Vinita Latham MSc. Psychotherapy & Counselling. BA, MBACP(Reg).

Eating Disorders.

An eating disorder can control and overshadow your life. Talking through your experiences gains insight into the origins that underlie the eating disorder, which can encourage self-acceptance and help build self-esteem.

Suffering from an eating disorder can have a devasting impact on quality of life.

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that can manifest in many different ways, the most recognised of which are anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. Someone may not have a specific medical diagnosis but still suffer from disordered eating, which can have detrimental consequences. Eating disorders affect a person physically, emotionally and psychologically and can have a devastating impact on quality of life.

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Eating disorders can develop in men, women, boys and girls. An eating disorder is not something you should feel guilty about. It is a symptom of underlying issues and has developed as a response to inner struggles that are perhaps difficult to identify.

Food becomes the focus, but food is not the cause. Instead, the focus on food is a way of coping with complex, painful feelings. It is a diversion away from the actual problem and a way of feeling in control when everything else feels out of control. Over time as the eating disorder develops and becomes more entrenched, you may begin to feel as if it’s controlling you and that your true identity is lost behind the eating disorder.

Eating disorders often occur alongside other mental health difficulties including, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harming and suicidal thoughts. Eating disorders are complex and can require different strategies to aid recovery. We are all different, so it’s important to identify the kind of support you feel would work for you. The support available that you may find beneficial might include working with a dietician, seeking help from your G.P and accessing a supportive self-help group. Therapy is a way for you to talk through your experiences which can support you in making sense of the complexities of living with an eating disorder.

Suffering from an eating disorder is a form of self-abuse resulting from struggles with low self-esteem, low self-worth and feelings of inadequacy. During therapy, you can share your feelings with someone who is hearing and validating your experiences without judging you, which can help build your self-esteem and trust in yourself that you have the answers to support yourself.

Therapy can help you identify the underlying reasons that led to your developing an eating disorder increasing self-awareness and can be a positive step forward in your recovery. Gaining insight into the links between the development of the eating disorder and past experiences can support you in understanding and accepting yourself. In addition, working through unresolved painful experiences can offer answers to support you in finding the courage and confidence to make positive changes in your life.

It can feel frightening to let go of living your life ruled by an eating disorder that has become so familiar and has almost become a comfort whilst at the same time pervasively destructive. However, only you can choose to leave the eating disorder behind.

I have professional experience working with people who struggle with eating disorders and am familiar with the challenges of living with an eating disorder which helps inform the way I work.