EATING DISORDERS

 
 

EATING DISORDERS

ANOREXIA NERVOSA

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a potentially life-threatening mental illness with serious medical complications. It can affect people regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, body shape, weight, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.

 

Some common signs and symptoms of AN include:

  • Preoccupation with eating, food, body shape and weight 

  • Distorted body image, intense fear of gaining weight and sudden weight loss

  • Radical changes in food preferences and quantities eaten

  • Compulsive or excessive exercise and misuse of diuretics and/or laxatives

Our dietitians can help with: 

  • Personalised meal plans for every stage of recovery including supplements

  • Education on the role of nutrition in physical and mental wellbeing 

  • Challenging false beliefs about food and ‘Real time’ meal support therapy, assisted by Ella our Dietwise dog

  • Managing distressing gut symptoms such as nausea, bloating, pain, and early fullness

We believe recovery from AN is possible and we will work as part of a team with other health professionals in your recovery. Our Dietitians use evidence-based treatment approaches such as: enhanced cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-E), family based treatment (FBT) and the principles of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT). 

You can find out more information about anorexia nervosa here

BULIMIA NERVOSA

Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is characterised by eating a large amount of food (binging) in a short period of time. It is followed by compensatory behaviours such as self-induced vomiting, fasting, excessive exercise, using laxatives or diuretics, or using other medications to control body weight. The risks associated with BN are serious and include:

  • Throat - Chronic sore throat, indigestion, reflux, inflamed or ruptured oesophagus 

  • Heart - irregular or slow heartbeat, fainting, dizziness

  • Stomach and intestines - ulcers, irregular bowel movements, constipation, and diarrhoea 

  • Hormones - irregular or absent period, infertility

Our dietitians can help with: 

  • Personalised meal plans for every stage of recovery

  • Education on the role of nutrition in physical and mental wellbeing 

  • Challenging false beliefs about food and ‘real time’ meal support therapy, assisted by Ella our Dietwise dog

  • Normalising bowels

We believe recovery from BN is possible and we will work closely with your treatment team. Dietitians are informed in a range of evidence-based treatment approaches including CBT-E, FBT, DBT and ACT. 

You find out more information about bulimia nervosa here

OSFED

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) is one of the three most common eating disorders and yet is one that is commonly met with delayed identification, misdiagnosis and therefore inappropriate or inadequate treatment. OSFED involves symptoms characteristic of an eating disorder that cause clinically significant impairment in psychological, social or other important areas of functioning but don’t meet full criteria for any of the other eating disorders. An example of someone with OSFED may meet the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa (AN) except for low body weight. Instead, weight loss may have started from a higher or normal weight, and the person may remain at a higher or normal weight.

 

  • Personalised meal plans for every stage of recovery

  • Education on the role of nutrition in physical and mental wellbeing 

  • ‘Real time’ meal support therapy, assisted by Ella our Dietwise dog

  • Challenge nutrition knowledge, eating behaviours and beliefs

  • Managing distressing gut symptoms such as nausea, bloating, pain, and early fullness

 

We believe that recovery from OSFED is possible and we will work closely with your treatment team. The risks associated with OSFED are as clinically significant as other eating disorders with serious medical and psychological consequences. We believe that part of our role is to advocate for multidisciplinary care and provision of education as we understand that the risks of OSFED can be underestimated partly due to weight stigma.

 

You can find out more about OSFED here

How our dietitians help with OSFED

BINGE EATING DISORDER

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is characterised by regular episodes of eating large amounts of food in a short period of time, usually in secret, with no compensatory behaviours. People with BED often feel a loss of control during binges and feel guilt, shame, disgust and embarrassment. The risks associated with BED are serious and include:

  • Extreme body dissatisfaction, shame and low self-esteem 

  • Osteoarthritis, chronic kidney problems, high blood pressure and heart disease

  • Self-harm, substance abuse or suicide attempts

 

Our dietitians can help with: 

  • Understanding binge triggers and ED behaviours that maintain BED

  • Strategies to overcome urges to binge

  • Relapse prevention to find food and body peace 

We believe recovery from BED is possible and we will work closely with your treatment team. Our Dietitians are informed in a range of evidence-based treatment approaches including CBT-E, FBT, DBT and ACT. 

You can find out more information about binge eating disorder here

AVOIDANT/RESTRICTIVE FOOD INTAKE DISORDER (ARFID)

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is often dismissed as 'picky eating' and may go undiagnosed for a while until there is a negative impact on health.  The negative impacts of ARFID can be detrimental as not consuming enough energy and nutrients can inhibit growth and development in children and adults are unable to sustain basic body function. It is different from other eating disorders such as anorexia because people living with ARFID do not worry much about their body weight or how they look but have issues with the food itself.

 

Red flags of ARFID can vary but some of the most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Dramatic weight loss and/or nutritional deficiencies

  • Excessive limited intake of certain types, textures or quantity of food eaten as well as consistent loss of appetite

  • Unknown cause to frequent vague gastrointestinal issues e.g., upset stomach, nausea in the morning or before/after meals

  • Fears of choking or vomiting

  • Food intake becomes progressively limited with time and there is a great dependence of oral nutritional supplements

 

Our dietitians can help with supporting a person living with ARFID through their recovery journey by: 

  • Providing a safe, non-judgemental environment where a person can speak openly and share their concerns/fears/anxiety about food so that together we can build and grow a positive relationship with food

  • Increasing regularity of meals as well as adequacy and variety of foods eaten

  • Correcting nutritional deficiencies and promoting weight gain

  • Educating on the role of nutrition in physical and mental wellbeing 

  • Educating on food shopping, selection, preparation, portioning and consumption

  • Challenging nutrition knowledge, eating behaviours and beliefs 

Our Dietitians are informed in a range of evidence-based treatment approaches including CBT-AR, FBT, DBT and ACT. 

You can find out more information about ARFID here

DISORDERED EATING

Disordered eating refers to a wide range of abnormal behaviours to control weight or shape often seen in anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder even though the full criteria to be diagnosed with the mentioned disordered are not fully met. Common examples of disordered behaviours include::

  • Meal skipping, fasting, restrained eating, restrictive dieting or ‘clean’ eating

  • Compulsive eating, cravings, binge eating and vomiting 

  • Misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas, diet pills, steroids, creatine or illicit drugs

  • Physical and psychological complications similar to diagnosed eating disorders despite the individual’s weight being within or above normal range.

 

The risks are severe and can lead to a clinical eating disorder, weight gain, fatigue, low mood, poor sleep, altered bowels, low self-esteem and significant emotional impairment.

Our dietitians can help you:

  • Restore physical, emotional and mental health by rediscovering ‘normal’ eating

  • Re-establish and respond to hunger and fullness signals

  • Break free from food rules, diet mentality and the destructive diet-binge cycle

  • Learn the principles of mindful and intuitive eating

You can find out more information about other specified feeding and eating disorders here