Ibiza Calm International Rehab Addiction Clinic37


The desire of control

Most food disorder sufferers begin with strict dieting!

If you have an eating (or food) disorder, you use food to alter your mood – rather than for nutrition. You might do this by:

• Starving
• Overeating
• Bingeing
• Purging

–or a mixture of all of these. The behaviour brings short-term relief from depression, stress or intense anxiety until it builds up again and the action is repeated. The desire for control is a big factor. People with eating disorders often have a distorted view of the size of their bodies (body dysmorphia); they frequently have an exercise addiction as well; and use nicotine and caffeine to help stop hunger pangs.

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Two types of common food disorders have been given their own names:


Anorexia nervosa –

this is the self-starvation syndrome involving body dysmorphia and an intense fear of weight gain. Typically, the individual loses 20% or more of their original body weight, leading to muscle wasting. Sufferers usually have low self-esteem and immense feelings of shame and guilt but are in strong denial about having a problem.


Bulimia nervosa –

this is characterised by secret ‘binge’ episodes involving eating large amounts of very high-calorie foods, often in a short space of time; frequently followed by ‘purging’, either by vomiting, the swallowing of laxatives or diuretics, or obsessive exercise, in an attempt to rid the body of the calories consumed. Sufferers have the same low self-esteem as anorexics but are usually more aware that they have a problem.


The pattern of seeking relief from negative feelings is typical of any addiction – e.g., to drugs or alcohol. People habitually don’t know, or deny to themselves, that they have a problem. Sufferers can recover using the same model of addiction as any other type of addict – although, instead of abstaining completely from food, they abstain from the addictive foods (foods like refined flour and sugar are known to alter mood) and eat three nutritious meals a day and nothing else.

If you know someone with a food disorder, it is pointless getting bossy or frustrated with them and trying to get them to eat more, or less. They’re in an addictive process and they are powerless over their behaviour. If you try to stop that behaviour, the person’s underlying negative feelings will escalate until they become unbearable, and they will then be forced to react. So The sufferer has to be shown that there is another way to deal with those terrifying feelings, at the same time as quitting the addictive cycle.

It’s important to say that food disorders are potentially very damaging to both physical and mental health and can be fatal. Anorexia nervosa can result in sudden death, by the malnutrition accompanying the disease. Anorexia also causes amenorrhoea, low blood pressure, decreased heart size, dry skin, hair loss and cold intolerance (leading to an increase in body hair). The self-induced vomiting of bulimics can lead to swelling of salivary glands, erosion of tooth enamel, electrolyte and mineral deficiencies, oesophagus tearing and irregular heart rhythm. In addition, laxative abuse can cause long-lasting damage to bowel function.

Most food disorder sufferers begin with strict dieting, exercising, or overeating, and the condition escalates from there. Spotting the potential problem in the early stages can prevent years of misery and ill-health.

Eating disorders

Do i have a problem with eating?

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test yourself

I worry about being overweight.


I’m usually on a diet of some sort.


Every day I spend a lot of time thinking about what to eat and what not to eat.


I quite often feel guilty after eating.


If my favorite food’s not in the house, I’ll hunt around the shops at night to buy some.


When I exercise I’m thinking about how many calories I’m burning up.


I often eat until I feel bloated.


I sometimes use laxatives to help me lose weight.


I don’t like going out to dinner or eating in company.


I feel more in control when I don’t eat.


The thought of just having normal meals makes me miserable.


I’ll only be happy when I’m the right size and shape.


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