For many of us, how we look and our physical appearance matters a lot. But if you suffer from an eating disorder then your preoccupation with your body shape and weight has become extreme.
Your relationship with food will also have become problematic as you seek to control your food intake or punish yourself for over-indulgence.
If you feel compelled to restrict your food or exercise obsessively in order to become thinner and thinner, all the while believing yourself to be overweight, then you are suffering from anorexia nervosa. Over time this self-starvation causes extensive physical damage to your body, which can cause total collapse of your system and potentially may be fatal.
If you suffer from bulimia nervosa you are locked in a repetitive unhealthy relationship with food, where a cycle of binge eating is followed by purging (either through vomiting, using laxatives, etc). You may be a normal weight, but often you feel ashamed and guilty about your bingeing and purging and try to keep it hidden. The cycle of bingeing and purging leads to body electrolyte disturbances, which in extreme situations can become life-threatening.
It requires a great deal of courage and hard work to break free from destructive eating patterns, and to work through the underlying causes of such behaviours.
How we can help
At Ashburn Clinic we provide an established and well-respected treatment programme for eating disorders, which addresses the disordered thoughts and behaviours as well as the emotional and psychological issues that underlie them. This takes place within the supportive therapeutic community environment necessary for long-lasting recovery to take place.
The nurses share pockets of their lives with us, like things about their children or pets, and it makes me feel like a person not a mental health issue. And although they share some of themselves with us, the boundaries between nurses and patients are very clear. It makes it easier for me to begin the work because the boundaries are very clear.