Conditions and their Treatment - Eating Disorders Brisbane

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are moderate to severe mental health conditions which are often accompanied by moderate to severe medical issues. Eating disorders are characterised by disturbances in behaviour and thinking around food, eating, weight and/or shape.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. They can affect people of both genders; of all ages,  shapes, and sizes; and from all cultural backgrounds. They are serious, potentially-life threatening, and are not a lifestyle choice. 

Eating disorders are classified into different diagnoses, depending on the kind of symptoms and frequency of behaviours.

You can’t tell whether or not someone has an eating disorder by looking at them as eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, sizes, and cultural backgrounds.

People do not simply “grow out” of an eating disorder. In fact, left untreated, eating disorders can have severe consequences for the individual and their loved ones at a physical, emotional, social, and vocational level.

It can be difficult for people to acknowledge, understand and challenge their eating disorder. But with the right support and professional help by specialists in this area, it is entirely possible for a person to achieve complete recovery from their eating or body-image concern.

Our caring professionals have specialist training and experience in the successful treatment of eating disorders, helping people to develop a healthy relationship with food and their body in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Anorexia Nervosa (AN)

Restriction of energy intake relative to an individual’s requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory and health status.

Note: Being within the ‘healthy weight’ BMI range does not exclude someone from having Anorexia Nervosa.

Undue influence of body shape and weight on self-evaluation, disturbance of body image, an intense fear of gaining weight, lack of recognition of the seriousness of the illness and/or behaviours that interfere with weight gain are also present.

Bulimia Nervosa (BN)

Binge eating (eating a large amount of food in a relatively short period of time with a concomitant sense of loss of control) with purging/compensatory behaviour (e.g. self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, insulin misuse, excessive exercise, diet pills) once a week or more for at least 3 months.

Disturbance of body image, an intense fear of gaining weight and lack of recognition of the seriousness of the illness may also be present.

Cognitive behaviour therapy for bulimia nervosa (CBT-BN), a specifically adapted form of CBT, should be offered to adults with bulimia nervosa. The course of treatment should be for 16 to 20 sessions over 4 to 5 months.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Binge eating, in the absence of compensatory behaviour, once a week for at least 3 months. Binge eating episodes are associated with: eating rapidly, when not hungry, until extreme fullness, and/or associated with depression, shame or guilt.

BED is categorised by episodes of binge eating; eating a large amount of food in a relatively short period of time whilst experiencing a sense of loss of control over eating. Unlike Bulimia Nervosa, individuals with BED do not partake in inappropriate compensatory behaviours (such as self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse).

Binge eating episodes are associated with eating rapidly, when not hungry, in secret, until extreme fullness, and are often associated with emotions such as depression, shame and/or guilt.

BED is not something to be embarrassed about. It is a mental health condition. It is not your choice, not your fault, nor something you can control or simply get over. With support of an experienced professional however, full recovery is possible.

Contrary to popular misconception, eating disorders are not lifestyle choices. They are serious and debilitating illnesses that negatively affect a person’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours around food, eating, exercise, and body-image.

Other Conditions and Treatments


Nine Truths about Eating Disorders

Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.

Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.

Truth #8: Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.

Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

Produced in collaboration with Dr. Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED, who serves as distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Professor of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. “Nine Truths” is based on Dr. Bulik’s 2014 “9 Eating Disorders Myths Busted” talk at the National Institute of Mental Health Alliance for Research Progress meeting.

The earlier that appropriate treatment is sought, the greater the chance of full recovery. If you think you, or someone you know, might be struggling with an eating disorder or weight concern, our team of professionals are here to support you.

You can find out more about overcoming eating disorders and weight concerns by contacting us for a free 15-minute consultation. We are always open to discussing your concerns as well as the ways in which we might support you.