Compulsive Eating Disorders

Our Understanding of Compulsive Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders (EDs) are on the increase and represent a serious problem with significant, life-threatening medical and psychological effects.

Anorexia Nervosa, in particular, has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder. The risk of premature death is 6-12 times higher in women with an eating disorder as compared to the general population, adjusting for age.

Early recognition and timely intervention, is the ideal when seeking to resolve this concern. Outpatient treatment where possible, and a strong relationship between professionals, patients and their family members is essential to a good outcome. At The OCD Clinics® we strive to provide clinical interventions that will create a truly collaborative treatment experience for both patients and practitioners.

A Brief Strategic Explanation of Eating Disorders

Treatment at Our Clinics we have an 85% success rate with treating these Eating Disorders.

Our treatment usually occurs over a number of months and patients are normally seen on a fortnightly basis. Treatment can involve the individual or their family members where necessary.

Types of Eating Disorders Treated at The OCD Clinic®

  • Bulimia
  • Binge Eating
  • Vomiting Syndrome
  • Self-harm
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorder


Literally meaning “the hunger of an ox”, Bulimia is characterized by the consumption of large quantities of food, resulting in an exponential increase in body weight. Bulimic patients are usually extremely sensitive people and are often emotionally fragile. They often have difficulties in controlling their reactions to many situations.

These patients often binge eat and really enjoy it. They generally live in constant fear of losing control. These are not abstinent patients like anorexics but are avoidant of the food cravings. Food is initially enjoyable experience and can become a refuge at times when life feels unmanageable. Binge eating becomes a way of managing this sense.

Our Unique Perspective

Our treatment is extremely effective in the rapid solution of Bulimia. No other model discriminates from differing types of Bulimia. Our research has revealed 3 differing types and this has real implications for the types of scientific intervention used with the distinct typologies.

These patients often binge eat and really enjoy it. They generally live in constant fear of losing control. These are not abstinent patients like anorexics but are avoidant of the food cravings. Food is initially enjoyable experience and can become a refuge at times when life feels unmanageable. Binge eating becomes a way of managing this sense.

3 Current Types We Observe

  1. Those who eat endlessly without any real binges;
  2. Those who alternate periods of binge eating with periods of successful dieting resulting in weight loss and subsequent weight gain;
  3. Those who use food as compensation for deficiencies or as protection from relationships that do not feel able to support.

By understanding the different types of this disorder it has assisted us in creating even more specific and targeted treatments.

Binge Eating

A Strategic Description: Known as binge eating disorder, described by the clinical literature as a disorder characterized by binge eating without vomiting, from our perspective, it differs from bulimia because of the alternation of long periods of fasting with periods of uncontrolled binge eating.

The patient’s main solution is to begin to fast, in fact, this solution only exists because of their fear of their binging and it is paradoxically these long periods of fasting that lead to the long binging phases. In some cases, they can resort to cosmetic surgery even if they are a few kilos overweight, which often lays the grounds for body dysmorphic disorder.

Binge Eating

This disorder does not exist as a well-defined syndrome in current literature but it is seen as a symptom that may be present with anorexia or bulimia. However with thousands of cases treated we have found that this behaviour is distinguished and completely different from the other disorders.

By vomiting in order to have more control over their weight or because of the guilt resulting from binging these patients reach a certain point from which onwards they do it for the sheer pleasure of it. Eating in order to vomit becomes a real ritual based on pleasure.

We have several different types, which will affect our treatment strategy

3 Current Types:

  • Patients who take pleasure in their ritual and who do not want to do without it;
  • Those who take pleasure in it and want to stop but can’t;
  • Others that vomit and do not yet realize it is a real problem (usually in the younger age category)

Success is Key

In the past 25 years our model for treating these forms of Eating Disorders has evolved and become even more effective and efficient.

With over 30 books written and published in over 10 languages, this model now represents a truly unique and novel form of treatment for psychological problems. With a 83% success rate in treating Eating Disorders (Castlenuovo et al., 2020, Gibson and Casltenuovo; 2019; Ray and Nardone 2007).

One Helpful set of Questions for General Practitioners is the SCOFF Questionnaire:

  • Do you make yourself SICK because you feel uncomfortably full?
  • Do you worry that you have lost CONTROL over how much you eat?
  • Have you recently lost more than ONE stone (within 3 months)?
  • Do you believe yourself to be FAT when others say you are too thin?
  • Would you say that FOOD dominates your life?

One point for every yes, score 2 or more then high index of probability (Morgan Reid Lacey: British Medical Journal 1999).


Self-harm is common and regularly exists alongside many eating disorders. This problem can be based on pleasure or on pain. We make sure that we deal with self-harm effectively, either independent of or in conjunction with, the treatment for eating disorders.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphophobia also known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) could also be called feared ‘ugliness’ disorder. It is an obsessive disorder whereby a person is preoccupied with a perceived defect in their physical appearance and they usually do a number of things like:

  • Checking how they look
  • Seeking reassurance about their looks
  • Picking their skin to make it ‘feel’ smooth or just right
  • Repeatedly grooming of hair, eyebrows or make-up to ‘feel’ just right
  • Avoiding mirrors to avoid being triggered by their reflection

International Gold Standard Clinical Treatment

One of the reasons that we have been so successful in developing a Gold Standard treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is because of our study, not only of the logic and mental processes that take place in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but because we looked at the logic and structure and the purpose behind each of the different types of ritual a person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder might carry out.

The rituals themselves have a very specific structure and essentially have their own motivation. For example, some rituals we have observed are done to repair something that has already happened in the past (Reparative Ritual), and others are done to prevent something from happening in the future, such as hand washing or the prevention of contamination (Preventative Rituals) others can be done to ensure that everything continues going well, rituals that carried out by football players, entertainers and student s etc., these we call (Propitiatory Rituals).

While this may seem trivial to the non-specialists in our field, it is of utmost importance to us, because if we can identify the underlying logic for the ritual we can make our work much more scientific and far more focused.

Have Any Questions or Queries?

We will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have. Please visit our contact page for full details on how to get in touch with us.