Continued from previous page.

The Eating Disorders Programme from the Department of Psychiatry at Singapore General Hospital​ (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​​ group, shares how eating disorders can be treated and coping tips.​

Holistic approach to treating eating disorders

The most effective and long-lasting treatment for an eating disorder is some form of psychotherapy or counselling, coupled with careful attention to medical and nutritional needs.

The team would consist of licenced health professionals including but not limited to a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, nutritionist, and/or primary care physician.

Ideally, this treatment should be tailored to the individual and will vary according to both the severity of the disorder and the patient’s individual problems, needs, and strengths.

Treatment will include either all of or a few of the following:

Inpatient care

Inpatient care is necessary when an eating disorder has led to physical problems that may be life-threatening or when an eating disorder has reached a level of severe psychological or behavioral problems.

Weight restoration

This improves the patient's health, mood and cognitive functioning.


Medication relieves depression and anxiety in the individual.


  1. Individual counselling helps the patient develop healthy ways of taking control of one’s life. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven effective in treating bulimia and binge eating disorder. The counselling of choice for anorexia is determined by individual and family circumstances.
  2. Group counselling helps the patient learn how to manage relationships effectively.
  3. Family counselling encourages the patient to change old patterns and create healthier new ones.
  4. Nutrition counselling encourages the patient get rid of food myths and design healthy meals.

Support groups

Support groups break down isolation and alienation. However, support groups by themselves are not sufficient treatment for an eating disorder. To be effective, they must be integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan.

10 Tips to cope with an eating disorder

1. Be kinder to yourself

Do not say things about your body and self that you would not say to a friend.

2. Focus on function rather than form

Focus on what your body can do and how strong and powerful it is instead of how it looks. Appreciate and celebrate all the good things that your body can do: dance, run, walk, and jump.

3. Weigh yourself less

Try not to weigh yourself so frequently, maybe just once a month. Your weight will fluctuate, and weighing daily or more than once a day can only make you obsess about the numbers.

You are worth a lot more than what you weigh. Do not reduce yourself to mere numbers!

4. See your whole body

Regard and see your whole body when you look into the mirror. Do not scrutinise individual parts of your body as any part of your body under scrutiny is like putting it under a microscope; anything under a microscope would be magnified and look huge.

5. Respect and treat your body right

Learn to listen and heed your body and its needs. Treat your body respectfully by eating (healthy balanced eating) and living right (exercise regularly, rest, don’t push and hurt
yourself). Treat your body well and it will serve you well.

6. Try not to compare yourself with others

Everyone is different. Every body is different and unique. Try and focus on how unique you are and even consider yourself as a limited edition!

7. Embrace and accept your body

Accepting your body is about understanding your body type and shaping to be the best that you can be. It does not mean that you should not care and give up on your body. What you want to focus on is health and wellness and not try to be that size zero.

8. Dress for success

Wear clothes that fit your body. A well-structured and wellfitted outfit can do wonders for your body shape. Avoid wearing oversized or baggy clothes as it can make you bigger than what you really are. If you are having a ”fat” day, instead of wearing a black baggy outfit, why not put on one of your favourite outfits; the one that everyone says you look fantastic in?

9. Let your inner beauty shine

Nurture your inner beauty too - your personality, your intelligence, your wit, your humour.

10. Create a positive list (about yourself)

Write a list of what you do like about yourself and your body. Don't ignore even the smallest parts like your nails, eye lashes and fingers. 

For more information and tips, download a FREE copy of the "Treating Eating Disorders: The SGH Experience" booklet.

Information modified from Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorder, Inc​. (ANRED)

See page 1 for the three types of eating disorders.

See page 2 for common causes of eating disorders.

See page 3 to for complications that may arise from eating disorders​.

​Ref: U11​

Check out other articles on mental health:

Eating Disorders in Men: Causes and When to Seek Help

Anxiety and Depression: When to Seek Help

Mental Health Tips for Using Social Media

8 Ways to Beat Stress at Work

10 Tips for Mental Wellness

20 Stress-Busting Tips from Psychiatrists

How to Better Manage Emotions at Work

What is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?