What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is a mental health condition where people control food to cope with their feelings and other situations. Unhealthy eating behaviours may include eating too much or too little, being concerned about body weight or shape or over exercising.
Common types of eating disorders are bulimia, binge eating disorder, avoidant or restrictive food intake and anorexia.
Signs of eating disorders
Depending on the eating disorder, the symptoms vary, but can include:
● Cycles of binges (eating large amounts of food at once), sometimes followed by purges (getting rid of food by forced vomiting or laxative use)
● Very strict controls around eating and drinking – what, where and when
● Distorted body image and a deep fear of gaining weight
● Feelings of disgust, shame or guilt related to eating or exercise
● Low self-esteem, irritability and mood swings
How we can support your employee/member
Psychological therapies that have been adapted for eating disorders including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and specialist family therapies.
These provide a goal-focused collaborative approach to treatment, which will help:
- Education around the difficulties
- Reveal and challenge beliefs around eating and associated behaviours, and educate them on the problem
- Establish an understanding of binge patterns and how they may be related to mood and other stressors
- Also address the underlying causes or accompanying difficulties, such as low mood, irritability, anxiety or low self-esteem
Psychiatric care can be provided where it is clinically appropriate and if this is in the agreed support plan for your member/employee. Psychiatry will provide a comprehensive assessment, diagnosis, treatment recommendations and medication where appropriate and ongoing review as required.
If psychiatric support is needed for clients who do not have this cover, we will always ensure clients are safely transferred into local NHS services to ensure safe and effective care is provided.