Eating disorders are characterised by severe disturbances in eating behaviours such as refusing to maintain a body weight that is normal for height and physical activity. There might be severe restriction of food intake and/or recurrent binge eating coupled with what is called ‘purging behaviours’ such as vomiting, misuse of laxatives and excessive exercise to get rid of calories consumed.
In addition, there is a maladaptive and very unhealthy over-evaluation of body shape and weight such that personal worth is judged solely in terms of appearance or weight.
Sadly, a person with an eating disorder pays a dear price for trying to achieve the illusory goal of happiness through weight control. Nearly every organ system is affected by dietary restriction with physical symptoms ranging from a heightened sensitivity to cold and dizziness to amenorrhea (no menstrual cycles in post-pubertal females) and infertility.
Anorexia is associated with an increased risk of death due to medical complications or suicide. The exclusive psychological focus on eating and weight and the dependence of self-worth on achieving unrealistic goals causes much distress and unhappiness.
In many individuals, even after recovery from an eating disorder, residual features are common such as over concern about shape, weight and eating.
Symptoms of EATING DISORDERS
- excessive, abnormal and obsessive weight control methods.
- Skipping meals and eating only an apple for dinner, loo visits immediately after meals,
- unrealistic or abnormal rules for eating, long lists of taboo foods
- Feeling very low, negative about self, is overly critical
- Fluctuates between extreme despondency to an irritable over-confidence and self-righteousness, almost an attitude of ‘I know best’, especially when it comes to weight and eating.
Treatment for Eating Disorders
Where possible, intervention should be delivered by a multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals.
At Psynaptica, the psychological management of eating disorders is done using a combination of methods including cognitive behavior therapy to modify ways of thinking and behaviours maintaining the disorder and address the over evaluation of shape and weight.
As a part of Body with Soul network, our Psychologists work with registered dietitians and other healthcare professionals towards positive health outcomes.