Self Help Books Eating Disorders


What is an eating disorder?

Although being called eating disorders they are not all about food. In fact they are actually a mental illness that affect an individual’s eating behaviour. The disorder is more about an individual’s feelings and relationship with food. A sufferer may limit the amount of food they eat, binge eat large quantities of food and then release the food from the body or a combination of these. As with many illnesses a cure is possible and there are many self help books on eating disorders and I will recommend my top 5.

Types of eating disorder

Most people are aware of the main types of eating disorder:

  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating disorder

Sometimes an individual may be diagnosed with OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder) this just means their diagnosis doesn’t fit into one of the categories mentioned above but can still be a serious disorder.

Eating disorders can be very distressing disorders with very serious health implications. A professional diagnosis and treatment plan is important as early intervention really helps recovery. As mentioned earlier it is possible to be completely cured of an eating disorder with the correct treatment.

Who can get an Eating Disorder?

The short answer is anybody! Although statistics show that young females between 12-20 years old are the most likely to suffer with an eating disorder a person of any age, sex or background can develop an eating disorder. As with any health issue, an eating disorder is not something to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Acknowledging there is a problem is the first step to recovery.

What causes Eating Disorders?

It is proving very hard to pinpoint any one cause of eating disorders. it appears more likely that a combination of factors can influence the chances of suffering. The individuals genetics, environment, psychological and social influences seem to play a part.

How is an Eating Disorder diagnosed?

The first step as with any other health problem is to visit your GP. The GP will talk to you and build up a history of your feelings and behaviour. If your GP feels you may be suffering from an eating disorder they will refer you to a specialist who will be able to prepare a diagnosis and put a treatment plan in place. Other health issues will be taken into account which may be influencing your eating disorder or may be as a result of your eating disorder.

Treatment for Eating Disorders

The treatment you receive will be tailored to you and your diagnosis. However some similar themes may include therapies to change your food behaviour, such as;

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) see my previous post for more information 
  • Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT)
  • Focal psychodynamic therapy (FPT)

Self help is also useful for recovering and below I recommend 5 self help books focused on eating disorders.

My top 5 recommended Self Help books for Eating Disorders

Eating Disorder Recovery Handbook: A Practical Guide to Long-Term Recovery by Dr Nicola Davies and Emma Bacon. Available as Kindle and paperback versions.

This is a great book as not only does it offer self help strategies but offers advice and help for the sufferers support team. Some reviews of the book include;

The topics and self study activities outlined in this book were invaluable in my understanding of myself, my relationship with food, and the real meaning behind my eating disorder. It was a fundamental tool to my recovery. It helped me to see my eating disorder from a different angle and gave me and my family new strategies to overcome it and to see it for what it really was. Author: Sarah Sims, eating disorder survivor

The handbook is a comprehensive and practical tool to help not just the individual suffering with an eating disorder, but also families wanting to offer support.

Anorexia and other Eating Disorders: how to help your child eat well and be well: Practical solutions, compassionate communication tools and emotional support for parents of children and teenagers by Eva Musby. Available as Kindle and paperback formats.

Although originally published in 2014 this is still a great book as it is a n evidence based book. The authors daughter suffered from Anorexia at only ten years old and was hospitalised for a year. It is all of this experience that is brought together by the author to provide practical and emotional support for any parent with a child suffering from an eating disorder.

The Brain over Binge Recovery Guide: A Simple and Personalized Plan for Ending Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder by  Kathryn Hansen and Amy Johnson Ph.D. Available in Kindle and paperback formats.

This book uses the professional inputs from several specialists to provide encouragement and enables binge eaters to make a full recovery. Using neuroscientific principles to aid treatment and recovery this is a follow up book to Brain Over Binge published in 2011. This second book is extremely comprehensive but its use is simple as you only use what’s relevant to you. 

Eating Disorders: The Path to Recovery by Dr Kate Middleton. Available as Kindle or paperback.

Another great book that provides information for those suffering, parents or those interested in learning about eating disorders. The author is able to draw on case studies on which she has worked and includes a chapter specially written for parents.

8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health) by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb. Available in Kindle, paperback, audio book and audio CD formats.

The authors write from personal experience, outlining the whole process from diagnosis to cure. Written with compassion and covering some of the emotions attached to eating disorders such as guilt, fear and shame. I believe reading this book will give you the motivation required to seek help and start your road to recovery.

Thank you for reading

I hope you have found this article useful. Please leave your comments below and if you have any suggestions that may help anybody suffering from an eating disorder I would love to hear them.

If you click on the books and make a purchase I will receive a small commision, this does not cost you anything and does not affect my choice of books.



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