Eating Disorders

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses affecting both the mind and body. They’re not a choice or a passing phase. 

These disorders vary between individuals, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Those with eating disorders might obsessively control food and weight, often experiencing confusion, shame, and anxiety. 

These behaviours, though harmful, may serve a purpose, making recovery challenging. Many individuals find it difficult to discuss their struggles, often denying their condition.

therapy session for a teenage girl with a psychologist

Understanding the different types of eating disorders

Learn about the various types of eating disorders and how ABBI Clinic can help.

psychiatrist consultinig a depressive woman


To begin your journey towards recovery from an eating disorder, reach out to your GP. They will assess your physical and emotional well-being and refer you to a specialist or Community Mental Health Team as needed. 

ABBI Clinic accepts referrals from various sources, including clients, GPs, psychiatrists, and Community Mental Health Teams. Seeking support early on can increase your chances of a successful recovery.

Our approach

Why do people get eating disorders?

Eating disorders can happen for a mix of reasons. There is no single cause, and they are usually a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. 

Traumatic experiences can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, as the chaos temporarily relieves anxiety and stress.

There could be other factors, like feeling bad about your body or trying to control things. Some people are just more likely to get an eating disorder because of their personality.

Not all individuals with these risk factors will develop an eating disorder, and many factors may interact. 

Psychological support and treatment are essential for individuals with eating disorders to address the underlying causes and promote recovery.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, eating disorders are relatively common, affecting individuals of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of eating disorders has increased and it is estimated that there are approximately 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK. Around 25% of those are male.

Causes of eating disorders are multifactorial, including genetic predisposition (family history of eating disorder or other mental health condition), psychological factors (depression, anxiety, fear of being overweight, being a perfectionist), societal pressures (social media, having a job or hobby where size matters), and individual experiences (abuse, bullying, personal criticism about diet/eating, family tension).

People may develop eating disorders due to a combination of genetic, psychological, sociocultural, and environmental factors.

Eating disorders are mental health conditions characterised by abnormal eating patterns, thoughts, and behaviours that often have serious physical and emotional consequences. This can include eating excessively or not eating enough. It can lead to preoccupation with food and dietary patterns. They can also include other compensatory behaviours such as self-induced vomiting or misuse/overuse of medication. They can have a serious impact on all aspects of an individual’s life.

Individuals with eating disorders may exhibit traits such as perfectionism, low self-esteem, and a desire for control, but it varies among individuals.

It is challenging to overcome an eating disorder without professional treatment, as it often requires comprehensive intervention from a multidisciplinary team to address all aspects of the condition.

Yes, the exact treatment an individual requires depends on the underlying condition, but eating disorders are usually treated through a combination of psychological therapy, medical supervision, and nutritional support. Research shows that treatment is most effective when it is initiated early. With appropriate treatment, support, and ongoing care, it is possible to heal from an eating disorder.

If you’re seeking more information on treatment options, you can contact us.

Eating disorders usually involve complex factors, and while some may develop unintentionally, many result from a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental influences.

The duration of eating disorder treatment varies, involving both short-term care and long-term therapy. How long you attend the clinic for will depend on how much help you need to recover.

Binge eating disorder is characterised by episodes of consuming large amounts of food with a feeling of loss of control.

Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID).

There are many different types of eating disorders. The commonest are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Other less common eating disorders include Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), Orthorexia, PICA, Rumination Disorder.

Disordered eating refers to unhealthy eating behaviours, while an eating disorder involves a persistent and severe disturbance in eating habits, often accompanied by emotional and physical issues.

Anorexia nervosa involves restrictive eating and extreme thinness, while bulimia nervosa involves cycles of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours like vomiting or excessive exercise.

A therapy session

Have questions?

If you or a loved on are struggling with an eating disorder or you’re worried that you might be, please get in touch with us today.

For loved ones