What is an Eating Disorder?
Eating Disorder is a general term used to describe individuals who exhibit extreme unhealthy eating patterns.
Unhealthy eating patterns can manifest in both inadequate food intake and/or excessive food intake.
The most well-known eating disorders include Anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating.
Any Eating Disorder has significant implications to a person’s mental and physical well-being. If left untreated, the problem can also be life threatening given the stress it places on their bodies both mentally and physically.
In general women are more susceptible to eating disorders, but the condition is also prevalent in males.
Causes of Eating Disorders
The cause of eating disorders is unknown, however, it is often found in people who also present other psychological and medical conditions.
Some common issues observed in individuals presenting an Eating Disorder include:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Negative view of body image
- Post-traumatic stress
With today’s media increasingly portraying the message that “thin is better”, the pressure on many individuals to achieve “thinness” has resulted in an increase in prevalence of eating disorders in recent years.
Symptoms of Eating Disorders
The most common forms and symptoms of Eating Disorders include:
- Partial or total abstinence from both solid and liquid foods
- Unrelenting fear of gaining weight
- Restrictive eating despite being underweight
- Excessive exercise
- May also exhibits laxative abuse and purging
- Repeatedly overeating and then self-induced vomiting on a frequent basis
- Overeating normally emotionally induced and impulsive
- Purging related to guilt of overeating
- Frequently exhibits laxative abuse and extreme fasting
- May develop chronic gastric reflux which occurs after meals
Binge Eating Disorder
- Compulsive overeating often to the point of being physically uncomfortable
- There is no compensatory behaviour (such as self-induced purging)
- Eats even when not hungry
- Can occur in both obese and “normal” weight individuals
- Often eats by themselves because are ashamed by the quantity of food consumed
- Commonly feels depressed after binge eating
Treatment for Eating Disorders
Think Psychological Services employs the use of counselling and psychotherapy to help patients suffering from eating disorders.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Family Therapy, and behaviour modification techniques (e.g. exposed eating programs) is the primary mode of therapy used with patients to help identify the emotions connected with eating and how they perceive their body image.
We also recommend a health screening and work closely with the patient’s general practitioner to ensure appropriate outpatient treatment is being received.