Treatment for Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders - Disordered Eating
Disordered eating has reached epidemic proportions with a staggering 70 million people thought to be affected worldwide. However, with proper treatment such as that offered by The Wave Clinic, it's possible to break the cycle and manage food in a more normal way. Here, we try to answer your questions about eating disorders and suggest the best ways to move forward.
What are eating disorders?
An eating disorder is a mental illness that is normally characterised by various issues surrounding perceived body image, weight control and a chaotic approach to eating. The signs of disordered eating can be related to inadequate food consumption as well as over-eating. It's common for these worrying trends to go hand in hand with other mental illnesses like depression or anxiety or with drug or alcohol use. Although you can succumb to these insidious illnesses at any age, research shows that eating disorders used to occur most frequently among young women. However, in today's 'look at me' world, young men are just as likely to have food issues.
What are the most common eating disorders?
The most widely recognised eating disorders include:
Anorexia nervosa sufferers are typically underweight. The disease gives a false sense of control and those struggling with it set extreme limits to the amounts of food and water they allow to enter their bodies. Body dysmorphia, where someone sees themselves as much larger than they actually are, is a common trait. Anorexics are intensely fearful of gaining weight and will sometimes go to incredible lengths to avoid food. If left untreated, lack of adequate nutrition can cause failure to vital organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys and will ultimately lead to death.
The struggle to maintain a certain body weight or shape is the driving force behind bulimia nervosa. Unlike anorexics who refuse to eat, bulimics tend to binge eat and then purge the body with either laxatives or self-induced vomiting. It can be harder to spot the symptoms of bulimia since sufferers often look as if they are eating normally. They are necessarily secretive, and their families and friends may only be alerted when weight loss becomes apparent or more noticeable.
Binge eaters go through repeated episodes of compulsive eating which are often accompanied by feelings of loss of control or extreme guilt and shame. Despite these feelings, they are unable to call a halt to their obsessive behaviour pattern even though they know that it could have severe consequences. Binge eating is also classed as a behavioural disorder and is recognised as causing chemical imbalances in the brain. People who binge eat over a long period of time risk obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis and other illnesses and their life expectancy can decrease dramatically.
Unspecified eating disorder
People who are diagnosed as having unspecified eating disorder might exhibit signs of bulimia nervosa, binge eating and anorexia nervosa. However, their symptoms might not meet all the markers that are required for them to be diagnosed as having one particular condition. The Wave Clinic's expert team is fully-qualified to treat ALL types of disordered eating and we tailor our programme to the specific needs of each client.
Are eating disorders really such a big issue today?
Disordered eating is an international problem. According to statistics, over 30 million people are struggling with eating disorders in the US alone. In the UK, the numbers are estimated at 1.56 million, while in Australia recent figures suggest that between 4-16% of those over the age of 15 may be affected. A study by the American Eating Disorders Coalition notes that at least one person dies from an eating disorder every 62 minutes. Often, drugs or alcohol or other mental illnesses such as grief, trauma, anxiety and stress are elements.
Is it possible to cure an eating disorder
Thankfully, residential rehabilitation has shown to be the most effective way of tackling eating disorders. The Wave Clinic treats disordered eating and any additional or underlying issues with age-appropriate programmes for its clients. Unlike drug and alcohol addiction treatment where we always recommend abstinence, food is necessary to sustain life. Our tried and tested methods, counselling and complementary and holistic therapies are designed to help you to overcome negative urges and re-learn a healthy way of eating.
Medical tourism is on the rise and more people than ever are looking overseas for treatment – and with good reason. Removing yourself or a loved one from the home area and beginning the vital first steps to recovery in a new setting has many advantages:
- Local helpers or 'enablers' are not there
- You're far removed from the things that trigger binges and purges
- You're unable to stick to destructive patterns
- Being among new people makes it easier to accept that people don't judge you for your shape or size
- A calm atmosphere is conducive to healing and helps you to restart things that have fallen by the wayside such as education, hobbies and socialising
What to do next
Once you've made the smart decision to accept that you have a problem with disordered eating, it's time to seek professional help. Taking that first step is the most difficult part. However, at The Wave Clinic we offer a solid support network and encourage parents and family to be part of the recovery process. Our fully qualified team includes counsellors, medical staff, therapists and teachers and we always treat each person as an individual with a unique set of issues.
Our location in a tranquil area on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur lends itself perfectly to your recovery while removing you from the stresses you might encounter at home. Our 10 to 12 week structured programmes are the optimum length and, by the time you leave, you'll feel strong, confident and in charge.