Eating disorders can be difficult to understand, many people wrongly believe this is a lifestyle choice or a fad, or a reason to be picky, or simply a stage in life driven by media..



Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are made up of complex disturbances and eating behaviours that impact our thoughts and emotional wellbeing. Eating disorders are a serious and sometimes fatal psychiatric illness.

Food and body issues can fall into a range of categories. Eating disorders can include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, any otherwise unspecified eating disorders, and orthorexia, which is a form of compulsive healthy eating to an extreme. Restricting, purging, and obsessing all lie within the eating disorder spectrum.

This is one of the most complex areas of mental health conditions, and, in turn, has one of the highest fatality rates. Food and body issues require long term and very careful interventions, working alongside dietitians and nutritionists to pave the way for realistic and sustained goals in recovery.

Co-occurring conditions

As with many of the addictive and destructive behaviours we see in young people, it’s common to see co-occurring conditions of food/body issues and another addiction. We frequently see eating disorders come to the surface when other addictions are removed - alcohol is removed from the equation, and an eating disorder comes to the surface. In such a case, the two issues can enable each other, which is confusing for both the sufferer and their loved ones.

Eating disorders don’t always coexist with faulty thinking around body image but can. In some cases, we can see something called body dysmorphic disorder, which is where the individual has unrealistic views of their self-image and their body. It can also co-occur alongside other conditions, such as addiction or mental health concerns. We often see it co-occur alongside a tendency to over-exercise, which might only become apparent only once we’ve started working through the eating disorder.

What are the signs my loved one is suffering from an Eating Disorder?

The Wave Approach

At The Wave, we manage these issues through a multidisciplinary approach, using medical and psychological care to promote whole person wellness. We monitor the client’s medical condition with regular check-ups for the physical ailments, together with the psychological patterns of what’s happening. This usually involves a high level of care, which in the early days can mean 24-hour observation, particularly around purge and restricting cycles, and the rituals that often go alongside eating disorders, such as fluid input and output. 
We have locked kitchen facilities, meaning we don’t have food and snacks on show all the time, which can be troublesome for people with overeating, binge eating or purging cycles. And we have a mindful eating table, which is an opt-in facility that’s monitored by a member of the clinical team. We sit with our clients to eat, and we also sit with them after eating to make sure they remain safe.  We practice intuitive eating, which means relearning the clues the body gives us when it’s hungry and when it’s full. These clues can often be lost in very pronounced eating disorders
Healing from food and body issues is a very gentle path, which must be taken with great respect for the individual. Eating disorders are very different from other addictions in that we can’t abstain from food or body-related matters. Residential treatment has been proven as the most effective way of working through these issues. Not only is the client supported through counselling and complementary and holistic therapies, but being removed from habitual triggers, destructive patterns and well-meaning loved ones can be incredibly healing. 

Disordered Eating

Research shows that over half a million teenagers suffer from eating disorders. And while it comes as no surprise

that young women are at greater risk, with rates are as high as 10%, a growing number of young men are now struggling with this issue as well. 

We are Here for You


Yes, we have nursing staff onsite 24hrs a day and we can treat any acute or chronic issues, aside from pregnancy. Our team is led by a Consultant and Psychiatrist and 24 hour nursing care. We’re surrounded by 5-star international hospitals, with whom we have admitting rights. We have the services of a local dentist for any emergency or planned dental care. (Malaysia is renowned for high quality, low cost dental care.) We also have a wide range of supplementary practitioners on call, including nutritionists, dieticians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Clients each work with a nurse, a case manager who’s responsible for liaising with all carers, a primary therapist, and a primary recovery coach who are all responsible for different aspects of your care. They’ll also have a personal trainer who’s responsible for the physical aspects of their care, and who will oversee their nutrition with the help of Chef San, our fantastic onsite chef. This, in turn, is all overseen by our treatment director and clinical director, who will liaise with family and any outside providers or medical practitioners who need to be kept abreast of the client’s recovery.

We don’t encourage any breaks within the first 10-12 weeks of our clients’ treatment. Around month 3, if the client is in a safe space and has a good support network, we may be able to facilitate a small break in treatment before returning. We might also involve them in a small break in treatment if they’re moving onto our secondary care programme.

No. Eating Disorders do not discriminate. In fact, anyone can be affected, at any age.  Whilst Eating Disorders in young women are prevalent, it is not uncommon for young men to be affected. Indeed, one third of people with binge eating disorder are male. 
It is not uncommon for eating disorders to present in early, mid snd later adulthood. In some case there may have been mild symptoms for many years, which when trigger by a stressor may become more severe. Stressors can be life events, psychiatric co-occurring illness such as depression or anxiety or physical ill health.
Recent research indicates that obsessive compulsive personality traits, social anxiety, and other anxiety based conditions can increase the risk of developing an Eating Disorder. 

For more FAQs, please refer to our FAQs page.

There's Always Hope

Recovery is not a journey that should be taken alone.

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