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Dr Shelagh Wright - Systemic and Family Psychotherapist and Family Mediator

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Anorexia Nervosa

Physical Signs

  • Severe weight loss
  • Periods stopping (Amenorrhoea)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pains
  • Constipation
  • Poor circulation & feeling cold

Behavioural Signs

  • Wanting to be left alone
  • Wearing big baggy clothes
  • Excessive/compulsive exercising
  • Lying about eating meals
  • Denying there is a problem
  • Tendency towards perfectionism
  • Social isolation
  • Ritualistic eating behaviours

Psychological Signs

  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depressed
  • Feeling emotional
  • Obsession with dieting
  • Mood swings
  • Distorted perception with body weight and size
  • Feeling of fatness even after weight loss
  • Pre occupation with food, calories and/or cooking
  • A need to control their surrounding

Bulimia Nervosa

Physical signs

  • Sore throat / swollen glands
  • Mouth infection
  • Irregular periods
  • Dry or poor skin
  • Dental problems
  • Reddened fingers from vomiting

Behavioural Signs

  • Eating large quantities of food
  • Frequent use of the bathroom after meals (and being sick)
  • Being secretive about eating
  • Difficulty sleeping

Psychological Signs

  • Feeling depressed and out of control
  • Mood swings
  • Emotional behaviour

Binge Eating / Compulsive Eating

Physical signs

  • Weight gain

Behavioural signs

  • Eating large quantities of food
  • Eating inappropriate food
  • Being secretive

Psychological signs

  • Feeling depressed and out of control
  • Mood swings
  • Distress about food intake and body size, or may not care at all

Childhood Obesity

Obesity is the largest growing health concern in the western world. Current researchers have found that for children the only way to help is to work with the whole family. This involves a change in life style from one of a sedentary nature to one of activity. Often for overweight children teasing and bullying are an exacerbation to the problem.

It is difficult to gauge recovery but good indicators would include; a gradual reduction of weight gain leading to a maintenance of a healthier weight, having less concern around food, weight and body shape as well as an improvement in mood and relationships. There is a strong risk for relapse and out patient treatment needs to be thought of as a long-term process over several years. Early and appropriate treatment is the key to full recovery.

What The Research Tells Us

Latest research has shown that for children who are obese and their families, weekly sessions that tackle eating behaviors and activity levels within their lifestyle will result in a gradual overall weight loss. However if these sessions discontinue early then these results are reversed and often the weight rises higher than the baseline weight at the start of treatment.

Eating Disorders Audio