Disordered Eating/ Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Artwork courtesy of Leigh Wells

Disordered eating  and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a growing, and often silent, mental health epidemic in modern society. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and BDD can have numerous combinations of signs, symptoms and causes. Many people who suffer will show no outward signs, but still experience overwhelming internal feelings that prompt them to rely on negative strategies to control intense pain, anxiety or other troubling emotions.

These may include self harm,substance mis-use,binge purging,excessive exercise, obsession with flaws whether real or imagined and social isolation.

Often the internal dialogue is like a 24/7 critical bully  wth fixations and obsession with the perceived body flaw. This internal voice is incredibly resistant to any information to the contrary even in the case of professional or medical advice.

Therapy focuses on providing you with tools to manage the sometimes overwhelming emotions while learning skills to “turn the mind” and regain a sense of mental peace by using DBT .

Myths About Eating Disorders/BDD:

  • Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice – They are a serious mental illness, with dangerous effects on physical health if left untreated. 1 in 5 eating disorder sufferers die prematurely.
  • Eating disorders are caused by fashion models – Research is discovering their causes, which include the interaction between genetic factors, personality types, life events and societies’ pressures
  • Eating disorders are just about being thin – You can’t tell if someone has an eating disorder by their shape and size alone. The real pain of an eating disorder is on the inside, not the outside.
  • Eating disorders are a modern illness – They were first recorded in the 1860’s. The pressure and pace of modern life and the increased role of the media in spreading global cultural ideas can help explain their increase.
  • Eating disorders can’t be beaten – With the appropriate help, treatment and support it is possible to make a full recovery. The sooner they get help, the better.
  • Eating disorders are a rich girls’ problem. They occur across a wide range of socio-economic groups and cultures. Anyone can develop an eating disorder.
  • Eating disorders are a phase of adolescence or an expression of vanity.
  • Eating disorders are the families fault – Eating disorders /BDDcan happen in any family.
  • BDD is about vanity- BDD is a significant anxiety disorder with a obsessive fixation on physical appearance
  • BDD doesn’t really impact people- BDD can negatively impact all major areas of daily living with a significant suicide risk.

Tools and resources

Mood Diary

Anxiety Nz


For over 15 years I have worked specifically with eating disordered individuals and families to help them find a way back to health and lifelong recovery from this crippling mental health problem.You can learn to be mindful of feelings like anxiety, fear or shame, and to experience them in ways that won’t compromise the joy in your life. By addressing the person as a whole and acknowledging that co-existing disorders often accompany/contribute to the disordered eating, you can discover the full joy life has to offer.

Please feel free to contact Caroline for a free phone  consultation if you would like assistant in this area.

17 thoughts on “Disordered Eating/ Body Dysmorphic Disorder

  1. First off I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that
    I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself
    and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?
    Many thanks!


    • Hello
      and thank you for the lovely comment!
      I tend to begin with an idea and over a week I research and put any thoughts I have on paper and pin them to my wall.
      Then I focus on what the main “idea” I want to get across but more importantly the “feeling” i want to express, whether hope, joy etc and go from there.

      The beginning is usually really awkward so I go back at the end an d re do it or I begin with a quote or personal story to warm up the writing.
      Hope that helps and happy writing

      Caroline 🙂


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