Anorexia Treatment in Surrey

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that causes sufferers to develop an overwhelming obsession with being as thin as possible. People with anorexia typically have an irrational fear of gaining weight, and a hugely distorted body image (making them believe that they are fat), which results in them engaging in harmful behaviours such as starving themselves, making themselves vomit after eating, and exercising excessively.  

Anorexia can have hugely detrimental impact on all areas of your life and it can make you feel as though you are in a daily battle with food. You may find yourself counting calories, obsessing over your weight and constantly feeling guilty. Anorexia can also cause a whole host of serious long-term psychological and physical problems and can even result in death.

Whilst anorexia can seem like an insurmountable illness, it is important to understand that this condition is treatable, and you’re not alone. Our expert team of psychiatrists, therapists, a nutritionist and a dietitian are able to deliver evidence-based anorexia treatment, individually tailored according to your unique needs and personal experiences. The goal of anorexia treatment at Life Works is to reduce your irrational thoughts and behaviours, and ultimately, improve your health, wellbeing and quality of life.

At Life Works, we recognise that admitting you have a problem, and seeking help for your anorexia can be daunting. That’s why we offer a free, confidential eating disorder assessment, comprising dietetic, therapeutic and GP input, to assess your current condition and suitability for treatment, answer any questions that you have and help you to develop an understanding of the journey that you will be taking towards recovery.

Seeking help for anorexia is the most crucial step towards recovery and wellbeing. Our beautiful rehab centre offers the perfect place in which to receive expert treatment and our supportive, therapeutic and highly compassionate approach enables you to address your challenges and take steps towards a positive future.

Treatment for anorexia nervosa at Life Works

Treatment for anorexia at Life Works is aimed at looking beyond the basic issue of food intake and addressing some of the emotional issues that underpin the disorder. We will help you to understand the contributing factors of your illness, develop a healthier relationship with food, acquire effective coping strategies and improve your self-esteem.

In addition, because each person is unique and anorexia can manifest differently in different people, all treatment that you receive at Life Works is personalised and takes into account any specific triggers for your unhealthy relationship with food, as well as the impact that the condition is having on both you, and those who are closest to you.

Treatment and counselling for anorexia

Treatment for anorexia at Life Works comprises a wide range of tried and tested approaches. These include:

  • A variety of practical dietetic techniques, designed to help to gradually expose you to the concepts of healthy eating, diet and nutrition. These include:
    • Personalised meal plans
    • Weekly shopping groups
    • Weekly cooking groups
    • Weekly psycho-educational groups, specific to eating disorders
  • A range of therapeutic approaches which are specific to eating disorder clients:
    • The Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA)
    • Body image/acceptance groups
    • Dance and movement groups
    • Understanding emotions workshops
    • Relapse prevention groups
    • Meal and post-meal support, with input from the full multidisciplinary team
  • Other therapeutic interventions which can be used for both eating disorder and addiction clients:
    • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) informed groups
    • Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) informed groups
    • Art informed therapy
    • Shiatsu
    • Mindfulness
    • Drama therapy

We are able to deliver comprehensive anorexia treatment in a number of different formats, including one-to-one therapy, group therapy and family therapy, and offer an array of treatment options ranging from intensive inpatient treatment, through to day care and outpatient treatment. The format and type of treatment that you receive for anorexia at Life Works is tailored according to your unique needs and the intensity of the support that you require. You can read more about these different treatment options on our approach to eating disorder treatment page. In addition, we provide access to Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous (ABA) groups, as well as ongoing aftercare support.

We also offer a high quality family programme to our eating disorder clients. Not only does anorexia have a devastating impact on your own health and wellbeing, but it can also affect those who are closest to you. Family and friends of anorexia sufferers often find it difficult to understand the thought processes and unhealthy behaviours that underpin this disorder, which can lead to intense stress, arguments and other relationship problems. That’s why we’re committed to involving our clients’ loved ones throughout the treatment and recovery process, in order to improve lines of communication and provide education and support to your family in terms of helping you to navigate this destructive illness.

What is anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa causes severe disturbances in an individual’s eating habits and an obsession with body shape and weight. Sufferers also tend to be acutely aware and conscious of how other people perceive their body. Individuals who struggle with anorexia have an unhealthy obsession with being as thin as possible, causing them to develop an all-consuming fear of putting on weight and a distorted body image, with anorexia sufferers often believing that they are fat, despite evidence that contradicts this. In order to keep their weight as low as possible, anorexia sufferers may engage in a range of unhealthy behaviours, including starving themselves and trying to control their weight using harmful methods such as induced vomiting, exercising excessively or abusing laxatives.

Anorexia is most common in young women between the ages of 14 and 25. However, it is important to understand that it is possible for anyone to be diagnosed with anorexia, despite their age, gender or background.

Without timely intervention, anorexia can have a number of severe physical and psychological consequences and an estimated 10% to 20% of anorexia sufferers die from the devastating effects of this disorder. At Life Works, we know that comprehensive anorexia treatment can reduce the symptoms of anorexia and empower you to take steps towards long-term mental and physical wellbeing.

What are the most common symptoms of anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia has a range of symptoms, which can have a profoundly negative effect on your health, wellbeing and quality of life. The most common symptoms of anorexia to look out for include:

  • Controlling your food intake and drastically reducing the amount that you eat and drink
  • Weighing out food portions and obsessively counting calories
  • Having an abnormally low body weight and an unwillingness to gain weight
  • Losing a lot of weight over a short period of time
  • Exercising excessively
  • Making yourself sick after eating
  • Taking laxatives or diuretics (medication that removes fluid from the body)
  • Weighing yourself over and over again
  • Believing that you are fat when other people say that you are thin
  • An obsession with your physical appearance and what other people think of your body
  • Experiencing guilt, shame and extreme stress when you eat
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Anger management issues
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts

More detailed information on the symptoms of anorexia nervosa can be found on our anorexia symptoms page.

Contact us

Life Works provides first rate support and guidance in the treatment of eating disorders. To discuss how we can help you start anorexia recovery, please call 01483 745 066 or click here to complete a short enquiry form.


This page was reviewed by Steve Clarke (FdSc, MSc, NCFED) in March 2019, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in March 2021.