How Does An Eating Disorder Affect You?
Having an eating disorder can feel very lonely and isolating. Many sufferers try to keep their behaviours a secret because they feel shame and embarrassment about what they do, or because they believe other people will judge them.
You may feel that your disordered eating behaviour gives you a sense of control when life gets a little crazy. You may also feel the contradiction of knowing that what you do is not healthy and not what you want for your life, but at the same time you feel your eating disorder gives you a feeling of power and strength.
Or perhaps you have a friend, partner or child who suffers from an eating disorder. You may not understand the best way to support them, and feel helpless watching them suffer from the ravages of their disordered eating.
Consequences of an Eating Disorder
On the surface, eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder may seem like mental health conditions connected to food, weight and eating. The reality is, there are many biological factors, environmental stressors, and psychological / emotional patterns that lie underneath the visible eating disorder symptoms.
There is often a strong internal pull between restricting food and weight control, with a desire to binge and overeat. Our experience tells us, this conflict is often a way of escaping difficult situations in life, challenging relationships and overwhelming emotions.
Eating disorders can affect you in many ways, and once they take hold in your life, your mental and physical health can deteriorate quickly. Socially, they can isolate you in relationships, and leave you feeling alone. Your mind can become riddled by a critical inner voice, paranoid thinking and a strong drive for perfectionism.
Your body will become sick, with elevated stress levels, lowered immunity, malnutrition and poor sleep. This will drive your desire to eat, which consequently fuels the eating disorder to take hold. Below are some health risks and psychological consequences of eating disorders.
Health risks of Eating Disorders
- High/low blood pressure
- Severe dehydration & electrolyte imbalances
- Heart failure
- Hormone imbalances
- Gastric complications
- High cholesterol
- Type II Diabetes
Psychological effects of Eating Disorders
- Distorted body image
- Obsessive thoughts about food
- Low self-esteem
- Mood swings
- Overwhelming guilt
Eating Disorder Treatment
We have over 14 years experience in eating disorders treatment. We know that a holistic approach to treatment is necessary, that incorporates psychological, emotional, behavioural, nutritional and social interventions.
There are many factors that contribute to how and why an eating disorder starts, and then becomes maintained in the present day. Eating disorder treatment can either be structured or flexible, depending on the client and their presenting symptoms.
Below you can see an overview of our eating disorder treatment pathway, showing some of the areas that we target in our therapy and nutrition sessions. Each section offers opportunities to reduce eating disorder symptoms, and build the emotional resilience and life skills needed for eating disorder recovery.
Eating Disorders Treatment – What To Expect
At WeightMatters, we take a holistic approach to eating disorder treatment and recovery. We work with you collaboratively, at a pace that feels right, tailoring our approach to match your needs as we go.
We initially combine nutritional interventions with behavioural modifications to calm your physiology, and reduce the frequency and intensity of your eating disorder symptoms.
As you start to feel calmer and your mood improves, we slowly start to uncover thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that are keeping you stuck in your eating disorder, and challenge patterns of thinking and behaviour that sabotage your efforts to get well.
Developing emotional agility is essential, so we will teach you skills to help you tolerate your emotional experience without reaching for food, and support you in developing a robust emotional resilience.
We will explore the root issues behind your eating behaviour, which may have developed as a way of surviving and coping with challenging situations, relationships or bereavement. Learning new ways to manage life’s ups and downs is essential.
Working with body image, self-worth and the complexities of weight and shape are areas we will explore as part of your recovery.
TYPES OF EATING DISORDER TREATMENT AT WEIGHTMATTERS
Our experience tells us there is no one eating disorder treatment that is suitable for everyone. Below you will find some of the different types of treatment we offer.
Rebalance is our holistic treatment programme that combines individual psychotherapy sessions with specialist dietitian coaching. Psychological interventions will help you tackle obsessive thinking, perfectionism and critical thinking. Nutritional interventions will help calm your body and mind, and in turn reduce anxiety and panic, and help to improve your sleep.
CBT EATING DISORDER TREATMENT
CBT eating disorder treatment comprises behavioural, cognitive and relapse / maintenance phases. Your therapist will help you identify negative patterns of thinking, emotions and behaviour. Treatment will target cognitive restructuring to help you develop healthier thinking, and techniques to help you manage and tolerate overwhelming triggers and emotions.
DBT EATING DISORDER TREATMENT
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) comprises four essential modules that shape the therapy that is provided; mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation. DBT eating disorder treatment helps with self-awareness, regulating emotions, control of negative thoughts and improving responses to conflict and stress.
EMDR EATING DISORDER TREATMENT
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapeutic technique that supports individuals in healing emotional distress connected to mental health presentations such as trauma, abuse and grief. Often an eating disorder can develop in response to early childhood trauma or control, meaning EMDR, in conjunction with an integrative therapeutic approach, can be a helpful tool in eating disorder recovery.
Learn more about Eating Disorders
Here are some articles and blogs about eating disorders