Eating Disorders can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, men, women, girls and boys. When someone starts to develop an eating disorder they become very concerned with controlling their food and weight, usually seeing this as the most important way to feel in control of life. They may use exercise excessively, take laxatives or diet pills or start to vomit after eating to promote weight loss or stop weight gain. Frequently the person dislikes their physical appearance, sometimes intensely and can develop mixed feelings of confusion, shame, insecurity and anxiety. This can develop further into depression and self-hatred.

Frequently, the person feels unable or unwilling to confide in others about their difficulties and can be in denial about what is happening to them or are convinced they should be able to solve any problems alone. Frequently it is others who first raise concerns, teachers, friends, parents or partners. Anorexia nervosa describes being at a low body weight, bulimia nervosa describes being at a normal body weight. Both can be associated with dieting, bingeing, vomiting, over exercise or using laxatives to control weight.


The causes of eating disorders are complex, a mixture of biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors. Some make an individual vulnerable to developing the illness, others act as a trigger or help keep the eating disorder going. It’s always very important when someone enters treatment that we understand which factors are relevant and how they interact for each person. Recovery can be a struggle but we know that early treatment leads to greater success.


Treatment involves re-establishing a regular balanced food intake and eating pattern alongside an exploration of emotional experiences, conflicts and difficulties. Eating disorders can lead to physical complications that may be life threatening or cause the development of clinical depression and anxiety so it’s important to assess and monitor both physical and emotional wellbeing at assessment and throughout treatment.


I work with a small group of expert clinicians, The Chelsea and Harley Street Eating Disorder Service, who like me, have specialised for many years in treating people with eating disorders. Treatment is based on the latest research but also tailored to meet the individual needs of that person and can include one to one therapy, family work, group therapy, dietetic input, carers support, education and medical support. We have all worked together in the past as colleagues in hospital eating disorder units and in that setting we developed a multidisciplinary way of working that relies on excellent and regular communication between us all. We have applied this multidisciplinary approach to our current work with outpatients, and we believe this is unique in private practice. We carry out regular reviews of all our patients and also frequently communicate on an informal basis to ensure all professionals who work with the same patient always keep each other informed. This very linked in approach leads to a greater sense of containment for the patient, and together with our specialist skills and experience, we find we have the best chance of leading to a successful outcome for the patient.