Eating Disorders (Anorexia & Bulemia)
What Is It?
People with anorexia nervosa are extremely restrictive in what they eat and drink because of fear of weight gain and poor body image. Sometimes this behaviour is also driven as a way of trying to regain control over your life. People with bulimia nervosa may ‘binge’ (eat a lot of food in one go), and are then sick and may take laxatives to get rid of the food.
Do I have a problem?
The ‘SCOFF’ questionnaire used by doctors asks:
- Do you make yourself sick because you’re uncomfortably full?
- Do you worry that you’ve lost control over how much you eat?
- Have you recently lost more than 6 kilograms (about one stone) in three months?
- Do you believe you’re fat when others say you’re thin?
- Would you say that food dominates your life?
If you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may have an eating disorder.
What Might Help?
- Having regular health checkups. It is important that you have checkups with your doctor to monitor the impact the eating disorder may be having on your body.
- Remembering gaining weight is not the same thing as recovery. But you can’t recover without gaining weight. People who are severely starved usually find it difficult to concentrate or think clearly.
- Seeking professional help. Speaking with you GP regarding your eating difficulties and considering a referral for specialist help in CAMHS. You may be offered family work, individual work such Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which will focus on thoughts, feelings and behaviours or Psychodynamic work, which explores relationships with others and understanding causes of difficulties.
- Medication. Sometimes medication is prescribed to help reduce the anxiety you might experience and to reduce the ‘ruminations’ (thinking) that sufferers describe.
Useful Clips and Stories:
- Recovery Record (Android and iOS)
- Rise Up + Recovery
- Lots of information from a specialist service experienced in addressing eating disorders
- B-eat has a helpline for adults (0345 634 1414) and for young people (0345 634 7650) both operate between 1-4pm on weekdays
- Self Help Tips
- Breaking free from Anorexia Nervosa: a survival guide for families, friends and sufferers by Janet Treasure, Psychology Press 2013.
- Getting better BITE by BITE: A survival kit for sufferers of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders by Janet Treasure and Ulrike Schmidt, Hove Psychology Press 2015.