Eating Disorders

I recently read a newspaper article about a girl in Yorkshire, England who had only eaten Yorkshire puddings (a baked pudding made from batter that’s similar to the American Popover) for seven years. If she tried to eat other foods they would make her feel physically sick and gag.  Interestingly, this eating disorder was overcome with the use of Hypnotherapy. So, I thought I would talk a bit about Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) and how Hypnotherapy can help.

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, also known as selective eating disorder, is a condition where individuals avoid certain foods or food groups, or restrict their diet to a limited number of foods. This is more than picky eating or liking odd foods which is quite common especially in children. Also, unlike some restrictive eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, it does not relate to body image concerns.

The exact causes of ARFID remain unclear, but past trauma, excessive sensory sensitivity and a fear of negative consequences related to food (such as choking) all are thought to contribute. It’s more common in children, although it can affect anyone of any age, including babies. Also, those on the autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, and intellectual disabilities seem more likely to develop it.

It’s important for all of us, and especially children, that we eat a well-balanced diet. The health effects of ARFID can include inadequate weight, poor growth, electrolyte abnormalities, and delays in physical and mental development.

Those with this disorder can respond very well to hypnosis and counselling directed at the underlying cause of their eating issues. A good place to start is to explore the original trigger / trauma, if possible. The hypnotherapy regression technique is very effective at this. Hypnotherapy can also be used to reimagining / reframe the event that triggered their issues with food. Hypnotherapy can also be used to change the perception of food including the taste or texture if this is also a factor.

The support of the wider family and especially the parents is also important. And Olivia Newton-John (British and Australian singer and actress) put this very well when she said, “Eating disorders are usually nothing to do with food. Parents need to be with their child to see them through it. All the therapists in the world can’t help if the parents aren’t present, loving, and proactive”.

So, if you or someone you know has issues with food then Hypnotherapy can help. Contact me for more information.

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