Anorexia is an eating disorder in which the affected person is reluctant to eat for the fear of weight gain. Anorexic people are underweight and psychologically they believe that eating a little amount of food will result in overweight. In order to combat weight gain; they might indulge in excessive workouts, consume laxatives or even vomit. People are referred as anorexic when their Body Mass Index (BMI) is 17 or below. Anorexia generally affects people who need to constantly monitor their weight and body shape like models, dancers and athletes. Let us have a look at the symptoms of anorexia followed by anorexia treatment.
• Unable to eat normally and maintain a balanced BMI
• Taking small amount of food and taking tiny bites
• Obsessive over weight gains. Taking every precaution to prevent weight gain and monitoring it frequently.
• Showing withdrawal symptoms and ignoring friends & family
• Going through depression
• Lack luster in skin and hair
• Constant feeling and fear of gaining weight
• Mood swings
Causes of Anorexia
There are plenty of factors that can cause anorexia. It can be due to heredity, infection and gastrointestinal problems; which are some of the biological causes of this disorder. Research has found that people suffering from anorexia due to biological reason have high cortisol, which results in stress. Even serotonin and norepinephrine, which are mood enhancing substances found in our body are present in lower amount in them.
Anorexia can even be psychological wherein the person suffers from anxiety & depression; thus refrains him from eating. Or it can be caused by the social factors wherein the pressure of maintaining weight is a must like in fashion industry.
Anorexia Treatment – Accepting eating disorder
It is vital to understand & consent that you are suffering from a disorder. Losing weight and going through emotional problems will only affect you. Talk about it to your family and close friends for support and suggestions. It is important that you have people around you who can motivate and uplift your mood in difficult conditions. For further motivation you can also read about the stories of people who have overcome this disorder.
As a family member you need to take utmost care of the person suffering from this disorder. Family interventions are necessary to make the person understand how eating disorder is affecting him and the entire family. Monitor their progress and constantly appreciate their efforts. Don’t force them to eat as they might be suffering from acute depression or stress. In Family Based Treatment, you must ensure that proper nutrients are being consumed by the person.
Avoid unwanted people
As discussed earlier, anorexia can occur due to social factors. A lot of people in fashion industry or entertainment industry have to maintain specific body standards. You tend to maintain cordial relationship with those people and have friends who promote weight loss or talk about strict diets. It is important now to stay away from such people and stop attending social gatherings with them. Stick with people who lead a healthy lifestyle.
Anorexia Treatment – Consult a dietitian
It is impossible to start eating appropriately instantly. Gaining healthy weight will be a daunting task and requires an expert advice. Consulting a dietitian will help you in gaining weight in a healthier way. The person will be given smaller amount of food to start with and will gradually be increased to a normal diet. Acquiring all the necessary nutrients in the diet is vital which can only be mapped down by a dietitian. Stick as much as possible to the diet plan charted down by your dietitian.
Lot of times your body might get adversely affected by not consuming proper meals. For that you might need to get your body checked. Anorexia might lead to heart ailments, osteoporosis, kidney and stomach related problems. Prescribed medicines like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and olanzapine are often taken by people to treat anxiety and depression, which are two reasons of anorexia.
Anorexia Treatment – Psychological treatment
Anorexic people often go through psychological treatment as it is long lasting and this treatment assures full recovery. This treatment can last up to a year. We will have a look at some of the psychological treatments.
Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)
Usually our behavioral and thinking patterns are developed in early ages and we even as an adult tend to follow them. In this therapy the therapist will analyze the root cause of the problem by understanding our thought processes, some memorable events in our lives and our emotions towards certain things.
This therapy takes place in 3 phases. The 1st phase is known as Reformation phase. In this, the therapist discusses the childhood problems and the present problems in the life of the patient. The therapist tends to relate them to understand the link it has on the patient. 1st phase can last from 2 months to 6 months.
The 2nd phase of CAT is Recognition phase. In this phase, the therapist underlines where the problem lies. It also makes the patient aware of the problem and the reasons of its occurrence. 3rd phase is Revision phase where alternative solutions of the existing problem are given to the person.
Focal Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
This is again a psychological treatment which is useful to counter eating disorders. It has 2 objectives. 1st is to make the person realize the importance of food and how it will affect his body. 2nd is to find alternative solutions of letting go the stress and the symptoms of eating disorder faced by him.
Anorexia can be caused due to stress & depression which can be due to poor interpersonal relationships. This therapy helps in exploring if the person is having a poor social life which might be impacting his mental health.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
CBT is another anorexia treatment technique. This is a form of psychotherapy where in the person having anorexia will go through changes in his thoughts, feelings and behavior. In this therapy, the behavior that is needed to be changed is identified and modified.