Eating Disorders

What is it?

Eating disorders are psychological illnesses, ranging from mild to extremely severe, characterized by intense concern about eating, body shape and weight, as well as disordered eating behaviors, such as restriction, purging and binge-eating. However, these types of disorders are not only related to difficulties with food. Eating disorders are commonly accompanied by intense emotional pain, sadness and worry, and disordered eating behaviors may be a way for a person to cope with these feelings.

There is a range of different eating disorders, some of which are defined purely by disordered eating, and some which include emotional and cognitive problems as well.

Some eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa: Characterized by food restriction, significant weight loss and fear of gaining weight.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: characterized by binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, fasting or excessive exercise
  • Binge Eating Disorder: characterized by a loss of control over eating and consuming large amounts of food over a short period of time, without compensatory or purging behavior
  • Body dysmorphia: characterized by excessive concern and worrying about flaws in their appearance, which are often unnoticeable by other people.
  • Other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED): where symptoms are characteristic of a feeding or eating disorder, however do not meet the full criteria for another eating disorder.

Who struggles with eating disorders?

Eating disorders can impact both males and females, across all ages and backgrounds. They typically start between the ages of 14-20 years.

Learn about our eating disorder services for Children & Adolescents here.


Who needs treatment?

Individuals who struggle with any of the below-mentioned behaviors or problems could benefit profoundly from Eating Disorder Treatments. Eating disorders do not tend to diminish over time, and usually only get worse when left untreated. If you are concerned about yourself or a peer experiencing any of the below, please get in touch.

  • Paying excessive attention to weight, food, dieting, calories, body image, body size and or shape to the point that eating and managing weight and thoughts about the body become the primary concern and focus over other activities
  • Extremely low self-esteem and concern with body image and size
  • Eating restrictively or excessively in phases and not participating in social food related activities
  • Changes in mood and emotions, including low mood, anxiety, and depression

Assessment and Treatment

The first step to recovery at The LightHouse Arabia is to conduct an intake assessment. This assessment gives our clinicians an idea of urgency of following treatments, which disorders are present, severity of disorders, dual disorders (such as anxiety or depression) and which course of treatment is best suited for the patient. The aim of the assessment is to uncover the nutritional, psychological and physical needs of the person being treated.

Treatment Modalities

At the LightHouse Arabia, we offer evidence-based, top-tier treatments, and all treatment options are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2020 guidelines, including:

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapty (CBT) and CBT-ED, a specialised form of CBT for individuals with eating disorders

  • Maudsley Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA)

  • Family Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (FT-AN)

  • Schema Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (SFCBT)

Eating Disorders support group 

The LightHouse Arabia is pleased to run the Supporting a Loved One with an Eating Disorder support group.  The group runs monthly, and provides a safe and confidential space for parents, partners, family members and friends to share their experiences of caring for a loved one with an eating disorder. Facilitators will provide information about eating disorders and how to support your loved one, while also exploring how to care and nurture yourself while undertaking these challenges. To view upcoming dates, please visit our Events page on the website. 

Learn about our eating disorder services for Children & Adolescents here.

Learn about our eating disorder support for Schools (staff, parents, students) here

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