We offer eating disorders counselling here at You Call We Listen, and have professional online counsellors ready to take your call who specialise in bulimia counselling and anorexia counselling.
If you are unsure if you have an eating disorder or know you have but not sure what to do then speak to one of our professional eating disorders counsellors now, we are here to listen to you and guide you on the road to a happier life free from the chains of control an eating disorder brings.
People who suffer from an eating disorder will be obsessed with the way their body looks and what weight they currently are. Many people will see themselves as unattractive or overweight due to an easting disorder. If a person sees themselves as overweight or unattractive, then this will lead to changes in eating and the habits of those involved. An eating disorder can change a person’s mental state and how they physically look. Eating disorders are seen to me common in certain age groups, such as young adults. However, eating disorders can affect anybody of any age and gender. Many people use an eating disorder as a way of coping with a certain event they have experienced in their lives.
Eating disorders can be seen to be complex and there are many signs involved with the disorder. Depression has also been known to co-exist with an eating disorder and many sufferers may also experience mental health issues with a eating disorder.
Do I have an eating disorder?
Many people who have an eating disorder have thoughts around food and their lives revolve around food and eating. Many doctors that diagnose people with an eating disorder use something called the SCOFF – which is a questionnaire.
If your thoughts revolve around food or the way you look, and this is affecting the way you eat - you may be at risk of developing an eating disorder. Doctors typically use a questionnaire called SCOFF to help them diagnose eating disorders, the questions that are asked include:
- Sick - Do you even make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
- Control - Do you worry that you have lost control when it comes to the amount you eat?
- One stone - Have you recently lost more than one stone in a three-month period?
- Fat - Do you think you are fat even though others say you are thin?
- Food - Would you say that food dominates your life?
The above questions are used more as a guide, rather that an actual diagnosis. If a person has trouble with an eating disorder, then it’s best to start to get help earlier. If your illness is diagnosed early, it increases the chance of being able to support and stop it.
Causes of eating disorders
There are many different reasons why people may develop an eating disorder, ranging from peer and cultural pressure, to what people describe as beauty or the best body shape. There is hardly one specific reason why people develop an eating disorder – there are many factors to consider.
- A member of your family has had or does have an eating disorder.
- Criticized for your eating habits.
- Pressured to stay slim for your job or hobby.
- Being anxious about your weight or trying to be ‘perfect’.
- Experiencing a traumatic experience (such as a family member passing away)
- Experiencing great levels of stress
Types of eating disorders
There are 3 main types of eating disorders that people can develop. Each of the three disorders have their own factors and symptoms. They are:
The first eating disorder is Anorexia Nervosa, or just Anorexia. This disorder can make a person feel overweight and unhappy with their weight, even if they are severely underweight and unhealthy in this way. A person will skip means and exercise excessively as they feel as though they are not at a normal weight, which in turn is very unhealthy.
The second eating disorder is Bulimia Nervosa. This disorder is similar to Anorexia as sufferers of this illness have the same desire to lose weight as those who are suffering from Anorexia. With Bulimia Nervosa, sufferers will make themselves sick in order to regurgitate food and therefore, not digest it.
The third disorder is Binge-Eating. Binge-Eating is an eating disorder that makes sufferers feel compelled to over eat and think about food all the time. This is usually due to a stressful experience that they have gone through and they see food as a way of comforting themselves, which can lead to many health problems.
Eating disorders can get progressively worse if left untreated. Eating disorders can lead to physical and mental health issues, and sometimes, in rare cases, these can be fatal. The first point of contact to make is with someone you trust, a close friend or family member. Talking and telling people how you feel will, in the long run, make you feel better. It’s a sense of getting something off your shoulders. Apart from speaking to friends and family members, you can also speak to a professional, such as a counsellor. Speaking to a counsellor will offer invaluable support as they guide you through your treatment.
There are a few treatments for eating disorders, each with their own characteristics. The treatment that you receive for an eating disorder, will depend on your circumstances. However, the majority of treatments available include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – This therapy procedure is used to help you change the way you think and behave, especially around food and your eating habits.
- Family therapy – Having your family in the same place at the same time gives a new angle of approach to therapy and can help with getting everyone’s side of the story and how they are feeling.
- Medication – Many people with eating disorders will be given some kind of anti-depressant drug. This could be a number of possible medications.
Spotting signs of eating disorders in others
If you are family member or a close friend of somebody and you are worrying that they might be developing an eating disorder, there are a few signs that you can keep an eye out for. These include:
- Skipping meals
- Complaining about being fat even when they are a normal weight or underweight
- Weighing themselves constantly
- Cooking large meals for others, but not eating themselves
- When they do eat, they only eat low-calorie foods
- They feel uncomfortable eating in public
- They make a trip to the bathroom after eating a large meal
If you do indeed think that a close friend or a family member has / or is developing an eating disorder, the best thing you can do is offer them support. Encouraging them to seek help, such as a counsellor can be a massive help. Many sufferers many be shy or anxious, and if this is the case, having a gentle approach to the subject matter will be the best cause of action. You can also print out helpful information and give it to them, which may offer them a small amount of support. One of the best things you can do is reiterate how much you care and be there for them as much as possible.
We provide telephone counselling and email counselling specialising in depression, bullying, cancer, OCD, stress, bereavement, self-esteem, trauma & abuse.