Do I have an eating disorder

Dear Dr Gray,
I have been trying to lose weight for years and in doing so have tried every possible diet you can imagine. I start well but after a few weeks (days sometimes) I end up bingeing on all the forbidden food and then in a desperate attempt to compensate I make myself sick and sometime take laxatives. Then it all starts again with another diet. It is really getting me done, I feel fat and ugly and useless. I am wondering if I might have an eating disorder, what should I do, I feel like things are never going to get better.
Lucy (Fulham)

Dr Gray Replies……..

Dear Lucy
From your description it certainly sounds like you might be suffering from an eating disorder. All this means however is that you will probably need some professional help to sort it out rather than it being a problem that cannot be sorted out. The cycle of repeating dieting and bingeing followed by compensatory behaviours (self induced vomiting and laxative use) are common symptoms of Bulimia Nervosa which, if left untreated, can have a serious impact on both your physical and mental health. The good news however is that there is an excellent treatment for Bulimia Nervosa which has been proven through numerous research trials to be effective, the treatment is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is the therapy that government body NICE currently recommends for the treatment of Bulimia Nervosa (along with other eating disorders). The therapy addresses the two key triggers of bingeing; hunger and negative emotions. Firstly it will help you to adopt a regular and healthy pattern of eating which will rebalance your blood sugar and energy levels protecting you against hunger driven bingeing (and therefore vomiting and laxative use). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) will also then help you to eliminate self critical thoughts improving your self esteem and mood so protecting you against emotions driven bingeing and purging.

Clinical and Counselling Psychologists at The British CBT & Counselling Service provide therapy in Fulham and are experienced in delivering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) treatments to people suffering with eating disorders (including Bulimia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder and Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified {EDNOS}). I am sure that they will be able to help you, good luck.

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