Eating Disorder Treatment for Those with Disordered Eating

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are illnesses in which individuals experience abnormal or disturbed eating behaviors. These individuals have a pre-occupation with food, weight, and body image. It is about the way an individual copes with difficult problems and tries to regain control. This can affect people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, body shapes, weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses. Rapid weight gain or weight fluctuations can be a marker of an eating disorder.

Types of eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa:

Anorexia Nervosa involves a distorted body image and excessive dieting that can lead to severe weight loss. It is about restriction of energy, intense fear of gaining weight, becoming fat or about the behavior that interferes with weight gain, even though the individual is at a significantly low weight. There is often lack of recognition or insight about the seriousness of the illness.

Binge Eating Disorder:

Binge Eating Disorder is defined as recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time with a sense of being out of control, and often until feeling uncomfortably full. Someone with binge eating disorder will eat too quickly. They may feel guilt, embarrassment, or disgust and may binge eat alone to hide the behavior. This may be a way to cope and find comfort.

Bulimia Nervosa:

Bulimia Nervosa is characterised by recurrent binge-eating episodes followed by compensatory behavior of self-induced vomiting (purging), excessive exercise, and/or misuse of laxatives. Binge episodes are associated with a sense of loss of control and immediately followed by feelings of guilt and shame, leading to the compensatory behavior. A person with Bulimia Nervosa usually is able to maintain an average weight, making it less recognisable.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED):

This diagnosis is given when a person has eating behaviors that cause clinically significant distress and impairment in areas of functioning, but do not meet the full criteria for any of the other feeding and eating disorders. Such as:

  • Atypical Anorexia Nervosa: meets all the criteria, but individual’s weight is within or above normal weight range.
  • Binge Eating Disorder: low frequency and/or limited duration of episodes.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: low frequency and/or limited duration of episodes.
  • Purge Disorder: recurrent purging behavior in the absence of binge eating.
  • Night Eating Syndrome: recurrent episodes of night eating.
Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID):

ARFID is similar to anorexia in that both disorders involve limitations in the amount and/or types of food consumed; however, ARFID does not have distress about body shape, or size or fear of fat.

What To Expect:

Helping you or your loved one recover from an eating disorder will take a lot of work. Our outpatient program is for adults and adolescents, and our treatment approach uses evidence-based practices to provide comprehensive treatment tailored to the specific needs for those dealing with the eating disorders. Depending on your individual needs, we will design your treatment based on one or more of our following services: individual therapy, family therapy, family information sessions, group therapy, nutritional rehabilitation, coordinate care with other health providers or referrals to additional/ alternate services.

Determining the treatment modality which would be best for you or your loved one, takes place with a thorough initial assessment by a member of our team. The treatment chosen will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type and severity of the eating disorder, age, family situation, relationships, mental health condition, physical condition and social issues.

Eating Disorders affect more than just your psychological well-being., they can have consequences for your physical health. That is why at OPCS we work collaboratively with medical professionals to monitor your physical well-being from the outset of treatment to follow-up. If you already work with a psychiatrist for treatment, we will co-ordinate care with them as well.

The treatment setting and level of care should complement the general goals for treatment, typically to help the person medically stabilize, reduce disordered eating behavior, and address any coexisting psychological or relational difficulties.

The intensity and duration of treatment depends on mental health status, coexisting medical or psychological disorders. Your treatment team at OPCS will carefully review several factors at the beginning of treatment and throughout to determine if we are the right place for you to meet your treatment goals. If you are medically stable and do not require daily medical monitoring, your eating disorder symptoms are under sufficient control to be able to function with social, educational, or vocational situations, and you continue to make progress in recovery through actively engaging in treatment, than the outpatient treatment offered at OPCS may be right for you.

Your work with the OPCS Eating Disorder treatment team begins with the first phone call.


Kelty Mental Health

National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC)