Hollywood Private Hospital launches WA’s first comprehensive binge eating program
Oct 02, 2018
A new comprehensive binge eating disorder program, which is the first of its kind in Western Australia, is being introduced at Hollywood Private Hospital (HPH) following a successful pilot earlier this year.
The nine week intensive program provides a supported therapeutic environment for people suffering from binge eating disorder, which affects about 430,000 Australians making it the most common eating disorder in the country.
A leading eating disorder expert based at HPH, Dr Vash Singh, said binge eating disorder was characterised by repeated episodes of consuming large amounts of food causing the person to feel out of control and experience a strong sense of shame and guilt.
“Binge eating disorder is often accompanied by eating rapidly and until uncomfortably full, eating in the absence of physical hunger and alone or in secret,” Dr Singh said.
Dr Singh said the disorder, which unlike anorexia and bulimia affected a more equal balance of men and women, often caused weight gain and was very difficult to diagnose – partly because of the stigma and partly due to lack of awareness.
“People often don’t speak out because of associated feelings of shame and guilt,” Dr Singh said.
“Doctors need to be mindful of the signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder and if a patient presents with mood symptoms or is seeking advice on weight loss, they should screen for the disorder.”
The three phrased program is comprised of:
• an inpatient stay aimed at breaking the cycle of binge eating and reintroducing regular eating routines in a therapeutic environment
• twice weekly evening group therapy sessions for one month
• weekly evening group sessions for one month.
During the inpatient stay, participants are offered one-on-one sessions with a team of eating disorder professionals, including the psychiatrist, psychologist and also a dietitian, who helps develop meal plans tailored to their specific needs along with daily relaxation exercises to complement the group psychotherapy program.
“Participants will also be managed for any associated medical or psychiatric problems, which are common in people with binge eating disorder,” Dr Singh said.
“The outpatient component of the program, run over eight weeks, offers cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy to assist in managing difficult thoughts and feelings.
“This also helps participants to identify the triggers of their unhelpful eating behaviour, as well as the factors that maintain the problem.
“Participants are taught about the role of different nutrients in the body and how to make food choices that will support long term recovery,” Dr Singh said.
Dr Singh said the program was also aimed at improving general wellbeing, such as self-worth, goal setting and body image.