Saturday, June 15, 2024

What’s An Eating Disorder

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Can I Be Detained In Hospital Under The Mental Health Act

What is the difference between an eating disorder and disordered eating?

Eating disorders are mental disorders. Your life may be at risk if your eating disorder is very bad. You may need treatment in hospital. If you refuse treatment you can be sent to hospital. You can be treated against your will under the Mental Health Act.

How will doctors decide if I should be detained under the Mental Health Act?

Doctors will look at risk to decide if you need to be sent to hospital. They should not base their decision on your weight or body mass index alone. Other things they will look at include:

  • your pulse, blood pressure and core temperature,
  • muscle power,
  • blood tests for things like your sodium, potassium and glucose levels, and
  • your heart rate.

Can I be force-fed?

Feeding is recognised as treatment for anorexia under the Mental Health Act.

The person in charge of your care under the Mental Health Act is called the responsible clinician. This person will be a psychiatrist or another professional who has had specialist training.

A responsible clinician must be appointed to look after your care if you are detained on a medical ward.

You can find more information about the Mental Health Act by clicking here.

Focus On Feeding And Rest

The first and most important thing when your child has an eating disorder is that you need to manage feeding schedules as much as possible. While we would all like to relax during the holidays, when theres an eating disorder to contend with, we really cant let up on feeding regularly and adequately.

You may have heard of Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. All our best, most beautiful plans for the holidays will be derailed if our childrens basic needs are not being met. A childs basic need for food and rest are both disrupted by an eating disorder, and the holidays will make them even harder to handle. So feeding and rest should be a top priority.

Plan ahead to make sure you have easy, low-stress meals and snacks on hand, and keep to a regular schedule of eating. If theres a big event that youre all attending, make sure you feed your child before and after the event.

Prioritize regular bedtimes and plenty of downtime and rest during the day. Our culture glorifies the idea of rushing around during the holidays, trying to cram in everything, and running ourselves ragged. But its far better to prioritize rest so you can truly enjoy the meaningful moments when they happen. Slow down and take a mindful approach to the holidays. Less is truly more.

What Is Bulimia Nervosa

People with bulimia nervosa have recurrent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behaviors that compensate for the overeating, such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike those with anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa may maintain a normal weight or be overweight.

Symptoms include:

  • Chronically inflamed and sore throat
  • Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area
  • Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth
  • Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse
  • Severe dehydration from purging
  • Electrolyte imbalance , which can lead to stroke or heart attack

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What Should I Do If I Think I Have An Eating Disorder

Ask for help early if you think that you may have an eating disorder. You have a greater chance of recovery if you seek help early. The first step is usually to make an appointment with your GP. They can refer you to specialist support if you need it.

If you arent ready to ask for professional help speak to someone that you trust such as friend or relative. You could also ask confidential charities such as Beat for advice. Look at the end of this factsheet for contact information.

How Is Nimh Addressing Eating Disorders


The National Institute of Mental Health is conducting and supporting research that could help find new and improved ways to diagnose and treat eating disorders. For example, the NIMH Eating Disorders Research Program supports research on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment at medical institutions across the country. It also supports studies that can help explain the risk factors that cause eating disorders to start or reoccur. The programs studies on treatment help move basic science findings from the lab bench to a patients bedside.

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Is It Possible To Prevent Eating Disorders

Researchers have found that many factors can help prevent the development of eating problems in children, adolescents, and young adults.

Parents can play a positive role in reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors. Emphasizing health rather than weight is key. For instance, encouraging your child to eat fruit and vegetables and exercise regularly as a way to lose weight or change the body can be harmful. However, encouraging these behaviors as a way to be healthy can be very beneficial.

How We Care For Eating Disorders Patients At Boston Childrens Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospitals Eating Disorders Program takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients with eating disorders. We are committed to helping our patients and their families at every step of the treatment process, and we provide recommendations with their specific needs and circumstances in mind.

We provide both inpatient medical and outpatient care. If your child is an outpatient, they will be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner from our Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine as well as a dietitian. Your child may also see a psychologist or social worker.

If your childs vital signs become unstable, they will be admitted to the hospital and treated with guidance from our inpatient clinical pathway. They will meet with medical doctors, behavioral medicine clinicians, and dietitians while participating in a special meal plan with customized goals for gaining weight.

The commitment and compassion with which we care for all children and families is matched only by the pioneering spirit of discovery and innovation that drives us to think differently, to find answers, and to build a better tomorrow for children everywhere.

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Tips To Handle Holidays With An Eating Disorder

The holidays are typically a stressful time, and it can be even harder to handle with an eating disorder. It could seem like a total disaster, or you could look at this as an opportunity to do things differently.

Our kids thrive in a close and connected family. And isnt that what the holidays are supposed to be about? These tips are designed to help you achieve closer family connections. So youll find that what Im recommending will help everyone in the family including you have a more meaningful, less stressful holiday.

Outcomes In Relation With Selected Kinds Of Treatment

Diabulimia The Eating Disorder No One Talks About

Large-scale international reviews of scientific studies have concluded that psychotherapy is effective for numerous conditions.

One line of research consistently finds that supposedly different forms of psychotherapy show similar effectiveness. According to The Handbook of Counseling Psychology: “Meta-analyses of psychotherapy studies have consistently demonstrated that there are no substantial differences in outcomes among treatments”. The handbook states that there is “little evidence to suggest that any one psychological therapy consistently outperforms any other for any specific psychological disorders. This is sometimes called the after a scene/section in Alice in Wonderland where every competitor in a race was called a winner and is given prizes”.

Further analyses seek to identify the factors that the psychotherapies have in common that seem to account for this, known as for example the quality of the therapeutic relationship, interpretation of problem, and the confrontation of painful emotions.

Outcome studies have been critiqued for being too removed from real-world practice in that they use carefully selected therapists who have been extensively trained and monitored, and patients who may be non-representative of typical patients by virtue of strict inclusionary/exclusionary criteria. Such concerns impact the of research results and the ability to generalize from them to practicing therapists.

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People Who Struggle With Addictive Eating May Have Intense Cravings Which Don’t Relate To Hunger As Well As Increased Levels Of Tolerance For Large Quantities Of Food And Feelings Of Withdrawal

Food addiction or addictive eating is not yet a disorder that can be diagnosed in a clinical setting.

How common is it?How can you tell if you have a problem?

Typically, food addiction occurs with foods that are highly palatable, processed, and high in combinations of energy, fat, salt and/or sugar while being low in nutritional value.

These foods may be associated with high levels of reward and may therefore preoccupy your thoughts.How is it treated?

  • Passive approaches such as self-help support groups
  • Trials of medications such as naltrexone and bupropion, which targets hormones involved in hunger and appetite and works to reduce energy intake
  • Bariatric surgery to assist with weight loss. The most common procedure in Australia is gastric banding, where an adjustable band is placed around the top part of the stomach to apply pressure and reduce appetite.

Our emerging treatment programmeThe authors are with the University of Newcastle. This article is syndicated by PTI from The Conversation.

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Other Eating And Feeding Problems

For your eating problem, you may get a diagnosis for one of the eating disorders explained on this page.

However, there are other diagnoses you may receive.

These tend to be much less common than anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Rumination disorder

If you get a diagnosis of rumination disorder, you’ll regularly regurgitate your food. Regurgitating means bringing food back up that you’ve already eaten and swallowed.

You won’t have a physical health problem to explain it. You might re-chew, re-swallow or spit out the food you regurgitate.

For more details, see Beat’s information about rumination disorder.


If you get a diagnosis of pica, you’ll often eat things that aren’t food.

The things you eat tend to have no nutritional value. Some examples may be chalk, metal or paint. This can be very damaging to your body.

For more details, see Beat’s information about pica.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder

If you get a diagnosis of ARFID, you’ll strongly feel the need to avoid certain foods . This might be because of smell, taste or texture. The idea of eating may fill you with anxiety.

ARFID does not tend to be linked to body image issues. It’s more anxiety about the process of eating itself.

For more details, see Beat’s information about ARFID.

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What Is Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified

There are many variants of eating disorders that do not fall under the specific heading of anorexia or bulimia nervosa. In fact, most people with eating disorders have variations on those themes. Just because someone doesnt have classic anorexia or bulimia nervosa does not mean that they do not need treatment. Individuals with eating disordered behaviors that resemble anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa but whose eating behaviors do not meet one or more essential diagnostic criteria may be diagnosed with EDNOS. Examples of EDNOS include individuals who regularly purge but do not binge eat, individuals who meet criteria for anorexia nervosa but continue to menstruate, and individuals who meet criteria for bulimia nervosa, but binge eat less than twice weekly.

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Health And Emotions

What is Bulimia Nervosa?

Eating disorders can cause serious problems throughout the body.

Anorexia can lead to health problems caused by undernutrition and low body weight, such as:

  • low blood pressure
  • feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
  • constipation and bloating

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Why Are Body Concerns Among Men On The Rise

Images of immensely muscular men have grown ubiquitous, circulating apps like Instagram and taking on outsize proportions in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and on billboards and magazines.

Recent admissions by the likes of Olympic diver Tom Daley and Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani have pointed to the perils of striving for the extreme muscular physique reflected so widely across pop culture.

But social media algorithms and Hollywood norms continue to propagate body ideals that can be dangerously unattainable.

Social media was a really, really big factor in my eating disorder, says Joseph Goldberg, 21, who experienced anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, overexercise, and more, before finding recovery and volunteering to help others.

I saw all these fitness people to stay lean, says Goldberg, who is Orthodox Jewish and based in Boca Raton, Florida.

That fed into a fixation on avoiding certain foods not considered clean, like sugar and saturated fat. It got to the point that it would take me two hours to shop for groceries, Goldberg says, because he would pore over the ingredients on every label.

Broader cultural conceptions of how men are supposed to act also play a role in how men relate to struggle.

Toxic masculinity and the belief that a man has to keep a stiff upper lip at all times, is one of the main causes of stigma that men cant have eating disorders, Goldberg says.

until recently.

Factors That Spark Or Maintain Eating Disorders

In addition to understanding disordered eating and eating disorders, it can be helpful to understand what traits and factors maintain disordered behaviors. Risk factors of eating disorders can include genetics, temperament traits like perfectionism, attention to detail, and/or impulsiveness, trauma, and social influences like the cultural idolization of leanness

Precipitating factors of eating disorders can include a change in eating such as dieting or overeating, or a significant increase in stress. Factors that are likely to maintain eating disorder behaviors include biological changes that can occur as a result of an eating disorder or psychological factors connected to the repetitive eating disorder behaviors.

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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment

If you are not happy with your treatment you can:

  • talk to your doctor about your treatment and ask for a second opinion,
  • get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
  • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
  • make a complaint.

There is more information about these options below:

Second opinion

If you are not happy with your treatment you should talk to your doctor and see if you can resolve the situation with them. You can refer to the NICE guidelines if you feel your doctor is not offering you the right treatment. See below for more about this.

You may feel that your treatment should be changed. If your doctor does not agree you could ask for a second opinion. You are not legally entitled to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to it if it would help with treatment options.


An advocate is independent from the NHS. This means that the NHS doesnt employ them. Advocacy services are free to use. Usually a charity will run an advocacy service. An advocate is there to support you.

They can help to make your voice heard when you are trying to sort problems. They may be able to help you to write a letter to the NHS or go to a meeting with you.

There may be a local advocacy service in your area which you can contact for support. You can search online for a local service. You can also call our advice service on 0300 5000 927 or email us at and we can look for you.

When Should I Call The Doctor

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You should call your healthcare provider if you have an eating disorder and you:

  • Find that your relationship to food is causing you distress.
  • Find that your relationship to food is getting in the way of your everyday activities.
  • Have a severe sore throat or acid reflux.
  • Have slurred speech or blurred vision.

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Who Is At High Risk For Developing An Eating Disorder

Athletes, people of color, and LGBTQ + people may be at increased risk for eating disorders and their associated behaviors.

Body dysmorphia, an obsessive focus on perceived flaws in the body, affects women and men equally, according to the American Anxiety and Depression Association.

Transgender people may experience body dysmorphia in relation to gender dysphoria, the term for distress over discrepancies between ones body and gender identity.

Transgender people, and people with gender diversity in general, have a lot of concerns about body image, because part of gender dysphoria has to do with appearance, says Nagata.

Growing up, Henry Giardina, a Los Angeles-based editor, thought he was ignoring messages directed at girls about their bodies, valuing extreme thinness and whiteness, because he is trans and does not identify as a girl.

But those family pressures ended up resurfacing in a modified form as she transitioned.

He wasnt really ignoring them, says Giardina, 33, in retrospect of the messages directed at girls. I was welcoming them in and waiting for the moment when they could apply for me.

After undergoing superior surgery in 2012, Giardina recalls moving from one place of bodily concern to another.

My body problem was over, he says of her transition. Then it became something like, the more weight you lose, the more masculine you will be.

How Can I Prevent An Eating Disorder

If eating disorders run in your family, being aware of the warning signs is a good first step to catching the problem early. Prompt treatment can break unhealthy eating patterns before they become harder to overcome. You can also reduce the risks of an eating disorder by getting treatment for problems like depression, anxiety and OCD.

Be a positive role model for your family, eating health food and avoiding talking about food as good or bad. Do not diet, talk about dieting or make negative comments about your body.

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