Eating Disorders can be overcome with the Thrive Programme

Eating Disorders can be overcome with the Thrive Programme

Recent figures obtained by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimate that 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. This estimation does not take into account those who haven’t yet sought help or been diagnosed. It is also estimated that 10% of those 1.6 million suffer from Anorexia Nervosa, 40% suffer from Bulimia and the remaining 50% suffer from Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), which includes Binge Eating Disorder.

Research into recovery from Anorexia Nervosa suggest that approximately 46% recover fully, a third of those suffering improve and 20% remain chronically ill (Steinhausan, 2002). Research has also found that Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate than any other psychiatric disorder, at 20% from medical complications associated with the condition and suicide.

Similar statistics for Bulimia show that 45% of sufferers make a full recovery, 27% improve considerably and 23% remain chronically ill (Steinhausan and Webber, 2009).

A recent study (Flinders University – Tracy Wade and Marika Tiggemanne) of over a thousand women published in the Journal of Eating Disorders found that perfectionism was involved in body dissatisfaction and the development of eating disorders. The women taking part in the study were aged between 28-40 and ranging between being underweight and morbidly obese. The findings from this particular study are as follows: women who sort the lowest BMI (Body Mass Index) and body size “tended to be more concerned about making mistakes, and more worried about organisation and higher self-doubt than everyone else.”

Prof Tracy Wade went on to explain “While some perfectionism is normal and necessary, there becomes a point at which it becomes an unhelpful and vicious cycle. Knowing that perfectionism of any sort is a risk factor for eating disorders suggests we should tackle ‘all or nothing’ attitudes with clients, as well as helping them become less invested in defining their self-worth in terms of their ability to achieve high standards.”

From a Thrive Consultant’s point of view we are well aware of the strong perfectionist thinking style exhibited by someone presenting with Anorexia nervosa. As well as a perfectionist style of thinking, the anorexia sufferer has a tendency to obsess and brood about body image and food, thus maintaining their symptoms. We are also aware that if a person presents with a perfectionist style to their thinking, they are likely to display a strong black and white, all or nothing (Dichotomous) style of thinking as well. This is especially valuable to understand if a person is suffering from Bulimia and swings between being ‘extremely controlled’ surrounding food to then bingeing and feeling out of control. Looking at what drives that strong perfectionist, obsessive and black and white style of thinking we are left with three main underlying issues, low self-esteem (low confidence), social anxiety (worrying about what other people think) and an External Locus of Control (a feeling of being powerless and feeling out of control in a particular area of your life). By helping the sufferer acknowledge and address these underlying issues, the person builds up self-confidence and a belief in their ability to overcome their symptom.

If you would like to find out more about the help available for anyone suffering from Eating Disorders, please get in touch with your local Thrive Consultant.


Clare Waterer

Thrive Blogger and Consultant

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The Thrive Programme is suitable for all and if you feel that life is merely ticking over for you, The Thrive Programme will enable you to master the skills and resources you need so that you won’t get anxious, stressed or depressed – whatever bumps in the road you encounter. If however, you are already suffering from depression or other mental health concerns (e.g. phobias, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, confidence issues, weight problems, children’s problems, social anxiety). The Thrive Programme is a quick, effective way to overcome these for good in 6 weeks, even if you have found other forms of therapy or treatment to be ineffective for you.
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