Eating disorders

Worried about gaining weight? Do you feel fat and unhappy with your body? Do you try to control your weight by being very careful about what you eat? Do you exercise too much? Are there days when you don’t think about anything but food? If you recognise yourself, you may be suffering from an eating disorder. Eating disorders involve excessive control over what you eat and how you look. This can lead to almost your whole life ending up being about planning and thinking about what to eat, evaluating what you have already eaten and how to lose weight. Food, eating and body dissatisfaction lead to anxiety and often also to depression, gastrointestinal problems, recurrent infections, irregular or missed periods and disturbed sleep. Eating disorders are associated with great suffering and many limitations in daily life. We have over 20 years’ experience of working with different types of eating disorders. You can get help with assessment of your problems and difficulties and tailored treatment with CBT according to current evidence. There is a particular focus on elite sport, so if you are a high-level athlete you can receive treatment for problems related to food, eating, exercise and weight. Training is taken into account when designing treatment (see “Sport and health”)

There are different types of eating disorders::
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by underweight (85% of expected body weight in relation to height and age). Despite the low weight, there is an excessive fear of gaining weight along with the feeling of being “fat”. Self-esteem is excessively affected by body weight or shape. Menstrual dysfunction is common. Anorexia occurs in two types, one with restrictive eating and one with binge eating and self-cleansing (i.e., binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors such as vomiting or abuse of laxatives and / or diuretics).

Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating. Binge eating means that a person during a limited time (e.g., 2 hours) eats a significantly larger amount of food than most people would during the corresponding time and circumstance. The person also feels loss of control over their eating, meaning a feeling of not being able to stop eating or control what or how much you eat. Binge eating is followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors to regulate anxiety and prevent weight gain. Examples of compensatory behaviors may be self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives and / or diuretics, or excessive exercise. In people with bulimia, self-esteem is significantly affected by weight and shape.

Binge eating disorder, like bulimia, is characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating. This means that for a limited period of time (e.g. 2 hours), the person eats significantly more food than most people would do at the same time and under the same circumstances. The person experiences a loss of control over eating, which includes a feeling of not being able to stop eating or control how much they eat. People with binge eating disorder also engage in chaotic binge eating with a feeling of loss of control. This means that eating may last for many hours but in small amounts at a time. It is common for eating to continue until the person is uncomfortably full or experiences stomach pains. Binge eating is not followed by compensatory behaviours in the way seen in bulimia. Overweight and obesity are common with binge eating disorder. Non-specific eating disorder is a diagnosis used when it is clear that a person has a number of disordered eating behaviours but that the criteria for any of the eating disorders above are not met. It may be a person who severely restricts their eating for fear of gaining weight but is not underweight. Other examples include binge eating, but not often enough to meet any of the diagnoses. Treatment is always based on your values, i.e. how you want to live your life. It helps you to question the eating disorder and the rules of life that come with it. The aim is to work towards establishing new behaviours in relation to food, eating, exercise and weight. There is also the opportunity to learn about weight, body image, the consequences of binge eating and laxative abuse, and perhaps most importantly, that self-esteem is about more than just weight and figure.