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What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are serious mental health issues affecting many people of all ages today. Eating Disorders tend to occur during a persons teens

It is estimated that approximately 10% of Australians will suffer an eating disorder at some stage during their life.

Most eating disorders occur when a person focuses too much on their weight, body shape and the food they eat, and this leads to obsessive and maladaptive behaviours and attitudes towards food.

They often occur in the teen and early phases of life, although they can still happen at other life stages. If you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, there is help available.

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Are you suffering from any of these eating disorders?

Anorexia Nervosa

  • – Restricting intake of food
  • – Fear of becoming overweight
  • – Want a thinner body
  • – Low body weight

Binge Eating Disorder

  • – Eating large quantities of food quickly
  • – No control over eating
  • – No attempt to vomit or remove food
  • – Eating until uncomfortably full

Rumination Disorder

  • – Brings back up food to re-chew it
  • – Bad breath and tooth decay
  • – Stomach aches and indigestion
  • – Voluntary action after eating

Bulimia Nervosa

  • – Eating large quantities of food
  • – Making yourself vomit after eating
  • – Use of laxatives or fasting tactics
  • – Usually normal in body weight

Pica

  • – Eating objects which are not food
  • – Craving for non-food objects
  • – Often experience stomach pains
  • – Most common in children

Night Eating Syndrome

  • – Waking up to eat at night
  • – Need to eat to go back to sleep
  • – Skipping breakfast meals
  • – May be suffering from stress & anxiety

Is an eating disorder a mental illness?

Mental illness can be defined as a condition of the mind that affects a person’s thinking, mood and ability to function normally and enjoy life.

Eating disorders do exactly that, and are thus considered mental illnesses. Eating disorders can be very serious disorders that are truly debilitating to the sufferer.

One of the most common eating disorders is a purging eating disorder where the sufferer constantly feels the need to binge eat and then feels a strong urge to expel what they have eaten, through self-induced vomiting, and the use of laxatives or diuretics, so as to control the weight, shape and look of their body.

Eating Disorder Symptoms

Abnormal weight loss

Changes to the menstrual cycle

Poor nutrition

Excessive Exercising

Abnormal hair growth

Abdominal discomfort

Bloating

Disruption to the hormonal cycle

Lethargy

Hyperactivity

Skin discolouration

Swelling in the legs

Dizziness

Constipation

Poor Concentration

Eating disorder vs disordered eating

Whereas eating disorders are considered serious, complex mental issues, disordered eating is more incidental and less serious, that is, women often fast, diet, purge, use laxatives and so on when they wish to lose weight for a certain event.

However, if the disordered eating is not addressed, it can potentially develop into a full-blown eating disorder.

Eating disorders and anxiety also often overlap with a high percentage of people who suffer from an eating disorder also experiencing anxiety symptoms.

In most cases, the anxiety precedes the eating disorder, and this could be because the need for control may be triggered by the anxiety, the need to control weight, food intake, exercise and so on.

 

How can I help treat an eating disorder?

Can an eating disorder be cured? Yes.

With proper treatment, many people have returned to normal eating, weight and exercise patterns and habits after suffering an eating disorder.

However, sufferers and their support networks must be vigilant about it, and work to ensure that the thoughts and feelings that led to the disorder in the first place do not start to reoccur.

My experience in dealing with the various different types of mental afflictions is renowned across Sydney’s northern beaches area and beyond.

My step by step process has been proven successful in dealing with many mental afflictions over many years with a broad range of mental afflictions, from eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction issues and stress management, through to anxiety, depression and trauma recovery.

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My Step-by-Step process

In our initial session I will deeply listen and attend to your full life story.

I’ll ask you about your life passions, the things you feel are challenging your well-being, and your medical history.

From here I’ll help you to start healing and feel at peace with yourself.

In counselling and psychotherapy sessions, I help you resolve your problems and any past traumas by focusing on a proven 6 step process.

Step 1: Develop Safety and Trust

We will first work to ensure that you feel safe in your relationship with me. I will do whatever I can to help you feel comfortable and to meet your needs. I will be accepting of you and whatever issues you want to discuss with me.

Building a trusting relationship with me will help you feel more safe, secure and confident within yourself and with others.

Step 2: Discover How to Calm and Soothe Yourself

When you have had long-standing problems such as depression, anxiety, and troubled relationships, your emotions are often on high alert and can feel out of control.

In therapy, we will work to help you relax your mind and your body so that you feel calmer and more at peace. This will make it easier to live your life feeling more comfortable and in control

Step 3: Feeling More at Ease in Your Relationships

As you progress in therapy, you will increase your understanding of how your relationships with others have been impacted by the stressful events in your life.

You will develop a stronger sense of yourself in your relationships, set better boundaries, and become clear on what you need and want from them

Step 4: Increasing Self-Awareness

As your self-awareness of your problems and the role trauma has played in your life increase, you will be able to respond to your life and others in a more positive way.

You will no longer feel like a victim to your emotions and behaviors. You will feel good about the choices you make and your approach to life.

Step 5: Helping You Improve Your Mood

As you heal in therapy, you will begin to experience more joy and pleasure. You will unearth your creativity and experience a greater sense of competence and mastery.

Step 6: Integrating Your Learning into

Your Life You will feel stronger in yourself and feel more whole. Problems and distressing events from the past will no longer have a “hold” on you. You will have a sense of being free and alive.

Why Choose Me?

  • I work with you from a framework of compassion and collaboration to help you solve your problems.
  • I commit to working with you until you heal. My core philosophy is that there is always hope for you to feel better about your life.
  • I help you manage strong emotions, as well as change your thinking and behaviors so that your life improves
  • I will listen to you and accept you, regardless of the problems you bring to therapy.
  • I support you towards being more loving and caring towards yourself, increasing your self-confidence, having better relationships and feeling good about your life.
  • I provide comprehensive mental health assessment and accurate diagnosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of an eating disorder?

If you think you know someone with a problem, some of the things to look out for are:

  • An extreme preoccupation with eating, counting calories, weight gain etc;
  • Sudden weight loss;
  • The wearing of loose, baggy clothes to cover up this weight loss;
  • Obsessive exercising;
  • Complaints about stomach pains, nausea, constipation;
  • Menstrual pattern changes,
  • Fear/avoidance of eating in front of other people;
  • Moodiness and withdrawal

What is the difference between anorexia and bulimia?
Those suffering with anorexia severely reduce their intake of food. In contrast, those suffering from bulimia do not. In the same way, someone diagnosed with anorexia may binge and purge in the same way as someone suffering from bulimia, but the person with anorexia is more likely to be under the healthy body weight range compared to those with bulimia.

Can you tell by looking at someone if they have an eating disorder?

No. Physical appearance alone is not an indicator of an eating disorder. If you or a loved one believes they are struggling with an eating disorder please reach out today.

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