Eating Disorders (Children)

What is it? 

The LightHouse Arabia offers evidence-based treatment for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, other eating and feeding disorders in children, adolescents, and adults, including management of body dysmorphia, depression and anxiety.  We also work with families, carers, and schools (staff, parents, students).

Eating disorders are psychological illnesses which involve disordered thoughts and behaviours regarding food, eating, weight and shape. They also have serious physical and mental health consequences and are therefore very important to treat early.  Eating disorders can vary in their severity, however early recognition and treatment leads to better outcomes. 

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.

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: experiencing a loss of control over-eating and consuming large amounts of food over a short period of time.
  • Other specified feeding and eating disorders (OSFED): where symptoms are characteristic of a feeding or eating disorder, however do not meet the full criteria.
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): characterized by a disturbance in the child’s eating, including lack of interest in food or a sensory aversion to certain foods. This manifests in a failure to meet the appropriate nutritional or energy needs, leading to significant weight loss or nutritional deficiency.


Who needs treatment?

Children and young people who struggle with any symptoms or behaviors mentioned below could benefit from an assessment & treatment. If you are concerned about your child’s experience with any of the below, please get in touch to discuss with a member of our team.

  • Paying excessive attention to weight, food, dieting, calories, body image, body size and or shape such 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 and not participating in social eating

  • Changes in mood and emotions, including low mood, anxiety and irritability

  • Difficulty in feeding children

  • Skipping meals and avoiding certain types of food 

  • Eating in secret or vomiting

  • Excessive exercise

Assessment and Treatment

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

Treatment Modalities

At The LightHouse Arabia, we believe in offering gold standard, evidence-based treatment and therefore follow the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2020 guidelines. At your child’s assessment, our team will discuss which treatment best meets their needs. Below are possible treatment options:

  • Family Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (FT-AN): Based on the Maudsley Model of Family Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa (FT-AN), we work with the young person and their family to help overcome the eating disorder, using a combination of family therapy and specialist eating disorder knowledge. This is the first-line recommended treatment for children and adolescents.

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-ED): Suitable for all types of eating disorders. It involves developing a personalized treatment plan, which addresses the child’s unhelpful thinking patterns, emotions and the behaviours which may have developed.

  • Supportive Psychotherapy

  • Management of multiple diagnosis  with/without medication

  • Dietary counseling

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 support for Adults here.

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

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