Eating disorder is a mental health condition where one uses control over food to deal with feelings and other situations. Anyone can have an eating disorder but it tends to show up more among teenagers between the ages of 13-17.
There are various causes of an Eating Disorder. Some of the causes include: having a history of eating disorders or other mental health issues in the family; being criticised for eating habits, body shape or weight; feeling pressure from society to have a certain body shape; having a history of sexual abuse.
There are various kinds of eating disorders:
- Anorexia Nervosa: is a condition where one tries to control their weight by not eating enough food or exercising too much or both.
- Bulimia: losing control over how much one eats then taking drastic measures to not put on weight
- Binge eating disorder: eating large portions of food until you feel uncomfortably full
- There are other specified feeding or eating disorders that do not fit in the above 3 categories however your therapist will be able to navigate your treatment.
Here are some symptoms of an eating disorder:
- Spending excessive amounts of time worrying about your weight or body shape
- Avoiding social situations where food may be involved
- Eating very little food
- Purging or taking laxatives after you eat
- Compulsive exercise
- Having strict habits or routines around food
- Changes in your mood
- Dissatisfaction with body type
- Need for perfection
Eating disorders may also show up physically:
- Feeling cold, dizzy or tired
- Poor circulation: tingling or numbness in your arms and legs
- Heart racing, feeling faint or fainting
- Problems with digestion: bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
- Your weight being very high or low for someone in your age range; drastic weight change
- Irregular period or delayed puberty
You can recover from an Eating Disorder however it will take time and the recovery process will be different for everyone. Your treatment will depend on the type of eating disorder you have and any other mental health conditions you have. You will need to take a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment as eating disorders can affect the bio-cognitive aspect of your functioning and thus your physical health, you may be asked to have bloodwork done and have regular health checks with a GP while attending therapy. In some instances, in-patient care may be needed as well. A treatment method used by our clinicians to work with clients is Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-E). This is an outpatient treatment. This treatment method will focus on exploring what is sustaining the eating disorder. Contact us for more information on how you can be seen by our clinicians, including Annelise Lai, who are part of our Eating Disorder team.