The first idea that comes to our mind when we hear that someone has an eating disorder is that they have a food related problem. Unfortunately, the issue is much more complex and more often than any other mental health issue can prove fatal. Eating disorders can often coincide with depression, anxiety or other emotional distress. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may have an eating disorder it is advised to consult your GP to schedule an official evaluation.
What causes eating disorders?
There are various factors that may cause eating disorders. There is a prevailing belief that society and culture are the most prominent influencers. However, recent studies have shown that genetics plays an important role, too. In most cases, the symptoms start in puberty when the body is undergoing fast changes. It has been a prevailing thought that these issues affect more women than men. However, recent data from NHS has shown a 66% rise in cases of eating disorders among men. Nevertheless, most women tend to overestimate their weight by 10% as they perceive their body parts as separate. Unfortunately, being thin is something that has become very fashionable. Wallis Simpson has become famous for her statement “You can never be too thin or too rich”. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking may have lethal consequences.
What are the sign that someone may have an eating disorder?
Here are the most common signs:
- Behaviour change
- Distorted views of the body image
- Frequent rushing to the bathroom after having food
- Tiredness and frequents naps
- Excessive exercise
- Poor concentration
The difference between hunger and appettite
Here we need to remind ourselves of the difference between hunger and appetite. Hunger is a physical need for food while appetite is a much more complex system. The reason to this is because it involves different hormones that circulate in the blood. Brain scans have shown that hunger signals can adapt, so that pleasure after having food can be replaced with being hungry.
Types of eating disorders
Anorexia nervosa – characterised by the restriction of food intake or binge eating followed by purging behaviour. This is leading to a significantly low body weight. Body mass index is the best indicator of the severity of anorexia nervosa.
Mild: BMI of 17-17.9
Moderate: BMI of 16-16.9
Severe: BMI of 15-15.9
Extreme: BMI of less than 15
Bulimia nervosa – characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating and followed by inappropriate methods of preventing weight gain. These methods may include fasting, excessive exercising or vomiting. There is an increased food intake followed by sense of lack of control over how much one is eating. This can be measured within a certain period of time (e.g. within 2 hours)
Binge Eating disorder – characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating without compensatory behaviours. There is a marked level of distress and lack of control over the amount of food intake. Binge eating disorder is also referred to as compulsive eating. These eating episodes can cause depression, shame and guilt. It is the most widespread of all eating disorders.
What are the side-effects of eating disorders?
In these instances, psychological and physical side-effects are numerous. As the body is not receiving nutrition one can notice significant physical deterioration and a change in cognitive processes.
How can hypnotherapy for eating disorders help?*
Eating disorders are very often associated with anxiety, depression and distorted self-image. Hypnotherapy can help with these symptoms and encourage the person to implement a more positive view on life. Moreover, it encourages a change in thinking processes which can be noticed in the way that body is perceived. Eating disorders may also arise from feelings of helplessness. Being in control of one’s food intake can feel rewarding and actually encourage the habit. Hypnotherapy can remove the emotional charge from events that may have caused a trauma and give the understanding of how our brain works. Hypnotherapy is beneficial on many levels as it shows the client the power of their mind and how they can influence their own physiology. Knowing all this is empowering and helpful in creating a healthier lifestyle and building a more positive outlook on life.
To book an initial consultation and find out how hypnotherapy can help you with eating disorders, contact me via email or by calling 07827 061 637.
* Results may vary from person to person