Eating Disorders and their Impact

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Photoshop, social media, and dieting leave many individuals stuck in a vicious cycle of struggling with their relationship around food and body image. At times it can leave some exhausted making it hard to think about anything else.

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are characterised by a persistent disturbance of eating or eating related behaviour associated with distressing thoughts and emotions. Eating disorder can impact the individuals’ relationships, physical health, and mental health. Each individuals lived experience of an eating disorder is unique.

The four main eating disorders are classified as:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED).

Anorexia Nervosa 

Anorexia nervosa is characterised by the severe restrictions in food and energy intake. Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight, regardless of their current weight or size.

Bulimia Nervosa 

Bulimia nervosa involves binge eating and compensatory behaviours such as induced vomiting.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder involves bingeing repeated episodes of excessive eating over a short period of time. 


Those with OSFED show symptoms similar to one or more of the other eating disorders but do not meet the full criteria of these disorders.

Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders do not discriminate and can affect any individual, regardless of shape, gender, or size. Some signs may include:

  • Low self-esteem 
  • Body Dissatisfaction 
  • Internalisation of the thin ideal beauty standards
  • Extreme weight loss behaviours
  • Withdrawing from social outing involving food
  • Significant weight loss
  • Feeling out of control (unable to resist or stop eating, even when you’re full) 

Disordered eating

  • Dieting
  • Restricting food consumption
  • Fasting and skipping meals
  • Eliminating food groups
  • Restrictive eating accompanied by binging on food or excessive exercise.

Purging Behaviours

  • Laxative abuse
  • Self-induced vomiting

How can therapy help?

Sometimes asking for help can understandably seem impossible and frightening. Many individuals may not know they have an eating disorder, or if they do, they will try to hide the signs of their behaviour. Eating disorder can be tiring and recovery can be a challenge. However, seeking the right support can make the journey a bit easier. A person-centred approach is used in therapy with an emphasis on supporting an individual with their thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and motivation, to redefine the relationship with their body and food.

If you or a loved one is experiencing an eating disorder, it is essential to reach out for support – we are here to support you. Get in touch with our friendly admin team to book a Psychologist Melbourne. Our Melbourne Psychologists offer a wide range of evidence based therapies including EMDR Therapy Melbourne. Contact us by:

We are available for both face to face and telehealth sessions.

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Dr. Chris Coleiro

Chris is a co-director of Cova Psychology, where he provides supervision to psychologists whilst cultivating a supportive culture within the Cova team. Chris has worked extensively in the assessment and treatment of trauma, PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder. He combines a range of therapies in his approach including CBT, Schema Therapy, EMDR and IFS.