Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, are complex mental health conditions that often require medical and psychological intervention to help the sufferer recover.
The causes of eating disorders are many and varied, and include genetics, personality traits, and trauma. Symptoms can range from severe weight loss to uncontrollable bingeing and purging, excessive exercise, excessive dieting, and an abnormal focus on body image.
Odd rituals, such as cutting food into very small pieces or measuring food
Eating only “safe” or “good” foods, low in calories and fat
Dressing in layers to hide weight loss or gain
Long bathroom visits after eating
Spending lots of time thinking about and planning the next eating binge
Spending more time playing with food than eating it
Spending less time with family and friends
Being withdrawn and secretive
Stealing or hoarding food
An eating disorder is a complicated and debilitating psychiatric illness that can result in pain, confusion, and anxiety for the person and their family. These disorders are one of the most difficult psychiatric disorders to fully recover from, and anorexia nervosa is the psychiatric illness with the highest mortality rate of all.
This doesn’t mean that you should feel discouraged in seeking help for yourself or your loved one. In fact, this is why it’s all the more important to seek specialised, expert, understanding care from experienced healthcare professionals.
With the right treatment, people suffering from these devastating illnesses can learn to change their thinking about food, eating, and body image.
There is often a lot of shame and secrecy around eating disorders, with sufferers frequently feeling resistance to treatments that could cause them to gain weight.
It is important to address the issue if you are concerned for a loved one, but also vital to do so in a caring and non-judgemental way.
Causes of eating disorders vary. These include genetics, personality traits, and the experience of trauma.
Different types of eating disorders include:
Characterised by food restriction, body image disturbance or body dysmorphia, intense fear of gaining weight, and an excessive desire for thinness.
Characterised by recurring episodes of binge eating, where there are no ‘compensatory behaviours’ like purging or excessive exercising.
Characterised by recurring binges followed by compensatory behaviour like purging (vomiting, using excessive laxatives/diuretics, or excessive exercise).
For more information, please contact us.
Our eating self-assessment can help you better understand and reflect on what you're experiencing, and find the assistance you may need.
The Netcare Akeso eating disorders programmes specialise in providing holistic and specialist treatment for those suffering from an eating disorder. The treatment programme is designed to address the patients’ immediate need for recovery and provide them and their loved ones with a means of coping with the illness going forward.
As part of our commitment to providing the best and safest care to all of our patients, we listen. If you have anything you'd like to ask us, or need assistance accessing our services, please get in touch.