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
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
HOW CAN COUNSELLING HELP?
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.