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About Eating Disorders

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are mental illnesses with a genetic base. They are activated by anything that causes a caloric deficit or negative energy imbalance. Common triggers or activators are dieting or exercising in an excessive way so that an energy deficit is caused eating disorders are not a choice. They are an illness that can affect any person, from any culture, of any gender, at any age.

If left untreated eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder

Why is a person with an eating disorder scared of food?

Because the eating disorder has affected the part of their brain that generates the fight or flight response and made it fire when they are about to eat food. Stress and irritability are symptom of malnutrition. When the sufferer is weight restored they should become less stressed.

A person suffering from an eating disorder experiences great anxiety and fear around eating food. They often need support in order to get through a meal due to the level of anxiety that they are dealing with. Some sufferers also experience physical symptoms of stress such as elevated heart rate, cold sweats, hot and cold flushes, itchy skin, headaches.

What is the best treatment for eating disorders?

At ADERA we believe that Family-Based Treatment (FBT) has the most evidence of positive outcomes of all types of treatment. 

FBT involves meal support at home so that the sufferer has someone with them to help them eat and stop the eating disorder behaviours.

FBT was initially used to treat only children and teenagers with eating disorders, but it can be used to successfully treat adults. Regardless of the age of the sufferer, they need to eat in order to overcome the physical, mental, and behavioral effects of the eating disorder. Food is vital for recovery, and therefore adults also need meal support in order to recover if they cannot eat well enough alone. Adults can be put through FBT by an adult parent, family member, friend or partner. This meal support service is designed to help adults who are in recovery alone, or do not have somebody able to be with them at every mealtime.

 

About AEDRA Meal Support

What does an AEDRA Meal Support Coach offer?

  • Offers compassionate, consistent, mealtime encouragement and support for a person with an eating disorder.

  • Stays calm and confident when providing Meal Support for a person with an eating disorder.

  • Offers support without judgement for any person trying to eat.

 

What doesn’t an AEDRA Meal Support Coach offer?

  • Meal Support Coaches do not offer nutritional advice

  • Meal Support Coaches may not promote goods or services

  • Meal Support Coaches never offer opinions on diets or exercise routines

  • Meal Support Coaches do not offer therapy, relationship advice, medical advice, or indeed anything else that could be considered counsel

  • Meal Support Coaches do not give opinions on the meal plan that the client is following, they only encourage the client to eat

Why is meal support needed alongside professional treatment?

If a person is receiving professional treatment from an eating disorder, they are likely to also still need meal support. This is because most therapy sessions are once a week, and dietician sessions even less frequent. As the sufferer needs to eat six times a day in order to weight restore, they cannot have their therapist with them for every meal.

Additionally, very few therapists offer mealtime support at all. While they may be able to offer support for anxiety, they are not able to physically help patients with the process of eating. Dietitians also can set meal plans, but the sufferer is then left alone to try and work out how to actually eat.

If people with eating disorders had no trouble eating, then they would not need treatment in the first place. An eating disorder creates fear and anxiety around the process of eating food, so it stands to reason that what a sufferer needs most is help at mealtimes.

Is AEDRA Meal Support an alternative to eating disorder treatment?

No. Absolutely not. And we are not therapists. We do not offer therapy or nutritional advice. We offer meal support to complement the meal plan that a sufferer may be working with as provided by a registered dietician. We offer meal support to complement the therapy as given by a registered eating disorder specialist.

How do I learn more about becoming a Meal Support Coach?

Please see here for details.