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Eating disorders and issues over food


Healing the Relationship with Food: Understanding and Overcoming Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are not simply about food and weight; they represent complex mental health conditions stemming from a tangled web of emotional struggles, distorted self-image, and often underlying anxieties. They are multifaceted conditions and a variety of psychological treatments offer a path towards recovery.

Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders encompass a variety of diagnoses, including:


  • Anorexia Nervosa: Characterized by severe food restriction, intense fear of weight gain, and a disturbed body image.

  • Bulimia Nervosa: Involves recurrent episodes of binge eating (consuming large amounts of food in a short period) followed by purging behaviours such as self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or laxative use.

  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED): Recurrent binge eating episodes without purging, often accompanied by feelings of guilt and loss of control.

  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED): encompasses clinically significant eating disorder presentations that don't fully meet the criteria for the specified diagnoses.

The Role of Psychological Therapy

Alongside necessary medical support, psychological therapy is a cornerstone of eating disorder treatment. Here are the most established approaches:


  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Enhanced (CBT-E): CBT-E is an evidence-backed therapy specifically tailored for eating disorders. It helps identify and address distorted thoughts and behaviours related to eating, body image, and self-worth. Therapists guide individuals in establishing regular eating patterns, monitoring their feelings surrounding food, and developing healthier coping mechanisms.

  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and addressing social difficulties that often contribute to or maintain eating disorders.

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): DBT teaches skills in mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness – all valuable tools for individuals with eating disorders who may struggle with overwhelming emotions.

  • Mindfulness-Based Approaches: Cultivate non-judgmental awareness of thoughts and feelings related to food and body image, helping to break away from harmful patterns.

  • Addressing Co-occurring Conditions: Anxiety, depression, and trauma often co-exist with eating disorders and require tailored treatment alongside the eating disorder itself.

Which approach is suitable may depend on the severity of your disorder. Any disorder has the potential to become serious and should not be underestimated. CBT or other therapists at the practice might be able to help with broader issues playing into the disorder, such as anxiety or relationship problems. However, it might be sensible to also consider specialist treatment. Discussions with any of the therapists at the practice might be useful to gauge where things are at, and joint decisions can then be made from there.

The Road to Recovery

Recovering from an eating disorder takes time, patience, and a dedicated support system. Organizations like Beat ( also offer specialized resources and support within the UK. With the right treatment and support, full recovery should be possible.

Choice of approaches

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Existential Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization  and Reprocessing

Integrative Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic Therapy

How we can help

  • Family relationships with children and adolescents

  • Fears around getting older and mortality

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Health anxiety

  • Loneliness and social isolation

  • Low mood and loss of motivation and purpose

  • Male identity and men’s issues

  • Marriage issues

  • Menopause and life changes issues

  • Mood swings

  • Obsessions and intrusive thoughts

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Panic Disorder

  • Professional and career difficulties

  • Postnatal depression and baby blues 

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