Phone: 03 9005 7819  |  Fax: 03 8692 6701  |  Location: Suite 502, 365 Little Collins Street, Melbourne Victoria

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Treatments for Eating Disorders including Anorexia, Bulimia & Binging

Eating disorders develop when the consumption of food becomes linked with a person's anxiety, mood and self-worth to the extent that attempts are made to avoid eating altogether. The most well-known eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa which tends to involve an excessive and often harmful desire to be thinner than how we see ourselves. Anorexia often involves a severe reduction in food consumption to the point of starvation whereas bulimia involves a consistent cycle of eating and compensation. Both these patterns often result in negative effects on both our physical and mental health. In contrast, binge eating disorder involves more frequent consumption of large portion sizes and engagement in unhealthy behaviours due to the fear of putting on weight.

What Causes an Eating Disorder?

The treatment of eating disorders is often complex given that there are several factors that contribute to these conditions:

  • Biological factors - research has identified that some of us have a genetic predisposition towards developing an eating disorder.

  • Environmental factors - periods of high stress, significant change or vulnerability (e.g., puberty, pregnancy, trauma, relationship difficulties) can affect our eating behaviours and beliefs.

  • Personality factors - studies indicate that low self-esteem, perfectionism, high needs for control, strong desires to please others, and issues in developing sexuality, amongst others, tend to contribute to the development of certain eating disorders.

  • Social/Cultural factors - subscription to role models in the media or individuals in our social groups who promote an unrealistic image of beauty or self-image can promote irrational dissatisfaction with our own image.

Our psychologists utilise cognitive, emotional and behavioural strategies to promote healthy management of these factors.

Indicators to Seek Help

 

It can be difficult to identify or admit that we need help in managing our behaviour when it comes to eating.

 

Here are some common experiences that people have when experiencing issues with their eating:

 

  • Compulsive or excessive exercising

  • Extreme sensitivity to comments about body shape, weight, eating and exercise habits

  • Fainting or dizziness

  • Feeling anxious and or irritable around mealtimes

  • Lethargy and low energy

  • Obsessive rituals around food preparation and eating

  • Preoccupation with eating, food, body shape and weight

  • Rapid weight loss or frequent weight changes

  • Signs of damage due to vomiting including swelling around the cheeks or jaw, calluses on knuckles, damage to teeth and bad breath

  • Using food as a source of comfort or self-punishment

  • Vomiting or using laxatives, enemas, appetite suppressants or diuretics

Please contact us or speak with your GP and family if you are experiencing any of these issues.