I know myself better & am in control of everything
I am wondering why I did'nt come sooner
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Self Help - Eating Disorders

There are 'no coincidences' in life and a chain of events found me at Andrews retreat 160 miles away . Instantly upon meeting Andrew I felt a relief from a long term problem was achievable. Andrews method became a life changing intervention . Andrew will feature more in my future life I know.

Paul Green

Eating disorders are a cultural phenomenon. Rather than simply eating because we are hungry we are encouraged to see eating as a social and leisure activity. At the same time there is considerable pressure, directed at women, to be slim. Under emotional pressure people usually turn to things that offer comfort or strive to achieve a state that they believe will compensate for their distress. There is often an obsessive aspect to these behaviours.

Eating disorders include, anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Women between the ages of 15 and 25 are most likely to develop such problems. It is estimated that 3% of women experience anorexia and between 4-10% have bulimia. The ratio of men to women with such difficulties is about 1:20. It is useful to think of these problems as being similar to addictions, because it often has a compulsive aspect to it and once the behaviour becomes established it can become more elaborate and harder to change.

As with addictions, there are two levels at which the problem can be tackled. Firstly, the behaviour itself needs to be tackled. In addition, but not always, it is important to tackle the underlying factors that led to the difficulty occurring in the first place. A large number of people who have bulimia have experienced abuse earlier in their lives.

Physical Aspects Of Eating Disorders

Traditional calorie controlled diets have been found to be unhelpful. Although weight is lost, the act of dieting in this way leads the body to protect the fatty tissue whilst the tissue that can metabolise quicker is lost. Subsequently, the person is liable to put more weight on when they stop dieting. This has become known as Yo-yo dieting. The most recent Weight Watchers diet addresses this issue and would seem to be the best group to join at the moment.

The abuse of laxatives causes far more problems than people think. They do not actually prevent calories being absorbed and can lead to permanent damage of the bowel. Laxative abuse can also lead to problems with bloating, constipation and diarrhoea long after the person has stopped using them.

Repeatedly making yourself sick most commonly affects the electrolyte balance in the body. Abnormalities of potassium levels cause dehydration and can give rise to irreversible damage to the heart, kidney and brain.

Seeking Help

Often the most difficult thing for people with eating disorders to do is recognise that they need help and then seek it.

Trying to change habitual behaviour is never easy and help is often needed. You will find helpful links and useful literature below.

Eating Disorder Further Reading


Binge No More
Joyce D Nash

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Bulimia: A Guide to Recovery
Lindsey Hall, Leigh Cohn

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National Organisations

Eating Disorders Association.

National Centre for Eating Disorders

Youthline 01603 765 050 (Up to 18 years of age.)

Overeaters Anonymous 07000 784985

Obesity Lifeline 01279 306666


EDA Telephone Helpline:
For people who wish to talk about eating disorders and to obtain information about help available in their locality.
Telephone Adult Helpline 01603 621 414 (Weekdays, 9.00 am - 6.30 pm)

North East

Northern Initiative on Women and Eating
1 Pink Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne. 0191 221 0233.