Eating Disorder Treatment Gold Coast

Eating Disorder Treatment Gold Coast

Approximately one million Australians are living with an eating disorder – that’s 4% of the entire population! Further, 31.6% of Australian adolescents engage in disordered eating behaviours in any given year.

Eating disorders are complex, serious, and have the potential to be a life-threatening mental illness. They are characterised by disturbances in thoughts, behaviours, and attitudes towards eating, food and body weight or shape. Eating disorders are about more than food, they are complex mental health conditions that require a little assistance from medical and psychological experts to help alter their course.



Eating disorders are classified into different types, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM – 5). Classifications are made based on the presenting symptoms and how often these occur, and include:

  • Binge eating disorder (BED) – a lack of control with food consumption. Commonly, will eat a large amount of food within a relatively short period of time – feeling like they are unable to stop themselves. A person with BED will turn to food as an emotional crutch, however, the aftermath often evokes feelings of guilt and shame.


  • Bulimia nervosa – recurrent episodes of binge eating, followed by compensatory behaviours, such as vomiting, laxatives or excessive exercise to prevent weight gain.


  • Anorexia nervosa – significant weight loss due to food restriction and starvation coupled with an intense fear of gaining weight.


  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) –  an avoidance or aversion to food and eating. The restriction is not due to a body image disturbance, but a result of anxiety or phobia of food and/or eating, a heightened sensitivity to sensory aspects of food such as texture, taste or smell, or a lack of interest in food/eating secondary to low appetite.


  • Pica – eating of non-nutritive, non-food substance on a persistent basis (may include substances such as paper, soap, cloth, hair, string, wool, soil, chalk and talcum powder.


  • Rumination disorder – involves the regurgitation of food, which may be re-chewed, re-swallowed or spit out.


  • Unspecified feeding or eating disorder (UFED) – a person with Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder experiences symptoms which are characteristic of a feeding and eating disorder, causing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. They do not however meet the full criteria for any of the disorders in the feeding and eating disorders diagnostic class.


  • Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED) – a person with OSFED will not meet the full criteria for another eating disorder but will commonly present with similar symptoms such as disturbed eating habits, and/or a distorted body image and/or overvaluation of shape and weight and/or an intense fear of gaining weight.



Eating disorders do not have a single, identifiable cause and can affect people of any weight, size, shape, age, sexuality, gender, cultural background, or socioeconomic group. Some of the common signs someone may be experiencing an eating disorder may include (but are not limited to):

  • Increased preoccupation with body shape, weight and appearance
  • Extreme body dissatisfaction/ negative body image
  • Over fixation with food, calories, dieting and weight
  • Dramatic fluctuations in weight
  • Excessive exercise
  • Excuses to avoid mealtime or meal-time anxiety
  • Intense fear of being “fat” or gaining any weight
  • Concern or refusal to eat in public
  • Vomiting or using laxatives to rid the body of food
  • Denying feeling hungry
  • Limiting and restricting food groups, and amount
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased sensitivity to cold weather
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate

A preoccupation with weight and food makes it difficult to focus on other parts of life.



Eating disorder treatment is tailored to each individual person, and their unique experiences and behaviours. Treatment can be a combination of multiple therapies. The most common treatment involves talk therapy.

Seeking treatment early for eating disorders is crucial. This is due to the medical complications that can develop, rapid decline in quality of life and the high risk of suicide.

Some of the treatment options include:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E)

A type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be recommended to help reduce or eliminate disordered behaviour. This includes binge eating, purging (vomiting or using laxatives to rid the body of food), and restricting. CBT can identify distorted or unhelpful patterns, and work toward recognising and changing these. CBT has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of eating disorders. Further psychology treatment can include, Interpersonal Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Family-Based Therapy FBT/Maudsley Method (for adolescents) and Group Therapy.

Nutritional Counselling

This involved consulting a nutritionist or dietician as an important part of your multi-disciplinary treatment approach. These specialists can help teach you proper nutrition and eating habits. Further, may also involve managing or restoring a person’s weight. They can provide education about nutritional needs and meal planning. Studies support that nutritional therapy, in addition to CBT therapy can improve treatment outcomes. These specialists can help you develop normal and healthy eating habits and behaviours.

Medical Intervention

As there are a multitude of physical health issues caused by abnormal eating, it is recommended that you have regular check-ups and monitoring by your doctor. This includes regular monitoring of your heart rate, blood pressure and blood tests to monitor your potassium and mineral levels, and various bodily functions.


As a continuation of the last treatment, a GP may recommend treatment with medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers or antipsychotics, to help treat. However, this is a conversation to have with your GP, as these would be used to treat conditions that occur at the same time, such as depression or anxiety. Medications can be prescribed by psychiatrists or by medical doctors and should be used in conjunction with other treatments.

It is normal to feel nervous about starting therapy, or anxious about the effects of treatment. However, treatment will aim to give you control over your eating rather than your eating controlling your life. Your psychologist will explain your eating disorder, what is involved with your treatment, what is expected of you, and answer any questions you may have.



Is your eating disorder starting to control you? With the right professional, social and emotional support, a person with an eating disorder can recover. Ready to take the first step to improve your life and reach your goals?

CBT Professionals is proud to offer eating disorder treatment with our returning clinician Hayley Tomaino! Hayley is a highly knowledgeable and passionate Psychologist, working out of our Nerang clinic. She has been a registered psychologist for over 10 years and has worked in a variety of settings including primary and secondary education, health, and disability and in private practice.

Hayley specialises in Eating Disorder Treatment and is dedicated to providing a supportive and compassionate space when assisting her clients! She will provide you the tools and education to address your symptoms through person-centred and stepped care.

Contact us now via telephone or online enquiry via to book an appointment with Hayley and take that first step in seeking treatment!

Nerang – (07) 5668 3490

Persons with a diagnosed eating disorder can now access up to 40 sessions with a psychologist and up to 20 sessions with a dietitian for the treatment of their eating disorder.

If you are in crisis and need urgent counselling, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours), the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (24 hours), or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 (24 hours). If this is an emergency, please contact 000 or visit your local emergency department.



Sparti C, Santomauro D, Cruwys T, Burgess P, Harris M. Disordered eating among Australian adolescents: prevalence, functioning, and help received. Int J Eat Disord. 2019;52(3):246-54.

Petre, A. (2022). 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms). HealthLine.

Chen, R. (2019). CBT Treatment of Eating Disorders. CBT Professionals.

Disclaimer: Firstly, content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advise from your doctor or registered health professional. Lastly, readers are urged to consult their registered practitioner for diagnosis and treatment for their medical concerns.


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