Find help, support and advice for mental health problems and eating disorders direct from Schoen Clinic experts

This section provides a wide range of eating disorders help, with advice and information on a wide range of issues for all those affected by eating disorders.

It includes advice on how to recognise if you might have an eating disorder and what to do if you think your child or friend may be affected. We explain how to get treatment and give a step-by-step guide on how eating disorders treatment is organised.

If you are looking for more information about eating disorders we also have a section that provides detailed explanation about the causes and symptoms of anorexia nervosabulimia nervosabinge eating disorder and other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED).

All of our factsheets have been written and reviewed by our team of specialists at Schoen Clinic.

Factsheets, help and support

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University Anxiety

Going to university is a large transition in life. With such a big change it's possible to experience feelings of anxiety and other related problems. Dr Sarah Perkins, Clinical Psychologist at Schoen Clinic Chelsea looks into this further.

Supporting Someone via Text

Mental Health problems have an impact on us all. This article explores the ways you can support some via text if you can't be with them physically.

The LEAP Programme at Newbridge

Specialists at Schoen Clinic Newbridge have adapted the internationally recognised LEAP programme for younger patients.

LEAP (Loughborough Eating disorders Activity therapy) is a well-regarded adult treatment to address excessive activity and over-exercise as components of anorexia. It was originally developed by Loughborough University’s Lorin Taranis and Dr Caroline Meyer.

Meal Preparation and Social Eating Support

An audit of meal preparation and social eating sessions at Newbridge has shown a consistent improvement for participants.

The Newbridge occupational therapy (OT) team run a range of sessions to support meal preparation and social eating. Using a graded approach, young people begin by preparing simple meals, then progress to main meals (according to age and ability).

Coping with an Eating Disorder at Christmas

Supporting a family member with an eating disorder at Christmas presents multiple and very complex challenges. It is important to prepare for this and to acknowledge how different members of the family feel about Christmas, including their fears, hopes and concerns.

Exercise During an Eating Disorder Recovery

The issue of exercise can cause a lot of worry and uncertainty when an individual is recovering from an eating disorder. Over-exercising is often a feature of anorexia, carried out compulsively as a tool in weight loss and maintenance of the disorder.

Having a Child with Anorexia - Anna’s Story

The mother of a 12-year-old who recently spent three months at Schoen Clinic Newbridge for in patient treatment describes the experience.

Having a Child with Anorexia - Fiona’s Story

The mother of a 15-year-old who recently spent six months at Schoen Clinic Newbridge for inpatient treatment describes the experience.

Someone Said I Was Fat

“Someone said I was fat” has been developed to be viewed by children and young people ideally at an age where they become increasingly conscious of body image and disordered eating can begin. Of course, individuals develop differently. However, we would consider the film to be particularly suitable for children and young people aged 10 to 16.

Eating Disorders in Transgender People

We have worked with young people who have eating disorders and a gender identity that is different from the one that was given to them at birth in our programme at Schoen Clinic Newbridge (or expressed difficulties with their biological gender).

Effects of Over Exercising

Exercise is recognised as being important for physical and psychological well being. It is recommended that everyone takes part in exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week.

Many people exercise much more frequently than that and their activity levels are not harmful. They may be working towards sport or aerobic goals and gain a high degree of satisfaction from their exercise.

Eating Disorder Recovery

Recovery from an eating disorder is a long process which requires specialist, effective treatment, consistent support and time. It is important to recognise eating disorder recovery is achievable. Many people recover fully from anorexia or bulimia and feel their eating disorder is firmly part of their past. For others, some difficulties remain, but to a lesser extent than the original eating disorder.

Eating Disorders and Laxatives

Laxatives are a form of medication taken to treat constipation. There are many different types of laxatives and most are available over the counter without prescription.

Laxative misuse involves taking this medication to get rid of food in order to lose weight. Some people with anorexia and bulimia take a large amount of laxatives as part of their harmful food behaviour.

Eating Disorders and Self-Harm

About a quarter of people with anorexia or associated eating disorders deliberately harm themselves.

The most common way of self-harming is cutting with a sharp object. People may also burn themselves, pull out their own hair and take dangerous amounts of medication, drugs or alcohol.

How Do I Know If I Have an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders can develop at any age, but most often affect people from the age of 14 to 25.

Eating disorders commonly start at a time when you are becoming more independent, changing the way you eat and possibly feeling different about your body. 

How Do I Know If My Child Has an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders commonly develop from the age of 14. This is a time when young people are becoming more independent and parents often have less control over the food they eat.

It can also be a time when your relationship with your child goes through many changes, often resulting in difficult conflicts. Equally, your child may become more distant from you.

I Think My Friend Has an Eating Disorder

In our image-obsessed culture, we spend a lot of time thinking and talking about our body image.

But you may have a friend who seems to have gone one step further, becoming obsessed about food and dieting. You are concerned that your friend might have an eating disorder and are not sure what to do.

Is There a Test for an Eating Disorder?

In order to properly diagnose an eating disorder, a full assessment needs to be made by your GP, a specialist nurse, psychiatrist or psychologist. This will include details about your symptoms and feelings, food intake, weight and blood tests.

Men and Eating Disorders

It has been commonly stated that one in ten men have anorexiabulimia or another type of eating disorder.

Recent figures from the NHS Information Centre suggested the real figure is actually much higher, with 700,000 men being registered as having an eating disorder, a quarter of the total number of people affected.

My Child has an Eating Disorder

The first step is to discuss your concerns with your daughter or son. They will be experiencing many difficult emotions and may deny there is a problem, become angry with you, or withdraw. You may need to raise the subject several times before your child takes on board your concerns. Each time, emphasise that you want to offer help and support.

Occupational Therapy

Newbridge House provides an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to eating disorder treatment and occupational therapy is a key part of this approach. In this way, we are able to respond to and meet the physical, psychological and social needs of each individual patient.

Resources for Schools

The film has been developed with the ideal audience range of 10 to 16 in mind. This is a very wide age range; we believe the film is suitable for this age range, but follow up discussions and work would need to be age adjusted.

Physical Effects of Anorexia

Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) has very serious physical effects and complications, as well as a devastating impact upon psychological well being.

The effects of anorexia are both short and long-term. There are the immediate physical effects as the body struggles to function without the nutrients and fuel that it needs. The sufferer is also at risk of developing long-term and potentially life-threatening health problems, particularly if the condition is untreated for many years

Physical Effects of Bulimia

Here, we will break down the;

  • Immediate physical signs of Bulimia
  • Long-term physical effects of Bulimia
  • Treatment and support

NICE Standards for Eating Disorder Treatment

It is recognised that there is wide variation in eating disorders services, both in terms of who is treated and the treatment itself. In many cases, services have developed their own models using different approaches and although they may originally have been a clear rationale for doing things in a particular way, it is hard to compare and measure what works best and what may not be working. From a patient and parent point of view, it is difficult to know what the standards for eating disorders treatment might be and therefore to know what to expect and what a good service looks like.

Veganism and Eating Disorders

In recent years, there has been a surge in the number of people exploring vegetarian and vegan diets. This is widely evidenced through social media sites and the promotion of campaigns such as ‘meat-free Monday’ and  ‘Vegan-uary’. It also correlates with the increasing demand for meat-free food items within UK supermarkets. In fact, consumer statistics show that in 2017 the market for meat-free items increased by 987 per cent.

Eating Disorder Causes

There will always be a number of factors in the development of an eating disorder and each individual will be affected by a unique combination.

There is never one simple, single cause, although sometimes there may be one factor in a person’s life which plays a particularly prominent role in his or her eating disorder.

What is Body Dysmorphia?

Body dysmorphia is the term for a condition that causes an individual to be overwhelmingly focused on perceived flaws in their appearance. This is a distorted perception – evident to the affected individual in a very different way than everyone else.

What is Compulsive Eating?

Compulsive eating is a type of behaviour with food: when a person eats in a way that feels out of control, that has an emotional component and involves eating an uncomfortably large amount. Compulsive eating is not an eating disorder in itself. It can be a recognised feature which is part of known eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

What is Diabulimia?

Diabulimia is a term which has come into recent usage to describe people who are suffering from Type 1 diabetes and a related eating disorder. Specifically, it means people with Type 1 diabetes who omit or reduce their intake of insulin in order to lose weight.

What is Mirror Exposure Therapy?

Mirror exposure therapy is an approach recognised as being effective in reducing body image distress. It can be used as part of a treatment programme for people with eating disorders who experience high levels of body dissatisfaction. This might be expressed in very frequent body checking in the mirror, or in mirror avoidance, due to the high levels of anxiety caused when the individual sees their own image.

What is Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)?

There is emerging understanding of a developmental disorder called Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) which can lead to serious eating difficulties, together with many other social, educational and relational problems.

About Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is a relatively new term, which stands for avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, now officially recognised and described in diagnostic criteria.

It involves the avoidance of a large number of foods to the extent that there is nutritional deficiency and health impairment. There is an intense fear of many foods and this usually results in social disturbances, such as being unable to join friends for school dinners or meals out.