When it comes to eating behaviour there is a lot of variety amongst people in relation to habits we develop so it is often not easy to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy patterns of eating.
While pressure or stress affects people in different ways, it is common for your eating habits to be affected when you feel stressed or under pressure. This may mean you crave a particular food (such as chocolate); lose your appetite; eat more for comfort; or even become unable to eat at all – feeling ill if you do. Most people get back into their usual eating habits, once the difficulties have passed.
However, if you go on eating too much or too little over a period of time, you may be in danger of developing an ongoing problem with eating or an eating disorder. You may find food becoming increasingly important in your life, until, in some cases, it becomes the most important thing. You may deny yourself anything to eat, even when you are very hungry, or you may eat constantly, or binge. You may find that the subject of food, or how much you weigh, can be on your mind all the time. Food can become a sort of addiction; affecting your life in a very negative way. Being ‘addicted’ to food presents huge problems, because you need to eat to live; so if you have an eating problem, you have no choice but to wrestle with this problem every day.
It’s important to understand that eating problems aren’t just about food and eating. They are about difficult problems and painful feelings, which you may be finding hard to express, face or resolve. Focusing on food is a way of disguising these problems, even from yourself.
The most common forms of Eating problems are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, compulsive eating and binge eating.
There are many possible causes of eating problems, but one common factor that many people who experience eating problems have is low self-esteem, or a feeling that they are not, in some way ‘good enough’. However, there are no easy assumptions as to why eating problems develop. There is never one single cause, but rather a set of different causes, which may be to do with your personality ( eg: being perfectionistic, obsessive behavior, lack of confidence), past experiences (eg: family life experiences, parents’ attitude to food and discipline), and current events or pressures ( eg: loss or trauma, parental difficulties, pressure at school or work).
Eating problems often develop at the same time as you are going through major life changes such as puberty, going to a new school, concerns over being gay or lesbian, or leaving home for the first time. Other people may not understand this, even if they are close friends or family members, and to them the eating problem may appear to have appeared suddenly, without any obvious cause.
How therapy can help:
Therapy offers a warm, empathic, safe and confidential environment in which the therapist and you collaboratively work towards:
- Understanding the underlying causes and triggers of your eating problem, both conscious and unconscious
- Developing ways to manage your symptoms – this usually involves both cognitive (how you think about it) and behavioural (actions, tasks, homework etc) work
Contact us now in confidence at Arduna @ (01) 833 27 33 to discuss making an appointment with one of our therapists who can help you with eating problems.
THERAPISTS WHO SPECIALISE IN THIS AREA:
To get more information on an individual therapist please click on name