eating disorders

There are four main types of eating disorders

1. Anorexia nervosa: This condition involves food restriction resulting in significant weight loss, alongside distorted body image and intense fears of gaining weight.

2. Bulimia nervosa: This condition involves a cycle of binge eating, followed by actions to rid the body of food by vomiting, laxative use, over-exercising or fasting. 

3. Binge eating disorder: This condition involves binge eating behaviours that feel uncontrollable and are accompanied by feelings of distress, guilt, shame or disgust. Unlike bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder does not involve taking actions to rid the food, e.g. vomiting.

4. Nonspecific eating disorder: This condition involves disordered eating symptoms that do not completely reflect the other disorders but cause a person significant distress and interfere with their daily life. 

Physical warning signs

Rapid weight loss

Sensitivity to the cold 

Loss or disturbance of menstrual periods 

Signs of frequent vomiting, e.g. calluses on knuckles, damage to teeth

Fainting, dizziness

Fatigue — always feeling tired, unable to perform normal activities

Psychological warning sign

Increased preoccupation with body shape, weight and appearance

Intense fear of gaining weight

Constant preoccupation with food or with activities relating to food

Extreme body dissatisfaction/ negative body image

Distorted body image 

Heightened anxiety around mealtimes

Depression or anxiety

Moodiness or irritability

Low self-esteem (e.g. feeling worthless, feelings of shame, guilt or self-loathing)

Rigid ‘black and white’ thinking (viewing everything as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’) Feelings of life being ‘out of control.’

Feelings of being unable to control behaviours around food

People with eating disorders may feel reluctant to talk to someone about what they're going through. If they suspect a problem, they may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or that they have it under control, which can make seeking help difficult. Fear plays a big part in the way eating disorders work, and even if the person wants help, they may be afraid of taking the next step


A counsellor who has experience with eating disorders can help you understand the underlying reasons behind your behaviours. They can provide you with strategies, tools and coping skills to help you control your symptoms and habits. There are many strategies when working with people who experience eating disorders such as

· Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

· Solution Focused Therapy

· Person-Centred Therapy

· Expressive Arts Therapy

As everyone is unique and individual, your counsellor will be able to guide you on what the best approach is to suit you.