eating disorders

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are characterised as a problematic relationship with how you feel about your body and eating. Generally these difficulties are often linked to underlying struggles with managing emotions and low self esteem.

Common signs of an eating disorder: 

  • Feeling guilty about eating and therefore trying to limit your food intake
  • Compensating for eating with exercise or other weight control methods
  • Not being able to stop thinking about your weight, shape or eating
  • Losing control of your eating and eating large amounts of food

Useful links for eating disorders

CBT for eating disorders

One of the most evidenced based and therefore recommended therapies for eating disorders in adults is a specialist form of CBT called CBT-E or CBT-ED. This therapy is not specific to a certain eating disorder diagnosis as it is tailored to suit your specific difficulties.

CBT-E generally has four stages;

  • Firstly during stage one the focus is on gaining awareness and understanding of your difficulties and helping you to stabilise your pattern of eating, this involves starting to monitor and recognise patterns in your thoughts, feelings and behaviours around eating and other behaviours. 
  • In the brief second stage, progress is reviewed and plans are made for stage three.
  • Stage three is the main body of treatment and focuses on addressing the processes that are maintaining your eating difficulties. Usually this involves addressing areas where your eating has become restricted, enhancing ability to deal with day-to-day events and moods and addressing concerns about body image.
  • Finally in stage four focus shifts to dealing with setbacks and maintaining changes for the future.

MANTRA for Anorexia

The Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) is a recommended treatment for Anorexia Nervosa in adults. 

MANTRA considers both the biology and psychology of the disorder and how these factors interact to keep anorexia going. 

MANTRA proposes that anorexia typically occurs in people with a certain type of personality and is maintained by four broad factors, all of which are intensified by the biological effects of starvation.  These factors include: firstly, an inflexible, detail-focused and perfectionist way of thinking; secondly, difficulties in the domain of emotions and relationships; thirdly, beliefs about the positives of anorexia; lastly, other people’s behaviour around the illness. 

MANTRA also assumes not being sure about change (something common in Anorexia) and this is the starting point.

Schmidt U. (2015) Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA): A Cognitive-Interpersonal Model of Illness Development and Maintenance. In: Wade T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Feeding and Eating Disorders. Springer, Singapore.

Recommended books for eating disorders