1. Many people with eating disorders look healthy yet may be extremely ill.
• Eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders.
• 9/10 will not get help!
2. Families are not to blame and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.
• Recovery happens faster when the individual has a united support system around them: friends, family, partners.
• The support system also needs to be educated and on-board for real progress to take place
3. An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.
Eating Disorders can impact:
• Life choices
• Social Life
• Ambition and vision for life
4. Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced conditions
• The individual does not want this to happen to them- Eating Disorders develop over time and progress slowly as a result of many different factors which impact the brain and body leading to further disturbances.
• It can be thought of as a split personality- with the Eating Disorder part taking over control of the true self part.
5. Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.
6. Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.
Eating disorders can affect every organ system in the body. The body is generally resilient at coping with the stress of eating disordered behaviours, and laboratory tests can generally appear perfect even if someone is at high risk
• Muscle loss due to calorie restriction
• Risk of heart failure as blood pressure and heart rate drop
• Electrolyte imbalance can lead to an irregular heartbeat and possibly heart failure and death.
• Slowed digestion known as gastroparesis
• Stomach pain and bloating
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blood sugar fluctuations
• Blocked intestines from solid masses of undigested food
• Bacterial infections
• Feeling full after eating only small amounts of food
• Laxative abuse can damage nerve endings and leave the body dependent on them to have a bowel movement
• Binge eating can cause the stomach to rupture.
• Vomiting can wear down the esophagus and cause it to rupture.
• The brain consumes up to one-fifth of the body’s calories. Dieting, fasting, self-starvation, and/or erratic eating means the brain isn’t getting the energy it needs, which can lead to obsessing about food and difficulties concentrating.
• Extreme hunger or fullness at bedtime can create difficulties falling or staying asleep.
• If the brain and blood vessels can’t push enough blood to the brain, it can cause fainting or dizziness, especially upon standing.
• Lowered sex hormones can cause menstruation to fail to begin, to become irregular, or to stop completely.
• Reduced resting metabolic rate, a result of the body’s attempts to conserve energy.
• This can lead to type 2 diabetes.
• Without enough energy to fuel its metabolic fire, core body temperature will drop, and hypothermia may develop.
• Starvation can cause high cholesterol levels, although this is NOT an indication to restrict dietary fats, lipids, and/or cholesterol.
• Low caloric and fat consumption can cause dry skin, and hair to become brittle and fall out.
• To conserve warmth during periods of starvation, the body will grow fine, downy hair called lanugo.
• Severe, prolonged dehydration can lead to kidney failure.
• Inadequate nutrition can decrease the number of certain types of blood cells.
• Anemia develops when there are too few red blood cells or too little iron in the diet. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.
• Malnutrition can also decrease infection-fighting white blood cells
7. Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.
• Family history
• History of dieting
• Type One (Insulin-dependent) Diabetes
• Genetic predisposition
• Low self esteem
• Relationship with self
• Feelings of inadequacy
• Depression, anxiety, fear, or loneliness
• Cultural norms that overvalue appearance
• Body dissatisfaction
• Drive for perceived ideal body type
• Historical trauma
• Weight stigma/bullying
8. Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.
• Right treatment which considers you as an individual with a personalised, detailed plan
• A holistic approach addressing all levels of your mind, body and life
• Replicates real life- helping you to manage your thoughts and feelings in your day to day activities
• Trust in your Therapist- someone who has been in your shoes and truly understands you
• A support system- reliance not on just 1 person; you need your family and friends all on a united front to help you progress
• No time limit on recovery- no limit on number of sessions, length of programme or time spent working on recovery.
Any questions or are you worried about you or someone you know? Contact Hannah at: