Counselling & Personal Development Service - Eating Disorders

Leaflets - Eating Disorders

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What is Anorexia?

Anorexia Nervosa is a condition characterised by an overwhelming drive for thinness and an extreme fear of being or becoming fat.

Anorexia is an outward sign of something that is seriously wrong inside.

Warning Signs:

  • Extreme dissatisfaction with body shape/weight
  • Making excuses for not eating and/or preoccupation with dieting
  • Playing with food and/or an obsessive interested in food
  • A sudden avoidance of certain foods
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide thinness
  • Social withdrawal and mood swings
  • Fear of gaining weight and/or excessive weighing
  • Traces of vomit in the toilet or in bins etc
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Use of laxatives
  • Appearance of a fine downy hair covering the back, arms or side of face.

What is Bulimia?

This is characterised by repeated episodes of compulsive binge-eating with or without self-induced vomiting. Binge eating involves the consumption of an unusually large quantity of food, often in a rather frantic manner.

People with Bulimia can be under or over weight. They often hide their problem by appearing cheerful and relaxed.

Bulimics generally overeat in private, consuming vast amounts of high calorie food until their stomachs ache. Self-induced vomiting can provide a temporary relief but they move into a cycle of overeating followed by vomiting, which leads to a feeling of total hopelessness.

Stop signWarning Signs:

  • Fear of gaining weight
  • Prolonged exercising
  • Weight Fluctuation
  • Moody, depressive and unsociable behaviour
  • Black teeth
  • Problems with ones throat, oesophagus and stomach

Who develops an Eating Disorder?

Women develop eating disorders much more frequently than men. People who are especially concerned with their weight and who are especially likely to engage in slimming are at a greater risk of developing an eating disorder. Family influences play a part in the development of an eating disorder. Most sufferers have low self-esteem and have difficulty in expressing their emotions.

What do you do if any of the above apply to you?

Make an appointment with The Counselling and Personal Development Service by ringing 01 700 5165 or email counselling@dcu.ie. The Counsellor will provide you with support, advice and a professional input in coming to terms with the eating disorder. Also you can log onto www.bodywhys.ie for more information.

What do you do if you think that someone you know has an eating disorder?

  • Talk to them about your fear
  • Encourage them to make an appointment with The Counselling and Personal Development Service
  • Encourage him/her to take responsibility for the condition
  • Listen to them
  • Be patient, don't expect change overnight
  • Don't get caught up in arguments and battles regarding food
  • Offer physical affection, even if it is shrugged off.