Eating Disorder Treatment

Life Works’ eating disorder programme is due to re-launch in January 2019. The new programme will be an exclusive, standalone, residential offering for all clients, and will be a 28 - 42 day offering. There will be an exciting mix of exposure work, psychotherapy and psycho-education. We will have cutting-edge therapies, delivering innovation that is driven by the latest market research.

In addition, our team is increasing, and is highly trained, skilled, and experienced in delivering residential eating disorder programmes. Historically, outcomes have been good, and the anticipation is that this will be a hugely popular and evolving extended primary treatment programme. 

It can be difficult for people with an eating disorder to acknowledge their problems and seek help, but eating disorders can ruin your physical and mental health and can affect anyone, at any age. It is important to know that you are not alone and that Life Works can help. If you know someone that might be suffering from an eating disorder and would like to talk about it, please call 0800 081 0700 or click here to complete a short enquiry form.

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (BED) and other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), which may also be known as 'atypical' or ‘eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)’, result from physical, emotional, or social issues. Whilst these disorders may be deeply rooted, they can be successfully treated at our specialist eating disorder clinic in Woking.

Types of eating disorder treatments at Life Works in Surrey

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that are characterised by severely disrupted eating behaviours and a preoccupation with weight, appearance and body shape. An individual with an eating disorder may become obsessed with controlling their weight and food intake, causing them to interact with food in harmful ways. Unhealthy eating habits in a person with an eating disorder may include:

  • Limiting the amount of food that they consume
  • Eating large quantities of food in one sitting
  • Removing food from the body using harmful techniques (e.g. induced vomiting, laxative abuse, excessive exercise)

The destructive eating habits associated with eating disorders can be extremely detrimental to an individual’s physical and mental health, and can even result in death.

If you know someone that might be suffering from an eating disorder and would like to talk about it, please call 0800 081 0700 or click here to complete a short enquiry form.


Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by the refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. The diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa are a body mass index (BMI) of 17.5 or below and amenorrhea (absence of the menstrual cycle) for up to three months. Whilst eating disorders affect both sexes, anorexia is more common in girls and young women, although cases in men are on the rise. Despite being uncommon, anorexia has the highest mortality rate amongst eating disorders and is therefore considered to be a very serious condition. Residential anorexia treatment and early detection greatly enhance the chances for successful anorexia recovery.

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Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes those affected to restrict food. This causes sufferers to engage in episodes of excessive eating (binge eating), followed by purging where the sufferer will attempt to rid their bodies of the calories consumed during their over-intake of food. Bulimia is an eating disorder which results in a deep sense of shame and low self-esteem. Sufferers are often highly secretive about this eating disorder and the behaviour that accompanies it. Bulimia treatment is best addressed at a residential treatment centre, where underlying issues can be addressed whilst helping to introduce a healthy relationship with food.

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Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Overeating

Binge eating disorder (BED), also known as ‘compulsive eating disorder’ is often misdiagnosed as obesity. Whilst obesity is a possible symptom, not all obese individuals have BED and often, people in a normal weight range can suffer from this disorder. Essentially, BED is characterised by frequent episodes of binge eating, often in an uncontrolled or frenzied manner, where the sufferer will eat beyond the point of being comfortably full. The emotional effects of this behaviour often include significant feelings of guilt and depression. Treatment for BED works to address the behavioural and emotional mechanisms behind the sufferer’s unhealthy relationship with food.

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OSFED (also known as EDNOS)

Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), which may also be known as 'atypical' or ‘eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)’, refers to behaviours or eating patterns that do not fit into the strict definition of a single eating disorder. This means that sufferers could show signs of several eating disorders or present completely unique symptoms. For example, an OSFED sufferer may rid themselves of food, and therefore the calories they have consumed, through vomiting or using laxatives, however unlike a bulimia sufferer, they do not binge eat. OSFED can be difficult to beat but with the right treatment, anyone can achieve a successful recovery.

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Causes of eating disorders

In a similar way to most mental health conditions, research suggests that there are a number of potential contributors to an individual developing an eating disorder. These potential causes include gender, genetics, biology, psychological health and wider environmental and social factors.


Eating disorder statistics demonstrate that females are more susceptible than males to developing an unhealthy relationship with food. However, it is still important to acknowledge that eating disorders have the potential to develop in anyone, of any gender, and are becoming increasingly prevalent amongst men and boys. Recent estimates suggest that there are approximately 1.6 million people in the UK who are currently suffering from an eating disorder, with approximately 25% of these being male.


It has been found that having a close relative such as a sibling or a parent who suffers from an eating disorder, makes it more likely that you will go on to develop an eating disorder yourself. Research indicates that this may be a combination of inheriting certain genes, as well as being linked to early exposure to unhealthy eating habits, thus normalising the chaotic behaviour associated with eating disorders.


Some research supports the theory that people with eating disorders have different levels of certain chemicals in the brain when compared to people who do not demonstrate unhealthy eating behaviours. Research indicates that these inconsistent levels of chemicals may contribute to the dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviours that are characteristic of an eating disorder.

Psychological health

Research suggests that individuals who suffer from an underlying mental health condition such as addiction, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or low self-esteem, are more susceptible to developing an eating disorder. At Life Works, we are able to treat any of these co-occurring mental health problems, alongside the eating disorder.


There are a wide range of environmental influences that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. These may include receiving criticism for your weight or eating habits, having a stressful school or work life or experiencing a traumatic life event such as losing a job, the death of someone close to you, or physical, sexual or emotional abuse.


Social factors which may contribute to an individual developing an unhealthy relationship with food, include having hobbies or occupations where being thin is seen as the ideal (such as modelling or athletics), and perceived pressure from the media to be thin (including celebrity airbrushing and pro anorexia and bulimia websites).

Contact us

Life Works provides first rate support and guidance in the treatment of eating disorders. To discuss how we can help you, please call 0800 081 0700 or click here to complete a short enquiry form.


0800 081 0700

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