Eating disorders

Hypnotherapy for Eating Disorder – Anorexia Bulimia SED ARFID, Food Addiction Binge Eating Disorder such as Anorexia Bulimia or Binge Eating Disorder or Food Addiction treated with Hypnosis and NLP in Ipswich Suffolk

Hypnosis for Anorexia and Bulimia, BDD, ARFID or SED, Binge or Addictive Eating, and other eating disorders

I am Graham Howes a Hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner and I work with Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Bulimia, Anorexia, BDD, Body Dysmorphia, ARFID, SED, GAD, Stress, Insomnia, Trauma and Weight Loss/Gain, amongst many other things, to help you to learn strategies to diminish, and even eradicate, the issues that are holding back your success.

FREE CONSULTATION: Text 07875720623 or Call 01473879561


For more on Body Dysmorphic Disorder click here


Many people feel that Anorexia and Bulimia or Binge Eating  Disorder or ARFID and other eating disorders cannot be treated. Sometimes medical thresholds using BMI as a deciding factor as to whether treatment is given or withheld is not helpful to those who feel stuck in a vicious cycle.

Hypnosis and NLP are gentle treatments that help change the mindset with regard to appetite and eating and establish different strategies.

We try to understand where the eating disorder originates and “change the script” with Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming.

I work with clients in a supportive and holistic way to address all the issues surrounding the disorder and find new ways forward.

Tel: 01473 879561 Mob: 07875720623



“Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour.”

NHS website

People with an eating disorder might focus excessively on their weight and shape, which could lead to unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health.

Types of eating disorders

Eating disorders include a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially. The most common eating disorders are:

  • anorexia nervosa – when someone tries to keep their weight as low as possible, for example by starving themselves or exercising excessively
  • bulimia – when someone tries to control their weight by binge eating and then deliberately being sick or using laxatives (medication to help empty their bowels)
  • binge eating – when someone feels compelled to overeat / “addicted” to certain foods like sweets
  • ARFID Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorde also known as SED or Selective Eating Disorder
  • BDD or Body Dysmorphic Disorder BDD – see the webpage on BDD

Some people, particularly young people, may be diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). This is means you have some, but not all, of the typical signs of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

Food Addiction:

In our very stressful world we sometimes self medicate with food or comfort eat when we are stressed, bored, or anxious. The short term snack which is often high in fat sugar or salt which gives us a feeling of comfort. This comfort rapidly wears off so we can feel the need to repeat the comfortable experience. Before we know it the family sized chocolate bar / crisps / cake / ice cream are eaten. Then we feel guilty: “WHY did I do that!?”

I had one client with a badly organised boss who would seemingly pop his head around the door every 30 minutes or so with a: “This needs to be done NOW!!!” The trouble was there were already about 5 things with “absolute priority.” My client had her secret weapon – her Curly Wurly drawer and she would reach for her favourite sweet to “give her energy” and “get her through.” 

She was now almost 30 stone.

We worked on how to deal with the stress. I half jokingly suggested she send her boss fo a session on prioritising. We looked at how to NOT use a sugary fatty chocolate snack as self medication. We dealt with underlying anxiety. I persuaded her to have n honest conversation with her boss.

We realised that otherwise she was on track for possible type 2 diabetes as well as possible osteoarthritis and cardiac problems. The RDA fo sugar is six teaspoons per DAY. Her Curly Wurly had NINE teaspoons of sugar in just one bar!

Another client was “addicted” to jelly babies and we tried to find the source of this “addiction”. Actually it was a similar habitual response to the above. We uncovered through hypnosis a long forgotten incident when her parents were gong through a tough time and she picked up on their anxiety aged 8 and got very anxious and weepy.

She recalled her Mother leaning over her in a red gingham frock. She was 8 years old and sitting in the garden in the sun. Her Mother gave her a huge bag of jelly babies and said: ” Never mind darling .. you eat these jelly babies any time you feel anxious and you’ll feel a whole lot better!”

I suggested that she was no longer 8 years old and didn’t need to make that choice now.  I also gave her some practical suggestions to streamline her Barrister’s practice. 

She got back to me a year later saying:

“I have FINALLY reached target weight and size. But that is almost a side issue now, as my business is flourishing, and I feel a great deal happier. Clients are using my services because they know that I get things done.

Many Thanks

Ms MJ”

Causes of eating disorders

Eating disorders are often blamed on the social pressure to be thin, as young people in particular feel they should look a certain way. The Media and Fashion are often blamed for this distortion of self image. However, the causes are usually more complex.

There may be some biological or influencing factors, combined with an experience that may provoke the disorder, plus other factors that encourage the condition to continue.

Risk factors that can make someone more likely to have an eating disorder include:

  • having a family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse
  • being criticised for their eating habits, body shape or weight
  • being overly concerned with being slim, particularly if combined with pressure to be slim from society or for a job (for example ballet dancers, models or athletes)
  • certain characteristics, for example, having an obsessive personality, an anxiety disorder, low self-esteem or being a perfectionist
  • particular experiences, such as sexual or emotional abuse or the death of someone special
  • difficult relationships with family members or friends
  • stressful situations, for example problems at work, school or university
  • Having a traumatic incident while eating – such as choking or vomiting

Do I have an eating disorder?

Doctors sometimes use a questionnaire called the SCOFF questionnaire to help recognise people who may have an eating disorder. This involves asking the following five questions:

  • Sick: Do you ever make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
  • Control: Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
  • One stone: Have you recently lost more than one stone (six kilograms) in a three-month period?
  • Fat: Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
  • Food: Would you say that food dominates your life?

If you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may have an eating disorder.

Spotting an eating disorder in others

It can often be very difficult to realise that a loved one or friend has developed an eating disorder.

Warning signs to look out for include:

  • missing meals
  • complaining of being fat, even though they have a normal weight or are underweight
  • repeatedly weighing themselves and looking at themselves in the mirror
  • making repeated claims that they have already eaten, or they will shortly be going out to eat somewhere else
  • cooking big or complicated meals for other people, but eating little or none of the food themselves
  • only eating certain low-calorie foods in your presence, such as lettuce or celery
  • feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places, such as a restaurant
  • the use of “pro-anorexia” websites

If you are concerned about a friend or family member, it can be difficult to know what to do. It is common for someone with an eating disorder to be secretive and defensive about their eating and their weight, and they are likely to deny being unwell.

Who is affected by eating disorders?

Although eating disorders tend to be more common in certain age groups, it is not uncommon for eating disorders to affect people of any age.

Around one in 250 women and one in 2,000 men will experience anorexia nervosa at some point. The condition usually develops around the age of 16 or 17.

Bulimia is around five times more common than anorexia nervosa and 90% of people with bulimia are female. It usually develops around the age of 18 or 19.

Binge eating usually affects males and females equally and usually appears later in life, between the ages of 30 and 40. Because of the difficulty of precisely defining binge eating, it is not clear how widespread the condition is.


What is ARFID or SED?

ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder or SED – Selective Eating Disorder is a new diagnosis that was introduced with the publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-5) in 2013. Prior to this new category, individuals with ARFID would have been diagnosed as eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) or fall under the diagnosis of feeding disorder of infancy or childhood. It seems to fall under the category of a phobia.

As a result, ARFID, as an eating disorder, is not as well-known as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Even so, it can have serious consequences.
Individuals with ARFID do not eat enough to meet their energy and nutritional needs. However, unlike individuals with anorexia nervosa, people with ARFID more usually do not worry about their weight or shape or becoming fat and do not restrict their diet for this reason. ARFID also does not typically emerge after a history of more normal eating as do anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Individuals with ARFID usually have had restrictive eating all along.
To meet criteria for ARFID, the food restriction cannot be explained by lack of food, a culturally sanctioned practice (such as a religious reason for dietary restriction), or another medical problem that if treated would solve the eating problem.

Furthermore it must lead to one of the following:

Significant weight loss (or failure to make expected weight gain in children)
Significant nutritional deficiency

Dependence on tube feeding or oral nutritional supplements

Difficulty engaging in daily life due to shame, anxiety or inconvenience

Who Gets SED / ARFID?

We do not have good data about prevalence rates of ARFID. It is relatively more common in children and young adolescents, and less common in older adolescents and adults. Nonetheless it does occur throughout the lifespan and affects all genders. Onset is most often during childhood. Most adults with ARFID seem to have had similar symptoms since childhood. If ARFID onset is in adolescence or adulthood, it most often involves a negative food-related experience such as choking or vomiting.

One large study (Fisher et al., 2014) found that 14 percent of all new eating disorder patients who presented to seven adolescent-medicine eating disorder programs met criteria for ARFID. According to this study, the population of children and adolescents with ARFID is often younger, has a longer duration of illness prior to diagnosis, and includes a greater number of males than the population of patients with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Patients with ARFID on average have a lower body weight and therefore are at a similar risk for medical complications as patients with anorexia nervosa.

Patients with ARFID are more likely than patients with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa to have a medical condition or symptom. Fitzpatrick and colleagues note that ARFID patients are more frequently referred from gastroenterology than patients with other eating disorders are. They are also likely to have an anxiety disorder, or phobic response to some foods, but less likely than those with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa to have depression. Children presenting with ARFID often report a high number of worries, similar to those found in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). They also commonly express more concerns around physical symptoms related to eating, such as an upset stomach.
Types of SED or ARFID
DSM-5 gives some examples of different types of avoidance or restriction that may be present in ARFID. These include restriction related to an apparent lack of interest in eating or food; sensory-based avoidance of food (e.g., the individual rejects certain foods based on smell, colour, or texture); and avoidance related to feared consequences of eating such as choking or vomiting, often based on past negative experience.

Fisher and colleagues suggested six different types of ARFID or SED presentation with the following prevalence rates among their sample:

Picky eating since childhood (28.7 percent)

Having generalised anxiety disorder (21.4 percent)

Having gastrointestinal symptoms (19.4 percent)

Fears of eating due to fears of choking or vomiting (13.1 percent)

Having food allergies (4.1 percent)

Restrictive eating for “other reasons” (13.2 percent)

Dr. Bermudez proposed five different categories of ARFID:

Avoidant individuals refuse food based on negative or fear-based experiences such as choking, nausea, vomiting, pain, or swallowing.

Aversive individuals accept only limited foods based on sensory features. They may have a sensory processing disorder.

Restrictive individuals are those who do not eat enough and show little interest in eating. They may be picky, distractible and forgetful, and wish they would eat more.

Mixed type includes features of more than one of avoidant, aversive, and restrictive types. The individual usually presents with features of one category first but then acquires additional features from another type.

ARFID “Plus” individuals present with one of the ARFID types initially, but then start to develop features of anorexia nervosa such as weight and shape concern, negative body image, or avoidance of more calorically dense foods. 

SOURCE: Very Well Mind

I use strategies for overcoming anxiety as well as treatment for a phobic response and hypnotic suggestions to increase the range of food intake. This is entirely permissive and is tailored to each individual. 

Treating eating disorders

If it is not treated, an eating disorder can have a negative impact on someone’s job or schoolwork, and can disrupt relationships with family members and friends. The physical effects of an eating disorder can sometimes be fatal.

Treatment for eating disorders is available, although recovering from an eating disorder can take a long time. It is important for the person affected to want to get better, and the support of family and friends is invaluable.

Talk to me for free and I will tell you my approach with Hypnotherapy and NLP:

Telephone or text me on: 07875720623 for a FREE consultation or email me:

Graham Howes Hypnotherapist in Suffolk and Essex – Hypnosis for eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia – Treatment for Anorexia and Bulimia ARDID SED BDD and Binge Eating Disorder or Food Addiction

Hypnotherapy for Eating Disorders in Lacey Street Ipswich Suffolk 

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