Eating Disorder Treatment Melbourne
Are you struggling with an eating disorder and desperately seeking a way out? If you need Eating disorder treatment in Melbourne read through to learn more. In this article, we will explore how an eating disorder psychologist can be the key to breaking free from the harmful habits and thoughts that have been consuming your life.
Eating disorders typically involve a significant pre-occupation with diet, weight, appearance, and shape. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED), and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.
Anorexia is characterised by excessive dieting, exercise, and restricting of food. This leads to a significantly lowered body weight or body mass index. Anorexia is often associated with severe distortions in body image and fear of gaining weight.
Bulimia is characterised by excessive bingeing coupled with attempts to offset this binge by vomiting, over-exercise, and restricting food intake. Often there is an intense sense of feeling out of control during the binge followed by shame, guilt, and restriction.
Binge Eating disorder is characterised by discrete periods of excessive over-eating. However, the binge eating episode is not typically followed by compensatory behaviours such as purging or over-exercise.
Other specified feeding or eating disorder refers to eating disorders and patterns that don’t necessarily meet the criteria of these other eating disorders.
Avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder refers to a persistent and disturbed pattern of feeding that leads to a failure to meet nutritional or energy needs. Often there might be a fear of certain foods or food intake, sensitivity to textures of particular foods, or lack of interest in eating foods.
If you or someone you know is in need of support for an eating disorder, it’s essential to take the first step towards recovery. You can reach out to Core Life Psychology directly by email or phone, or by filling the form in our contact page. Feel free to contact us for a no obligation discussion that can assist you with finding the right Eating Disorder Psychologist in Melbourne.
Eating Disorders Characteristics and Warning Signs
Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that affect a huge percentage of people in Australia. Eating disorders are commonly observed during adolescence and early adulthood. Furthermore, eating disorders are more frequent in females and people in LGBTQIA+ communities. However, eating disorders can occur throughout the lifespan and also frequently occur in men (but might be hidden or present as excessive exercise). Finally eating disorders are also present at high rates in athletes where there is pressure to perform and maintain particular weights.
Oftentimes, people don’t full clearly in to one diagnosis but might exhibit some of the characteristics from both bulimia or anorexia. Common characteristics of eating disorders include
- Excessive concern about appearance, food, and gaining weight.
- Fear of gaining weight.
- Dissatisfaction with body, appearance, and weight.
- Strong desire to lose weight even when others think you are underweight.
- Hiding and being secretive about eating habits, diet, and exercise. You let people around you think you have eaten when you haven’t.
- Intense anxiety, distress, guilt, and shame associated with eating, binging, or purging.
- Loss of control around food.
- Body checking — for example, weighing yourself, looking in the mirror, or pinching your waist.
- Making yourself vomit or using laxatives in order to lose weight.
- excessive dieting – counting calories/kilojoules, fasting, skipping meals, avoiding certain food groups.
- Binge eating – eating larger than usual amounts / eating more rapidly than usual.
- Purging/vomiting to try to offset the binge-eating episode.
- Excessive exercise that can be detrimental to your health.
- Distortions in body image/disconnection from body.
- Wearing baggy clothes to hide weight and shape.
- Starvation syndrome – physical changes in the body resulting from reduced energy intake and malnutrition.
- All of the body’s organs require food to function. Deprivation and distorted bingeing can lead to loss of energy, lethargy, and diminished cognitive ability. There can also be strain on the heart, ulceration of the mouth, thinning of the hair, ulcers, constipation, diarrhoea, dehydration etc. In some instances people can experience cardiac arrest and death as a result of severe malnutrition. As such it is important to start treatment sooner rather than later.
Eating Disorder Causes and Maintaining Factors
There is no singular cause for an eating disorder. In fact, there are usually many relevant factors that can influence and shape the course of an eating disorder. During assessment and treatment we explore the predisposing factors and precipitating events that might trigger an eating disorder. For example, often an Eating disorder becomes part of a persons coping repertoire and way of organising or controlling their life.
Usually, there is a pronounced preoccupation with weight, shape, and appearance. Furthermore, there are typically features of control and deep-seated fears of food and gaining weight. This creates a hyper-focus towards a singular domain in persons life. Essentially one piece of the pie (in a pie chart) becomes larger while other values and areas of life become smaller or get neglected. This might include study, friends, family, and other hobbies and interests.
In addition, there are often features of perfection, obsessional thinking, and unrelenting standards that maintain an eating disorder. These traits can create a singular drive to attain an impossible weight or survive on minimal food intake. Coupled with this, difficulty with regulating emotions and all or nothing thinking patterns often feature. For example, we might tend to label a body weight, feeling in the body, experience, or food type as either all good or bad with no in between. This immediate judgement can be emotionally loaded and is often paired with strict rules for dieting. Similarly, intense fluctuations in mood and emotion can result in binge eating episodes or compensatory behaviours as a way to cope.
More broadly, there are a range of social factors and cues (e.g. magazines and internet) that reinforce and perpetuate the idealised body image. These constant reminders can lead to a preoccupation with weight, appearance, and disordered eating. Likewise, social stressors and conflicts with peers, comments about weight and appearance, or familial modelling of weight concern and dieting can all play into eating disordered patterns.
Eating Disorder Psychologist Melbourne
If you need an eating disorder psychologist in Melbourne I am able to offer a range of specialized services. In particular, I adopt a comprehensive approach to treatment including:
- Assessment and Diagnosis: Experienced psychologists can assess the severity and nature of the eating disorder, helping to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.
- Individualized Therapy: Tailored therapy sessions that address the unique needs and concerns of each individual.
- Counselling and Emotional Support: Providing a safe and supportive environment to explore the emotional and psychological aspects of the disorder. Recovery from an eating disorder can be emotionally challenging. An eating disorder psychologist provides a non-judgmental and supportive environment where you can openly express your thoughts and feelings. They will help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and build resilience throughout the recovery process.
- Nutritional Guidance: Collaborating with nutritionists and dietitians to create a balanced and sustainable eating plan.
- Family Involvement: In some cases, family therapy or support may be recommended to facilitate recovery.
- Expertise and specialized knowledge: Eating disorder psychologists have extensive training and experience in treating eating disorders. They stay up-to-date with the latest research and treatment approaches, ensuring that you receive the most effective and evidence-based care.
- Relapse prevention: Recovering from an eating disorder is an ongoing process. An eating disorder psychologist equips you with relapse prevention strategies and tools to manage triggers and maintain long-term recovery. They provide ongoing support, even after the active treatment phase, to help you sustain positive changes
Holistic approach: Eating disorders affect both the mind and body. An eating disorder psychologist takes a holistic approach to treatment, considering the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, and mental well-being. They collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as dietitians and medical doctors, to ensure comprehensive care.
Eating Disorder Treatment Melbourne
Depending on the type of eating disorder, age, and severity of symptoms different treatment modalities might be required. In instances of severe malnutrition and weight loss inpatient care or more intensive and frequent treatment might be required. Usually this is discussed at the time of assessment.
In terms of a more stabilised eating disorders outpatient treatment can be provided. This is often in the form of cognitive-behavioural therapy – for eating disorders (CBT-E). Using a cognitive-behavioural model – therapy often aims to understand all the factors involved in the eating disorder pathology and target accordingly. In CBT, an eating disorder psychologist will help you develop awareness of your negative thoughts and how they influence your eating behaviours. They will guide you in challenging and replacing these thoughts with healthier, more adaptive ones. CBT also addresses the underlying emotional and psychological issues that contribute to the development and maintenance of eating disorders. It equips you with essential coping skills to manage stress, regulate emotions, and build self-esteem, fostering long-term recovery
I also adopt a psychodynamic approach that can specifically address the key emotional patterns and themes in a person’s life. Eating disorders can be incredibly restricting to a person’s life. By broadening focus, lessening appearance and weight anxiety, and learning new coping methods then we can gradually reduce the eating disordered symptoms.
Overcoming an eating disorder is a challenging process, but with the guidance and expertise of an eating disorder psychologist, you can break free from the grip of your struggles. By seeking help, you are demonstrating courage, strength, and a commitment to reclaiming your life.
Remember, recovery is a personal journey, and it may take time. Be patient and kind to yourself along the way. Celebrate each small victory and seek support when needed. With the right support system in place, a personalized treatment plan, and a dedication to self-care, you can overcome your eating disorder and embrace a healthier, happier future.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out to a qualified eating disorder psychologist today. Take that first step towards breaking free and experiencing the joy and freedom that comes with recovery. If you would like to get started with treatment for an eating disorder in Carlton, Melbourne feel free to call on 0451 491 395, email, or text.