Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders

Nine Wellbeing has a practice of therapy and psychology professionals who have spent many years working in specialist NHS eating disorder settings. We understand that those living with an eating disorder often feel trapped and fearful, and sometimes very proud of their achievements. Developing and maintaining an eating disorder is a highly complex process, with those living with it dealing with powerful and often opposing forces, both from within and from those around them.

Equally, we understand that living with someone who has an eating disorder is an incredibly frightening experience.  We would encourage you to seek the support you need in order to be there for your loved one.

Some sobering eating disorder facts & statistics

  • An Eating disorder is a mental health illness with sometimes extreme physical consequences.
  • More than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder – (Feb 2015, BEAT)
  • Eating disorders are treatable conditions and full recovery can be possible. Early treatment increases likelihood of making a full recovery.
  • Around one in 250 women and one in 2,000 men* will experience anorexia nervosa at some point. The condition usually develops around the age of 16 or 17.
  • Bulimia is around five times more common than anorexia nervosa and 90% of people with bulimia are female*. It usually develops around the age of 18 or 19.
  • Eating disorders claim more lives than any other mental illness – one in five of the most seriously affected will die prematurely from the physical consequences or suicide.        
  • it is considered that more men suffer from eating disorders than are statistically represented. Men have traditionally been less likely to seek help, but it is assumed that the figure of those suffering is growing. Never rule out the possibility of an eating disorder based upon gender alone.


What causes eating disorders?

Eating disorders are often blamed on the social pressure to be thin, as young people in particular feel they should look a certain way. However, the causes are not usually this simple.

The development of an eating disorder is a complex process and there is no one single reason why someone develops an eating disorder. A whole range of different factors contribute, such as genetic, psychological, environmental, social and biological influences. A number of risk factors need to combine to increase the likelihood that any one person develops the condition. The latest research indicates that eating disorders are much more biologically based than was previously thought. (BEAT


Some factors which increase the possibility of eating disorders developing:

  • having a family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
  • being criticised for eating habits, body shape or weight
  • being overly concerned with being slim, particularly if combined with pressure to be slim from society or for a job (eg dancers, models, athletes).
  • certain characteristics, e.g. having an obsessive personality, an anxiety disorder, low self-esteem, or being a perfectionist
  • particular experiences such as sexual or emotional abuse, or the death of someone special
  • difficult relationships with family members or friends
  • stressful situations for example problems at work, school or university. Transitional stages of life.


Nine Wellbeing has a practice of therapists and psychologists who have worked for many years in NHS Specialist Eating Disorder settings. If you are concerned that you, or someone you love may be suffering from the early signs of an eating disorder, it is imperative that you seek help, earlier rather than later. We hope that you find these pages helpful as a starting point.