What is an eating disorder?
The definition of eating disorders is ‘a range of psychological disorders characterised by abnormal or disturbed eating habits’. Most people are familiar with the disorders Anorexia and Bulimia but are less familiar with Binge Eating Disorder (without purging), Compulsive Overeating and Orthorexia (obsession with only eating certain types of healthy foods)
Anorexia: the term anorexia nervosa means ‘loss of appetite for nervous reasons’.
Physical symptoms include: rapid and dramatic weight loss; loss of menstrual periods; growth of downy hair on body; dizzy spells/fainting; muscle loss; felling cold; tiredness; dry skin and hair loss.
Behavioural symptoms could include: restrictions of food intake; counting calories; cutting out many groups of food, skipping meals, excessive exercise, withdrawal from social events and wearing lots of layers of clothing.
Psychological symptoms: inability to concentrate; mood swings; depression and anxiety around meal times.
Bulimia: the term bulimia nervosa means ‘the nervous hunger of an ox’.
Physical symptoms: swelling of the cheeks or jaw areas; discolouration/erosion of teeth; bad breath; sore throat and tiredness.
Behavioural symptoms could include: binging, purging (vomiting); use of laxatives, excessive exercise, disappearing after meals; hoarding foods; withdrawal from social outings.
Psychological symptoms: an inability to concentrate; mood swings; severe depression and extreme anxiety especially around food.
What are the dangers of eating disorders?
Anorexia has the highest death rate (20%) of any mental disorder! Eating disorders can cause great physical damage: heart failure; extremely low blood pressure; osteoporosis; irregular bowel movements; fertility problems; kidney failure; and if bulimic, also gastric rupture; damaged stomach lining; ulcers and tooth decay.
Who gets eating disorders?
The majority of people who suffer from eating disorders are usually above average intelligence, very high achievers, perfectionists and extremely competitive. Traditionally teenage girls were in the majority of those suffering but younger girls, older women and men are now presenting with the symptoms.
Hypno-Psychoanalysis to treat Eating Disorders
The first and most important thing to say about any eating disorder is that it is NOT about the food. Food is the symptom of the underlying issue. In other words, it is the tool chosen by the subconscious mind to cope with and/or deal with the feelings going on underneath.
It is all about control! The sufferer’s intake of food may be the one and only thing in their live that they are in control of when everything else is out of control. The initial diet or desire to lose a little weight starts off well as the person controls what they eat but then suddenly the eating disorders emerges and it controls the person. When this happens their thoughts and feelings are no longer under their control but under the control of the disorder.
The underlying belief almost always comes down to the belief that they are not loved, that they are not good enough and they are not worth anything. Sometimes it is about not wanting to grow up!
Having a condition, having a label makes them important … a ‘somebody’. The more severe the condition and symptoms the more important they feel as their family and friends worry and do all they can to heal their son, daughter, wife, sister etc. However, many sufferers hold on to their condition because the loss of attention and support may be too great at a psychological level.
Setanta Hypnotherapy Clinic
No two clients who come to Setanta Hypnotherapy Clinic are treated the same because no two eating disorder clients are the same. The first step is to help each client to deal with the underlying reasons behind why they are doing what they are doing. The reasons are complex and there may be layers and layers that need peeling away. The mainstream medical approach to treating eating disorders is first to get the patient to start eating and then to deal with the psychological causes for the disorder. This may be a bit like putting the cart before the horse and why these disorders are so very difficult to treat successfully.
What we do is help the client to sort out the head first in order to be able and willing to eat again. Working with clients with eating disorders takes some time. It is not a magical therapy that suddenly makes everything alright again but given time and trust there is hope for the client who is prepared to stay in therapy and take part in the recovery process.
Call Mary at Setanta Hypnotherapy Clinic in Peel, Isle of Man on 842938 to book a free consultation to find out how I can help you.
In the case of a minor living at home and seeking therapy from us to resolve an eating disorder and depending on the seriousness of the child’s condition we require that at least one parent, as the child’s primary carer also undergo Analytical Hypnotherapy.