An eating disorder is an expression of internal suffering. It is a psychological illness that manifests itself physically. An eating disorder is not a choice, nor a passion. Eating disorders are illnesses that stem from psychological and/or emotional distress and result in an obsessive relationship with food. Having the ability to control the amount of, or type of food consumed can make a sufferer believe they are coping with their problems, thus allowing them to block out painful feelings and experiences.
There are several main diagnosed eating disorders and each is defined by specific signs and symptoms:
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Binge Eating Disorder
- Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OFSED), previous known as Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS).
Eating disorders often go hand in hand with other addictions. Many sufferers may also be self-harming, suffering with depression and/or have some form of OCD. It is never just a straight forward diagnosis. This is why it is important that family members do not try and self diagnose. If you suspect a loved one has an eating disorder, seek medical advice before confronting them as this could simply make the situation worse.
It is imperative to approach each case individually, tailoring
each patient’s treatment plan to their own specific needs. Therapeutic alliance for a patient suffering shows one of the most important roles treatment can offer as does hearing what their goals to treatment are as this becomes a large part to facilitate change. The importance to be able to validate both the
healthy self and the eating disorder self, allowing plenty of room where necessary to listen to what “it” has to say. Over time the aim is to help the healthy self become stronger than the eating disorder self.
An individual is able to receive the most comprehensive treatment possible to overcome their unhealthy relationship with their eating disorder in a respectful understanding manner, with full medical care and a team of specialist eating disorder therapists and nurses, enabling them to deal with any issues in a safe and secure environment.
The service monitors and treats medical stabilization and complications, weight restoration, education and re-establishing a healthier relationship with food, emotional development and psychological growth, regular involvement with a psychiatrist for underlying mental health illnesses and comorbidities, psychotherapy and group therapies to explore, identify and address past, present and future issues and concerns, working towards and building life skills and aftercare.
Offering the different stages of care (1:1 Psychotherapy & Counselling, Psychiatric consultations, Nutritionists, Rehabilitation, Community living and Aftercare) acknowledges that people who have suffered for many years need optional care structures with varying treatment plans adapting to the degree of their illness.
Is it possible to ‘recover’ from an Eating Disorder? An eating disorder is the symptom, not the cause. If the sufferer has the opportunity to work through the issues that have created the disorder, then can they fully recover over time.
Everyone is individual, hope can change many things. Phoenix offers the treatment and belief, belief in the person, whilst listening to the illness, this can give a person understanding, respect and the care they need. Our job is to help a person establish a reason to ‘let go’ of their illness and then once this has been achieved, helping the to learn how!
Please note that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness. The quicker the sufferer can access understanding support, the more hopeful their future may be.