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Addiction Recovery Centre

ARC is excited to announce that we have an expert in the field of eating disorders that has joined our treatment team.


Eating disorders are problems with eating behaviour and weight regulation. Eating disorders are medical and treatable illnesses. Some symptoms of an eating disorder include sever weight gain/loss and eating less/more portions of food. Eating disorders can be life threatening and has major physical, psychological and emotional consequences on the person. The types of eating disorders are: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder.


This disorder is characterised by people who lose control over their eating. To binge eat is to eat large amounts in a short period of time. People who are binge eaters eat large amounts of food and unlike other eating disorders do no compensatory behaviour because of the amount of food eaten i.e. exercising or fasting. People who are binge eaters are usually overweight and in extreme cases obese.

Risks of Binge eaters
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Very emotional
  • Cholesterol


People who suffer from anorexia nervosa are people who see themselves as being overweight when they are actually deathly underweight. People with anorexia are obsessed with their weight and weigh themselves constantly. They always portion their foods and the portions of food are very small. Anorexia sufferers may also partake in binge eating but they are followed by excessive dieting and excessive exercise.

  • Very low body weight
  • Severe food restriction
  • Obsession with being skinny and not about being a normal, healthy weight.
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • No menstruation (women)
  • Low self-esteem

Anorexia is treatable and some people respond after their first treatment, but some relapse and have a long-lasting battle with this disorder.

Long-term/chronic symptoms:
  • Osteoporosis (thinning of bones)
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Dry and yellowish skin
  • Weakness
  • Extreme constipation
  • Heart damage
  • Brain damage
  • Multi-organ failure
  • Drop in body temperature (person feels cold all the time)
  • Infertility
  • No energy


People with bulimia nervosa have episodes where they eat extreme amounts of food and feel they have no control over these episodes. What makes this different to binge eating is that sufferers compensate for the food by inducing vomiting, excessive exercising and misuse of laxatives. Unlike anorexia, people who are bulimic maintain a normal healthy weight or are slightly overweight. But like anorexia, they fear gaining weight and very unhappy with their body size/shape.

Bulimic behaviour is usually done in secret because of the feelings of shame and guilt. The purge (induced vomiting) cycle can happen anywhere from several times a week to many times a day.

  • Osteoporosis (thinning of bonesnflamed sore throat)
  • Swollen salivary glands in neck and jaw area
  • Decaying teeth (from stomach acid)
  • Acid reflux disorder
  • Intestine problems from the laxatives
  • Severe dehydration
  • Heart attack and stroke risk


  • Reducing excessive exercise
  • Stopping binge and purge behaviours
  • Psychotherapy (family, group, individual therapy)
  • Medication in some instances (anitdepressants)
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Medical care

If you and your family are trapped in this desperate cycle, rest assured that there is a way out. No matter how isolated and alone you feel, there are many other people walking this same path, and many more who are dedicated to helping you change the direction of your life.

Everyone entering treatment receives a clinical assessment. A complete assessment of an individual is needed to help treatment professionals offer the type of treatment that best suits him or her. The assessment also helps programme counsellor's work with the person to design an effective treatment plan. Although clinical assessment continues throughout a person's treatment, it starts at or just before a person's admission to a treatment programme.

The treatment is an inpatient programme which works together with the patient and their family to provide a safe haven for healing and the reverse of weight loss; combined with professional expertise to help normalise eating patterns, encourage a healthy attitude towards food and challenge distorted beliefs around body image.

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