Posted on 24 February 2016
This week is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and I wanted to explore how other aspects of eating disorders can impact on individuals. In previous blogs I have talked very clearly about how eating disorders are not really about food, eating disorders are about how an individual is using food in some way to try and help themselves, even though it may not feel like that to them.
Using Cognitive Hypnotherapy in my clinics in Harley Street, London and Henley on Thames my approach is different because I use a range of proven techniques to gently but clearly identify and respond to the actual root causes of an eating disorder rather than just generically trying to work with weight or purging, which is the more traditional approach.
When working with eating disorders, especially bulimia, it can be useful to explore whether the bulimia is exacerbated by either a chemical response in the body or by an imbalance of hormones. I usually do this once several sessions have been spent focussing on the root causes of the eating disorder and the clients relationship with themselves has really started to improve.
I talk to clients about the chemical reactions that the body can go through in a response to say sugar or refined carbohydrates or alcohol for example and how that can exacerbate the desire to binge and purge. I get clients to define what percentage of their eating pattern is due to the above - it will be a small percentage, possibly about 10% but it helps many clients to understand that there can be different aspects to their bulimia. We discuss how they can reduce the impact of chemical reactions and I will get clients to set their own goals if and when appropriate.
It can be the case that once the frequency of purging / vomiting is reducing, many clients find that their hormones go into overdrive and they start to experience symptoms of hormone imbalance such as increased PMT and constant body swelling which is especially hugely unhelpful when a client is working through being more accepting of their own body.
It is important to have a network of doctors and medical professionals who are experienced in working to stabilise hormone imbalances that I can refer clients to. I spent several years in my late teens and early twenties battling initially with anorexia and then subsequently bulimia. As I reduced the frequency of vomiting my hormones went into overdrive and I had to contend with the added impact of extensive swelling of hands and feet and face as well as my stomach etc. I really wish that someone could have told me then what could be done to stabilise my hormones which would have eased the whole process for me.
When necessary I refer clients to The Marion Gluck Clinic who specialise in working with bio-identical hormones and have experience of managing the hormone imbalances that can be triggered by eating disorders.
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