What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that cause you to become obsessed with your body shape and weight, leading to unhealthy and sometimes dangerous eating habits. These eating habits may include:
- Limiting the amount of food you eat
- Consuming a lot of food in one sitting
- Trying to remove calories from your body using unhealthy methods e.g. making yourself sick, abusing laxatives, or exercising in an excessive way
These behaviours can be really damaging and can have a negative effect on lots of different areas of your life, as well as your physical and mental health. Left untreated, eating disorders can become worse and may even result in death. That’s why it’s so important to get professional help for an eating disorder as soon as possible.
Eating disorders are treatable – get help today
The good news is that eating disorders are treatable and it’s possible for you to make a full and lasting recovery with the right support. It may seem daunting to reach out for help but it really is the most important thing you can do to get back on track and achieve positive mental wellbeing once more. Remember, you’re not alone; expert help is available.
Our team of psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have lots of experience in treating eating disorders. We can help you overcome your unhealthy eating behaviours, learn coping techniques for the future, and take steps towards the healthy, happy and fulfilling life you deserve.
We don’t just treat the physical side of your eating disorder. We will also address the underlying psychological, social and environmental causes, so you can understand what may have triggered your eating disorder in the first place. This approach helps to maximise the lasting benefits of treatment and reduce the chances of you relapsing.
We also make sure that all treatment is personalised to you and your individual condition. This means you will receive a bespoke treatment experience, helping you to achieve the best results for you as an individual.
Outpatient eating disorder treatment in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
We provide expert eating disorder treatment in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai on a flexible outpatient basis. We can help you overcome your symptoms and take steps towards recovery.
Outpatient eating disorder treatment at both of our Priory Wellbeing Centres in Dubai and Abi Dhabi ensures:
- Convenient and flexible and consulting hours, which fit in with your work and other commitments
- Fast access to high quality therapy
- Complete confidentiality and discretion
- Treatment from skilled experts
- Online counselling and therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the treatment of eating disorders
One of the most effective ways of treating eating disorders is a method known as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT is based on the idea that mental health problems, including eating disorders, are underpinned by negative thought processes. These can prevent you from breaking your unhealthy habits and make you question whether you can ever recover. Our eating disorder CBT experts will help you address your negative beliefs about food and weight, identify why these developed in the first place and then give you the skills to replace your negative thoughts with more positive ones.
Our specialist eating disorder experts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi can deliver one-to-one therapy, group therapy or family therapy for eating disorders, depending on your individual needs.
What are the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder?
The signs and symptoms of eating disorders can be different for different people and also depend on the type of eating disorder you’re struggling with. However, the following are all common signs that you may have an eating disorder:
- Having an obsession with food
- Feeling as though food has taken over your life
- Feeling as though you’ve lost control over your eating habits
- Being obsessed with your physical appearance and what other people think of your body
- Believing you’re fat when other people say you’re thin
- Having an abnormally low or high body weight
- Wanting to eat alone or in secret
- Becoming distressed during mealtimes
- Feeling guilty and ashamed when you eat
What causes an eating disorder?
Like with lots of mental health conditions, research shows there are lots of different factors that can make it more likely that you’ll develop some form of eating disorder. These include:
- Genetics – having a close relative, such as a sibling or parent, with an eating disorder can make it more likely that you will also struggle with an eating disorder at some point in your life. This could be down to inherited genes, early environmental influences, or a mixture of the two
- Biology – research shows that having certain chemicals in the brain may increase the chances of someone developing an eating disorder
- Gender – statistics show that women and girls are more likely to develop an eating disorder than men and boys. However, it’s still possible for males to struggle with eating disorders. In fact, eating disorders can affect anyone of any gender, age or background
- Psychological health – if you have underlying mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), this can make it more likely that you’ll develop an eating disorder
- Environment – the environment around you and various things going on in your life can increase the chances of you developing an eating disorder. Examples include being under a lot of stress at work or school, being criticised for your weight, going through a bereavement, or experiencing abuse
- Society – society also has a role to play and can influence whether you go on to struggle with an eating disorder at some point. This includes things like feeling under pressure from the media to be thin, and having a hobby or a job where being thin is seen as being important, such as modelling, athletics, or dancing
What are the different types of eating disorder?
There are four main types of eating disorder, and each one has its own symptoms. These include:
- Anorexia nervosa – anorexia causes you to become obsessed with being thin and have a strong fear of gaining weight. It can also mean you have a distorted body image, which makes you believe you’re fat even when you’re very thin. If you’re diagnosed with anorexia, it’s likely that you’ll be preoccupied with keeping your weight as low as possible and may try to achieve this using lots of different methods. These include starving yourself and ‘purging’ your body of the calories you’ve consumed which involves making yourself sick, abusing laxatives or exercising excessively
- Bulimia nervosa – this eating disorder causes you to binge eat, where you eat lots of food in one sitting, followed by purging to try and remove the calories you’ve consumed. Your bingeing and purging behaviours can be triggered if you’re anxious, stressed or hungry. Unlike anorexia, people with bulimia tend to stay a ‘normal’ weight, which can make this eating disorder difficult to spot
- Binge eating disorder (BED) – this is characterised by regular binge eating, where you eat huge amounts of unhealthy food in one sitting, even when you’re not hungry. However, if you have BED, you won’t purge afterwards, which means you’re at risk of becoming obese
- Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED) – previously known as ‘eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)’, OSFED can have features of all of the above eating disorders, but don’t meet the exact criteria for a diagnosis
Where to get help for eating disorders
At Priory, we have been treating eating disorders in the UAE since 2017, at our specialist clinic in Dubai, We have recently opened a second Wellbeing Centre in Abu Dhabi. We now offer expert help for eating disorders in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, at the following locations:
Eating disorder treatment Dubai
Priory Wellbeing Centre Dubai
Dubai Healthcare City
Al Razi Building 64
Block F, Ground Floor
Out Metha Road
Eating disorder treatment Abu Dhabi
Priory Wellbeing Centre Abu Dhabi (opening soon)
King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street
United Arab Emirates
If you are a loved one are living with an eating disorder then it is important that professional support and treatment is urgently sought. Contact the Priory team today.
For further information call today on: (+971) 4 245 3800 or submit an enquiry form in confidence. We will provide you with details on all our treatments and offer help on how to manage your mental health at a time that suits you.