What is an eating disorder?
Eating disorders includes anorexia, bulimia as well as binge eating/ compulsive overeating. In anorexia and bulimia the person has a deep fear of becoming fat. While the anorexic manages this fear by obsessively restricting how many calories they consume; the bulimic will distract themselves from their painful feelings through a cycle of binge eating followed by vomiting. All eating disorders are an attempt by the individual to control overwhelming and painful feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and low self esteem.
What are the causes of an eating disorder?
Research suggests that eating disorders are caused by a combination of genetic factors; social /media pressure and/or psychological factors. Psychological triggers for an eating disorder include distorted body image; low self esteem; depression and stressful life events.
What is the treatment for an eating disorder?Recovering from an eating disorder can take a long time. The counselling process will involve:
- addressing the self harming, eating disorder cycle and developing positive strategies to handle life stresses (eg mindfulness and meditation)
- challenging negative beliefs/thought patterns about yourself and replacing these with self soothing, nurturing and compassionate thoughts. In this way counselling can change the neural pathways in your brain.
- connecting to the painful feelings(eg anger or depression)/childhood trauma that triggered the eating disorder
- developing a positive and healthy relationship with food. Choosing foods which increase your serotonin and dopamine levels will boost your mood