If you, or a loved one, have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, psychotherapy will play an important role in your recovery. Eating disorders are one of the most serious mental health disorders as they can result in short and long-term health issues for the individual that can be life-threatening.
With his personal experience in battling an eating disorder in his younger years, Philippe Jacquet has made the treatment of eating disorders a major part of his practice. Extensive clinic work, one-on-one psychotherapy and counselling as well as managing group sessions have equipped him to be one of the leading authorities on these disorders in the UK.
If you are looking for eating disorder treatment in Brussels, our highly qualified therapists can help you.
What sort of things can cause eating disorders?
The causes of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, overeating or Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) are unknown, but they’re thought to be linked to genetics, psychological health, and upbringing, which is a common factor across all mental health conditions.
Who suffers from eating disorders?
Simply, anyone can.
While, statistically, eating disorders tend to affect women in their teens or early twenties, they also affect people of any age and any gender.
The reason that we see fewer reported cases for other subsets of society may be that men are less likely to seek help for mental health issues, especially those surrounding body image, because of toxic masculinity where appearing “weak” is the worst thing a man can do.
In terms of age, it may be that friends and relatives are more attuned to noticing unhealthy eating behaviours in young adults, particularly if they still have meals cooked for them by a caregiver, whereas people don’t tend to look at the diets of adults too closely.
Also, despite media portrayals, eating disorders can be found in people of any race or socioeconomic class.
The Different Eating Disorders
There are several different types of eating disorders and subcategories within them, but having a general understanding will help the family, and the individual, to understand the symptoms and the treatment options that are available through our office.
It is important to understand that many people receive a diagnosis of an eating disorder by a medical doctor who recommends a psychiatry assessment. By this time, the individual may already have significant health issues that will have to be treated concurrently with the mental health diagnosis.
People with anorexia use a conscious limitation of food intake for the purpose of losing weight that is compulsive and long-term. It is not uncommon for an anorexic to consume less than 600 calories per day and exercise very intensely during this period. They may also fast for days at a time and use laxatives or diuretics on a daily basis.
Anorexics tend to be female and tend to be in their teens or early adult years, but it is possible for younger children and men to also develop this eating disorder. Both genders have a very distorted perception of their body and often, when emaciated, will still say that they are “fat”.
Bulimia is categorised as a cycle of behaviour that includes what is called binging and purging. During the binging stage, the individual may eat up to 5000 calories an hour, typically in salty, fatty, or sugary foods. They are aware of the behaviour but are unable to stop the consumption.
After the binge a bulimic will purge, which may include inducing vomiting or very heavy use of laxatives or diuretics. At the same time, the individual may fast for several days, extremely restrict their food intake and exercise at unhealthy levels.
Bulimics feel intense anger at themselves immediately after the binging cycle. This can include becoming anxious and distraught or showing signs of significant depression. Individuals with bulimia, unlike anorexics, tend to gain weight over time and as the cycle of binging and purging escalates in frequency.
Individuals with binge-eating disorder, which may also be called a food addiction, eat high levels of calories, a binge, but do not follow this with the purging behaviour seen in bulimia.
Often, the individual with a binge-eating disorder hoards food, hides it, and eats away from others, and sometimes sees themselves as out of control. Many clients say is as if they are watching their body eat but have no conscious control over the behaviour. As with bulimics, binge-eaters tend to gain weight over time, but depending on the individual, their lifestyle, and their metabolism they may not have excessive weight gain.
All these are disorders that can be treated through psychotherapy. With medical and psychological support, people can manage these disorders for life, leading very happy, healthy and emotionally satisfying lives.
What is the best eating disorder treatment?
There are many treatments to help someone with an eating disorder, from psychotherapy to counselling to art therapy designed to repair their relationship with food.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating disorder treatment, so often the best option is an integrative approach designed specifically with the patient in mind. At our Brussels centre for eating disorders, we offer a safe space for patients to explore their issues and find treatment options that work for them.
In addition to the mental health problems that need to be addressed, eating disorder patients may also have physical issues that were caused by their eating disorder that will need separate treatment.