Treating Eating Disorders

overweight manFor the individual with an eating disorder, obsessive thoughts and anxieties about food can take over all their waking hours.

The Impact of an Eating Disorder

Rules around dietary restriction, such as what food groups to avoid or eat, counting calories, and purging; as well as checking behaviours, such as scrutinising body parts, focusing on parts that are not liked, weighing (or avoiding weighing); combined with feelings of loss of control, and a fear of becoming fat, make the sufferer feel like they are locked into a vicious cycle that is impossible to get out of.

In addition, the consequences on physical health, not to mention the individual’s social life, can be severe.

It is not widely recognised that most people with an Eating Disorder have an unremarkable body weight. This is because the effects of under eating and binge eating tend to cancel each other out.


By definition, those with Anorexia are underweight.

Anorexia usually starts in mid-teenage years, with the onset of dietary restriction, which then progresses and becomes more extreme and infexible over time.

Those with Anorexia and a BMI of between 15-17.5 are suitable for outpatient treatment. A lower BMI, suicidality, or severe interpersonal problems however requires  hospitalisation.


Bulimia has a later stage of onset, usually in late adolescence or early adulthood, and starts in much the same way as Anorexia.

Binge Eating Disorder

With Binge Eating Disorder, most patients are middle aged, and a third are male. Most are overweight.


Eating disorders used to have a reputation for being difficult to treat. As part of my psychology training, I was taught under Christopher Fairburn (UK), who is regarded as one of, if not the, world’s leading specialist in this area. And what I have discovered is that with the right therapy most people make a full and lasting recovery.

So rather than being an area fraught with the difficulties of treatment failure, I finds this to be a very rewarding and enjoyable area to work in, as clients consistently achieve wellness.

I utilise a specially designed form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy called CBT-E, an evidence-based therapy which took thirty years to develop and refine.

Treatment requires a referral from a GP, and I am happy to work as part of a virtual team involving medical or other professionals as the needs dictate.

Paul-Carver smAuthor: Paul Carver, Bsc, Msc, PG Dip Health Psych.

Paul Carver is a Psychologist with a very wide range of experience, and is focused on bringing the very best evidence-based treatments to his clients.

To arrange an appointment with Paul Carver, freecall 1800 877 924 or you can book online.