Top Experts Provide Bespoke Treatment for Eating Disorders

At Oasis Bradford we treat individuals who suffer from mild to moderate eating disorders. Those suffering from severe malnutrition or a very low BMI will require hospital treatment to address the physical effects of the eating disorder before psychological measures can be of maximum benefit. Eating disorders can often present as a co-occurring illness in individuals with addictions. They can use the addiction as a way of escaping or managing the relationship that they have with food. It is an individual’s relationship and subsequent behaviours around food that determines if they suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders come in various forms, all are life threatening and can carry devastating consequences to the individual’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health. If you or a loved one a suffering from an eating disorder of any kind, it is vital that you seek professional help without delay.

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The Facts on Eating Disorders

Eating disorders can swing from one end of the scale to the other; from under eating and Anorexia Nervosa to Bulimia and overeating and binge eating disorder. Other manifestations include food restricting and food phobias. All forms of eating disorders can be deadly. It is a very serious recognised mental health illness that rarely gets better without professional treatment and intervention.

Below is a breakdown of the common characteristics of each type of eating disorder and the associated risks and dangers. It is important to remember that an individual suffering from an eating disorder is seriously physically, emotionally and mentally unwell. Eating disorders are a progressive illness and over any given period of time are only likely to get worse and cause more serious physical and mental health consequences to the sufferer.

To an individual suffering from an eating disorder, they will either see food as their worst enemy or best friend. In cases of Bulimia, where the individual binges and then subsequently purges, they are likely to see it as both. Many individuals that suffer from an eating disorder also suffer from the mental health illness Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). They simply do not see themselves as others do; even when seriously underweight or overweight they will be convinced that they do not have a problem and can physically carry on with their dysfunctional eating habits.

Below is a breakdown of the most common forms of eating disorders and their common characteristics, to help you to determine if you or a loved one are a sufferer:

Anorexia Nervosa

Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa often suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder; they have a deluded perception of their own body image. Even when extremely underweight, they will be convinced that they are still fat and need to lose more weight. To an Anorexic there is no such thing as being too thin. They suffer from an obsession and compulsion to keep losing more weight, regardless of the consequences to their health. Typically an Anorexic will severely restrict their food intake to well below the normal levels required to maintain a healthy body and mind. When they do eat, they will usually obsessively exercise or use laxatives to get rid of the calories and speed up their weight loss. Some will resort to diet pills or illegal drugs to suppress their appetite. Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious and life threatening illness, with very few finding permanent recovery on their own. The consequences to their physical health can be severe, including organ failure, infertility, bone density loss, brain damage, and death.

Spotting Anorexia in a loved one: Anorexics will often make excuses not to eat with others, saying that they have already eating or feel unwell. If forced to eat in a social situation they may try and hide food, or immediately purge after. They are usually very underweight but will often hide their body with baggy clothes. They will obsessively weigh themselves and often obsessively exercise. When severely underweight, they will have low very energy levels, difficulty in sleeping and develop a fine downy hair all over their body, including their face. Emotionally, they can be very self-obsessed and absorbed, putting their illness above everything and everyone else.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa sufferers have periods in which they consume vast amounts of food in one sitting, followed by purging the food they have eaten.  After a binge, they will experience extreme feelings of discomfort, distress, guilt, shame and regret. It is these feelings that compels them to get rid of the food as quickly as possible, often using extreme and harmful methods. Typically, most bulimia sufferers will self-induce vomiting after a binge and or resort to the abuse of laxatives. Some will use a combination of both. During a binge they have no control over the amount of food that they consume and will eat until they physically cannot eat any more. They may pre-plan a binge, or end up binging as they have eaten something that triggers them into losing control. Most Bulimia sufferers will binge eat for comfort when they are feeling uncomfortable emotions. They will usually binge alone and go to great extremes to hide their illness due to the guilt and shame they associate with it. Those that suffer from Bulimia tend to have an average body weight. Because Bulimia is such a secret illness, it can be difficult to spot the signs. Bulimia sufferers also often suffer from BDD and have an inability to process emotions. This illness can also be deadly and result in severe dehydration, gastrointestinal problems, internal bleeds, malnutrition, heart problems and death.

Spotting Bulimia in a loved one: Bulimics will try to hide their binges, you may find vast amounts of food go missing or stashes of empty wrappers. They are likely to disappear to the bathroom after a binge, or “go for a walk” so that they can purge the food. After a Bulimic has vomited, their face is likely to be puffy with watery eyes and swollen neck glands. They are likely to use mouthwash, toothpaste or sprays to hide the smell of vomit. If they are purging in the bathroom they may run taps, the shower or play loud music to try and hide any sound that they make that could arise suspicion. They can also develop sores around their mouth and on the knuckles of their hands. You may also frequently experience them having upset stomachs, due to abusing laxatives.

Binge Eating Disorder

Those who suffer from binge eating disorder regularly lose control over the amount of food that they consume. They will continue to eat, despite not being hungry and have no recognition of feeling full, but they do not purge themselves unlike Bulimics. They are obsessed with food and eating and tend to eat on emotions with food providing the instant ease and comfort that they seek. Those who have Binge Eating Disorder risk becoming severely obese and developing related conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Individuals with binge eating disorder have no control over the amount of food they consume once they start to eat. Often they will experience feelings of guilt, shame and regret after binging. They are likely to suffer from very low self-esteem and feel depressed and unmotivated, even though they may pretend they are happy to others.

Spotting Binge Eating Disorder in a loved one: Binge eaters will often try and hide the vast amounts of food that they consume in order to avoid being challenged. You may find evidence of empty wrappers or stashes of food in their room. Large amounts of food may go missing when you are out or during the night. They are likely to be overweight, lethargic and depressed; they make take little or no interest in their appearance or hygiene. They may also carry a lot food around with them all the time if they are going out to places where food is not available. They may appear to eat sensibly in front of others, yet are still obviously overweight from their secret binge eating behaviours and habits.

If you are worried a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, it is vital that you seek professional advice and support around the correct treatment. Call us now for immediate help and advice

What Causes Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that require professional treatment in order to overcome. Many believe that eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are triggered by social pressure and media to look a certain way. There may be some truth in it, in that those with the illness can aspire to be like a super thin model, but only where there is already a predisposition to the order present. Like addiction, eating disorders can affect anyone and are a very complex and difficult illness to treat. Someone with an eating disorder, can only have the ability to get well once they are well and truly ready. Some individuals are more genetically predisposed to developing an eating disorder than others. Where they are susceptible the following examples can be a trigger for the condition developing:

  • A family history of an eating disorder, substance abuse, depression or mental health illness
  • Been criticised for their weight, body shape, or eating habits at a young and impressionable age
  • A desire to be thin because of a particular activity such as modelling, athletics, or dancing
  • An obsessive personality, low self-esteem, or an anxiety disorder
  • Experience difficulty in processing emotions and expressing how they feel
  • Experienced a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, or suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Difficulty dealing with stressful situations at home, at school, or at work

Most Eating Disorders manifest in the childhood years and are a reflection of how the individual feels about themselves in comparison to others; which is usually less than, unlovable and unattractive. Many individuals with an eating disorder can easily cross addict into exercise, codependency, sex and love addiction and alcohol or drug addiction. Much like addicts, they are unable to handle emotions or process events rationally. Individuals with an eating disorder respond well to specific therapies aimed at tackling the root causes of their illness, their inner belief systems and thinking.

How to Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder?

Most individuals who suffer with an eating disorder find it incredibly difficult to admit they have a problem and to seek help. The feelings of shame they have around their condition are extreme and this leads them to keep it covered up at all costs. They fear that giving up their disordered eating and behaviours will lead to them feeling out of control. Bulimics and Anorexics have an intense and irrational fear of weight gain; for this reason alone, they may well not be willing to accept help. When challenging a loved one around their eating behaviours, it is important to remember that they are very ill and that they are not doing it by choice. We suggest that you approach the subject gently at first and arm yourself with the facts of their particular condition. Reassure the individual that they can get well and that you will support them in doing so. Help them to understand that they have a serious life threatening illness that if left untreated could result in their untimely demise. Express how their condition affects you and why you feel they have a problem with their eating; most importantly of all, be ready to access the correct treatment and help immediately if they admit the problem and are willing to accept help. Windows of opportunity are few and far between in an individual with an eating disorder, so it is important to reassure them that you can assist them in getting help when they are ready. An individual who is not ready is likely to dismiss that they have a problem and even be defensive and angry at you suggesting such a thing; still remain calm, as by reacting you may spoil a future opportunity of helping them get treatment when they are ready.  Do not ignore or enable their eating disorder in any way, as by challenging them and keeping the subject open to discussion, you will have planted the seed that they can reach out to you if they want professional help.

If you are worried a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, it is vital that you seek professional advice and support around the correct treatment. Call us now for more information on how we can help.

Oasis Bradford Eating Disorders Programme

Treating an eating disorder can prove more complex that treating an alcohol or drug addiction alone. Successful treatment of these conditions requires complete abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Everybody HAS to eat in order to survive; for an individual with an eating disorder, food (or lack of) and the associated behaviours become the drug of choice. Challenge this and they feel completely out of control and in a state of extreme panic, distress and discomfort.

At Oasis Bradford, we understand how terrifying it is for a patient to face their eating disorder and admit to us for treatment. We will reassure them from the beginning that we are there, every step of the way, to help them deal with the difficulties that they will face during the treatment. We will ensure that any other co-occurring illnesses or addictions presenting, are treated in full and simultaneously for optimum results.

Our medical team and support staff work 24/7 and so are always available to speak to and to monitor our patients’ behaviours. Our Clinical team, with the help of the patient, will identify trigger foods that could potentially place the individual at risk of relapse. From there, our staff and resident Chef will devise a healthy eating plan eliminating trigger foods, so that patient can be comfortable with eating 3 healthy meals a day. Part of their individualised treatment plan will be to achieve healthy eating goals, with the assistance of our staff, resident chef and their peers.

Learning to handle and process emotions and uncomfortable feelings without resorting to old eating habits can be very challenging at first, but as we work with the patient, constantly reviewing their progress and by addressing the psychological aspect of the illness in full, we witness the attitude of the individual and their relationship with food begin to change.

Oasis Bradford provide a safe, secure and nurturing environment that is recovery focused and away from the stresses and pressures of the outside world. By admitting as an inpatient with us, the individual will be able to take time out to concentrate fully on themselves and their recovery. As eating disorders are more complex, with the individual having to face food every day for the rest of their life, we recommend an inpatient treatment and rehabilitation programme of a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks. This gives the patient time to develop and adjust to new healthy eating habits, and us the time to work with them intensively, using various evidence based therapies to fully rehabilitate them from their condition. Furthermore, on completion of their treatment with us, they will be offered 12 months complimentary aftercare at our clinic.

Treating Eating Disorders is challenging; but we believe they can be successfully overcome and permanent recovery obtained with the correct individualised recovery programme and therapeutic treatments. We will do all we can to support you and your loved one through their recovery journey. Freedom from food addiction is possible; we have the knowledge and expertise to help.

If you need help for an eating disorder or if you are concerned about a loved one, get in touch with Oasis Bradford today!

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Call Now 0203 733 5467

Call Now 0203 733 5467

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  • West Yorkshire
  • BD4 7BG
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