International Eating Disorders Awareness Week

International Eating Disorders Awareness Week

For International Eating Disorders Awareness Week, our resident Chartered Clinical Psychologist Georgette Smith has kindly written and shared some information about eating disorders:

Eating is universal across the animal kingdom, including humans. Furthermore, it normally takes place several times a day, therefore it is not surprising that we often struggle with its regulation and when this becomes too difficult can manifest into an eating disorder.

Eating disorders can occur across all age groups, gender and ethnicity. Although eating behaviour and weight are often linked the relationship is complex and they cannot be simply regarded as one directly causing the other.

The current clinical and diagnostic classification system of eating disorders of DSM-5 recognises several different categories of eating disorders, each one is a recognition of a different collection of symptoms that appear to belong together. These are:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorders
  • Pica (Eating of non-food items)
  • Rumination Disorder. (Repeated regurgitation of food)
  • Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder
  • Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder

The last two categories represent people who have clinically significant distress about their eating behaviour, but do not meet the full diagnostic criteria for any of the other eating disorders. These classifications are subject to regular review at an international level depending on current research and clinical knowledge.

Sometimes problem eating behaviours are also secondary to another underlying medical problem, e.g. cancer, rare genetic disorders, increased eating due to prescribed medication.etc.

The first step in treatment of any eating disorder is to take detailed baseline records of the existing problem before any intervention can be implemented. Following this, specific treatments can be designed for each person. Because eating is a complex activity behavioural, cognitive and physiological factors are also likely to play a part in treatment proposals, even for those involving surgery. 

If you are affected by eating problems please contact me at The Spencer Private Hospitals Margate on the contact page, phone number at the top of this page or email direct to myself at I have many years of experience of treating and researching eating behaviours in particular binge eating behaviour, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.

Georgette Smith

Chartered Clinical Psychologist


For more information and support online you can visit - The UK's Eating Disorder Charity


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