Empowering steps to begin overpowering eating disorders

Treating an eating disorder is no easy task. You’re not just trying to cut out unhealthy eating; you’re also going deep into your psyche. It’s a case of digging out psychological issues that caused you to have the disorder in the first place. We’re going to give you a few useful tips to help either yourself or someone you know going through this struggle.

Tips and steps to help someone

Eating disorders affect people of every age, gender and background. These are very serious conditions that lead to severe health issues. It has nothing to do with vanity or a desire to be thin. Normally, it is actually a way to cope with deeper emotional problems. It is essential that you come from a position of compassion when helping others (and also when helping yourself). Judgement can be a natural response, but it is important to see things from the other person’s perspective.

Starting recovery

The first step in any recovery is always acknowledgement of the problem. It can be a daunting task, as the disorder is usually a coping mechanism. Recovery involves learning new ways to cope with emotional stress. That means developing a balanced relationship with food, as well as accepting and loving oneself, and also learning what that actually means.

Support systems

After acceptance, it is important you move towards opening up with loved ones and professionals. Opening up is a key step, but it should be with someone who you feel is supportive and a non-judgemental listener. Support groups can also provide a sense of community and understanding, providing a space to share experiences and coping strategies.

When you engage in therapy, you must do so without holding back thoughts and feelings. If you are fully present and engaged during sessions, they are much more effective. Outside of therapy, you should work on assignments or reflections.

Personal reflection and goal setting

Recovery is a unique experience for every individual involved. That is why it is important to set goals that are personal to you and you alone. Once you have done so, you should tackle achieving those goals in a bitesize, achievable and incremental way.

Self-care and mental health

Mindfulness, gratitude journals, prioritising sleep and engaging in other non-stress activities like being creative (drawing, writing etc) can support mental health during recovery.

Social gatherings and holidays aren’t stress-free for everyone. Especially when food is involved, maintaining a light schedule and sticking to established eating routines can help manage these situations far more effectively.

Recovering from an eating disorder is not a simple process. It requires a lot of patience, support and a readiness to accept change and move forward.

What effects can eating disorders have on people?

Eating disorders are very serious conditions that impact individuals beyond simple dietary concerns or issues of appearance. There are numerous types of eating disorders, such as:

The preoccupation with food, body weight and shape is often part of a larger struggle. This struggle is usually related to attempts to cope with psychological stress or emotional pain.

Physical effects of eating disorders

Eating disorders can destroy nearly every organ system in the body. For example, anorexia nervosa leads to:

  • Extreme thinness
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Severe constipation
  • In the worst cases, multiorgan failure or death is a result of complications from starvation or even suicide.

Bulimia nervosa can cause:

  • Chronic sore throats
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Dental decay
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Potentially life-threatening heart conditions due to the pain of recurrent bingeing and purging.

Binge-eating disorder, the most common in the U.S., is often associated with obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Emotional effects of eating disorders

Obsessive thoughts about food and body image ultimately can lead to severe anxiety, depression and isolation, which have quite negative effects on a person’s quality of life. The shame and secrecy that come with these disorders can prevent individuals from seeking help.

Eating disorders can also negatively impact cognitive function because of the brain’s high demand for nutrients. Malnutrition and poor eating patterns can lead to difficulties concentrating, obsessive thoughts about food, mood swings and sleep disturbances. Inadequate nutrition can also cause numbness, tingling and seizures due to electrolyte imbalances.

How do I treat each different type of eating disorder?

Each type of eating disorder requires a slightly different medical approach. We will go over them here:

Anorexia nervosa treatment

Anorexia nervosa treatment involves different types of care, such as medical attention, restoring a healthy weight, psychotherapy, and sometimes medications. The main goal, of course, is to return to a healthy weight and integrate strategies to teach you about proper nutrition. This frequently involves a team of professionals (a primary care doctor, psychologist, dietitian and family support).

Psychotherapy, mainly family-based therapy for teenagers and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for adults, is essential. Medications can also be used to treat co-occurring mental health disorders, but there are no medications that are specifically approved for anorexia itself.

Specific anorexia nervosa symptoms include:

  • Extreme restriction of food intake
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Distorted body image

Individuals may suffer from:

  • Severe thinness
  • Anaemia
  • Heart problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle loss
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Electrolyte imbalances

Bulimia nervosa treatment

Similar to anorexia, bulimia treatment requires psychotherapy, especially CBT, to tackle distorted perceptions about weight and body shape. It is also necessary to help modify behaviours linked to binge eating and purging. Nutritional counselling and group or family therapy are also essential components.

Bulimia recovery involves:

  • Stabilising weight loss
  • Beginning nutrition rehab
  • Eliminating problematic eating behaviours
  • Treating psychological issues
  • Promoting long-term behavioural changes.

The balance between food and self-image

Achieving a healthy relationship with food and self-image has a lot to do with intuition. Focusing on eating intuitively and having a balanced, nutritious diet can ultimately enhance body confidence. The more this becomes a natural part of your dietary routine, the easier it will be to move away from the guilt and shame associated with eating out of sync with your body’s needs.

Adding mood-boosting foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids while limiting sugar, caffeine, and alcohol intake can positively impact mental health and general self-esteem.

Building a relationship with professionals like nutritionists and therapists (such as those working for UKAT) can also greatly help develop a healthier self-image.

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Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 3757