliet Golden
“I was still the fat pig that would never get a date. Never kiss a girl. Never be included in those groups of the seemingly all good-looking, thin, or muscular kids that were getting to have those experiences.” – Brian Cuban
How Can it be Treated?
If an eating disorder isn’t treated, it can have a negative impact on someone’s job or schoolwork, and can disrupt relationships with family members and friends. The physical effects of an eating disorder can sometimes be fatal.
Treatment for eating disorders is available, although recovery can take a long time. It’s important that the person affected wants to get better, and the support of family and friends is invaluable. Treatment usually involves monitoring a person’s physical health while helping them deal with the underlying psychological causes. This may involve:
- Using self-help manuals and books, possibly under guidance from a therapist or another healthcare professional
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – therapy that focuses on changing how a person thinks about a situation, which in turn will affect how they act
- Interpersonal psychotherapy – a talking therapy that focuses on relationship-based issues
- dietary counselling – a talking therapy to help a person maintain a healthy diet
- Psychodynamic therapy or cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) – therapy that focuses on how a person’s personality and life experiences influence their current thoughts, feelings, relationships and behaviour
- Family Therapy – therapy involving the family discussing how the eating disorder has affected them and their relationships
- Medication – for example, a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be used to treat bulimia nervosa or binge eating
The AOC can help you to overcome any type of eating disorder you may be experiencing. We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of dramatherapy. We have expertly trained counsellors in the field of bulimia. Dramatherapy can be offered in group sessions one-to-one depending or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with your eating disorder. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room. Family therapy is quite popular when suffering with an eating disorder as support from loved ones is a huge help in beating an eating disorder.
If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to firstname.lastname@example.org You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;
- For individuals or couples
- Family referral form
- Group referral form
Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.
Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:
We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder. The AOC offer two main forms of treatment in the forms of dramatherapy and integrative counselling.
Creative Arts Therapies (drama, art, movement, music therapy or psychodrama)
Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:
- In schools
- In mental health
- In general health and social care settings
- In prisons
- In hospices
- In the voluntary sector
- In private practice
Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training’s in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes. The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ. These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are vtrained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.
The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)
Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.
Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them.
The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the effective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.
Top Health Tips
- Accept & Love Yourself – Always stay positive, don’t put yourself down you are beautiful.
- Ask for Help – You need to take action, eating disorders are very serious and health threatening you need to accept you need help.
- Find a Specialist – Find a specialist in your eating disorder and seek their help & advice.
- Address Health Problems – Progress starts with accepting you have a problem and need help.
- Make a Long-term Health Plan – It is a long challenging road to overcome an eating disorder, stay strong and focusing by planning for your future.
- Call a Friend – It is always good to talk to someone and get things off your chest. Even if you don’t want to talk about your eating disorder another conversation will take your mind away from it.
- Listen to Music – Another good way to take your mind away from your troubles. Also can be used for motivation!
- Write in a Diary – This is an effective way to get things off your chest that you may not want to tell others. This can also be used to track your progression and plan ways of beating the disorder.
- Take a Walk – Take a walk to help you relax and stay calm.
- Play a Favourite Game – Another way to take your mind off things, play a game and have some enjoyment.