Eating Disorder Service

Maudsley Health Eating Disorder Service

What is an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are serious psychological illnesses which involve extreme concern and worry about eating, shape and weight, alongside disordered behaviours such as restriction, binge-eating or purging.

However, eating disorders aren’t just about food and people experiencing an eating disorder are likely to experience emotional pain, sadness and worry. The eating disorder may be a way to cope.

Eating disorders can affect boys, girls, men and women of any age and any background. They most commonly start around the ages of 14-20, however may start at an earlier age for some children.

The eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and ‘other specified feeding or eating disorders’ (OSFED).

A newly recognized eating disorder is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), which is seen in both children and adults. ARFID is quite different from other eating disorders, in that individuals with ARFID do not experience the typical concerns about shape and weight. However, people with ARFID are unable to meet their nutritional needs, typically due to fear of an adverse consequence, lack of interest in food or worries about the sensory features of food.

Whilst some people with an eating disorder may be underweight, people at any weight may suffer from an eating disorder. Eating disorders can range from mild to severe, however, they don’t tend to improve without help so we urge you to seek treatment as soon as you can. Sometimes shame or embarrassment can affect help seeking, however getting help is the way forward.

What treatment do you offer at Maudsley Health?

At Maudsley Health, we believe in offering the gold standard, evidence-based treatment and all treatments we deliver are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2017 guidelines. Our Joint Head of Eating Disorder Service, Dr Victoria Mountford, has specialized in eating disorder research and treatment in the UK for 20 years and has been involved in developing both CBT-ED (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Eating Disorder) and MANTRA (Maudsley Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults). At your assessment, our team will discuss with you which treatment will best meet your needs.

Family Based Interventions for Young People with Anorexia Nervosa

Based on the Maudsley Model Family Therapy – Anorexia Nervosa (FT-AN), developed at the Maudsley Hospital, London, we work with the young person and their family to help overcome the anorexia, using  family therapy combined with specialist eating disorder knowledge. We explore how the illness has influenced family life, alongside a focus on behavioural change. This approach generally consists of 18-20 sessions over one year.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – Eating Disorder (CBT-ED)

CBT-ED is suitable for all types of eating disorder. It involves developing a personalized treatment plan, which addresses the unhelpful thinking patterns, emotions and behaviours which may have developed. It can also address areas such as low self-esteem, perfectionism or negative body image. CBT-ED typically consists of 20-40 sessions. CBT may also be used as a treatment for children, adolescents and adults with ARFID.

Maudsley Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA)

MANTRA is a modularized treatment for individuals with anorexia, with an accompanying workbook. It focuses on addressing anorexia and exploring maintaining factors such as difficulties in managing emotions and relationships, unhelpful thinking styles and aspects of identity. MANTRA typically consists of 20-30 sessions.

What can I do if I have a family member with an eating disorder?

We recognize that having a son, daughter, partner or other family member with an eating disorder can be a worrying and difficult time. The eating disorder can often lead to added tension at home and you can worry about what to say or do. Sometimes parents worry that they will be blamed. We believe that families don’t cause eating disorders but they are essential in the recovery process. Where possible, we like to involve family members or carers in the treatment process (working with you and your loved one to decide how best to do this).

I am a teacher or school counselor, what can I do?

Eating disorders typically start in adolescence and therefore teachers and school counselors may be well placed to notice and raise concern. Eating disorders can significantly impact a child’s ability to concentrate and study and to engage fully in school or university life. They may become more isolated and avoid mealtimes. Research tells us that people don’t tend to recover from eating disorders by themselves and the sooner they seek help, the sooner they can start to recover.

Where can I find out more?

We are very happy to talk to you about the next steps. Please ring (+971) 2 666 2655 to book an appointment to discuss the way forward.

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