Did you know that successful treatment and complete recovery from an eating disorder is possible?
Even so, taking the first steps towards treatment can be challenging.
You may feel nervous, anxious, embarrassed, ashamed or scared about getting help, that's normal and lots of other's have felt the same way.
Lots clients we have worked with said they felt like they had their disorder under control, even when they didn't.
Whatever your story, and wherever you are on your path, seeking help as early as possible greatly reduces the severity, duration and impact of an eating disorder.
If you notice any warning signs or symptoms, whether in yourself or someone you care for, we recommend seeking professional help straight away, rather than waiting for the illness to progress.
Dr Amanda Mullin has worked in inpatient and outpatient eating disorder units, and currently works with clients in private practice.
Dr Carmel Harrison is a specialist in the field of Binge Eating.
Get help now
If you do need to speak to someone urgently, the Butterfly’s National Support Line and Web Counselling Service provides free, confidential support for anyone.
This includes anyone with a question about eating disorders or negative body image - including carers, family and friends.
Phone: 1800 ED HOPE / 1800 33 4673
The Centre for Eating and Dieting Disorders (CEDD)
CEDD is an academic and service support centre based in Sydney.
Phone: 02 9515 6040
Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses; they are not a lifestyle choice or a diet gone ‘too far.’
Eating disorders are associated with significant physical complications and increased mortality. The mortality rate for people with eating disorders is over 12 times higher than that for people without eating disorders.
Eating disorders occur in both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, and from all cultural backgrounds.
About one in 20 Australians has an eating disorder and the rate in the Australian population is increasing.
At Mindworx Psychology we use range of therapies to manage and treat eating disorders. We often work with dietitians, GPs and psychiatrists, but we sometimes work privately just with our client. Sometimes we work with our clients family too.
Because all our clients are unique, there is no prescribed approach. Generally, we put a a lot of emphasis on understanding thoughts, emotions, behaviours, patterns of thinking, motivations and relationships. We want to understand your problem - why it started, why it continues. Why it helps you, and how it gets in your way.
We use cognitive therapies, behavioural therapies, dialectical therapy, mindfulness, narrative and a whole eclectic range of evidence based approaches to find something that will work for you.
Therapy isn't something we do to you - it's something we do together to help you reach your goals.
There are many warning signs that can signal beginning or the presence of an eating disorder.
However, eating disorders are complex, and although some people may display a combination of symptoms, other show only one, or hide their symptoms. It is very common for people with an eating disorder to conceal their behaviour, or to not even recognise that there is anything wrong or that their eating habits have become ‘disordered.’ This can make the warning signs more difficult to identify.
If you are worried about yourself, a friend or a family member, please start by making contact with a professional - you can make a free call and confidential call to the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 334 673 to discuss your concerns, or make an appointment with your GP or a Clinical Psychologist who specialises in this area.
Physical warning signs
- Rapid weight loss or frequent weight change
- Loss or disturbance of menstruation in girls and women and decreased libido in men
- Fainting or dizziness
- Feeling tired and not sleeping well
- Lethargy and low energy
- Signs of damage due to vomiting including swelling around the cheeks or jaw, calluses on knuckles, damage to teeth and bad breath
- Feeling cold most of the time, even in warm weather
Psychological warning signs:
- Preoccupation with eating, food, body shape and weight
- Feeling anxious and or irritable around meal times
- Feeling ‘out of control’ around food
- 'Black and white’ thinking (e.g. rigid thoughts about food being ‘good’ or ‘bad’)
- A distorted body image
- Using food as a source of comfort (e.g. eating as a way to deal with boredom, stress or depression)
- Using food as self-punishment (e.g. refusing to eat due to depression, stress or other emotional reasons)
Behavioural warning signs
- Dieting behaviour (e.g. fasting, counting calories/kilojoules, avoiding food groups such as fats and carbohydrates)
- Eating in private
- Avoiding meals with other people
- Evidence of binge eating (e.g. disappearance and/or hoarding of food)
- Frequent trips to the bathroom during or shortly after meals
- Vomiting or using laxatives , enemas, appetite suppressants or diuretics
- Changes in clothing style (e.g. wearing baggy clothes)
- Compulsive or excessive exercising (e.g. exercising in bad weather, continuing to exercise when sick)
- Experiencing distress if exercise is not possible
- Changes in food preferences (e.g. claiming to dislike foods previously enjoyed)
- Sudden preoccupation with ‘healthy eating’, or replacing meals with fluids
- Obsessive rituals around food preparation and eating (e.g. eating very slowly, cutting food into very small pieces, insisting that meals are served at exactly the same time every day)
- Extreme sensitivity to comments about body shape, weight, eating and exercise habits
- Secretive behaviour around food (e.g. saying they have eaten when they haven’t, hiding uneaten food in their rooms)