What Is Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness characterised by extremely low body weight, caloric restriction and body dissatisfaction. Those suffering with this disease will have a severely distorted body image, and would perceive themselves as being overweight, despite being significantly underweight.

People with anorexia are often in denial about their illness and have difficulty admitting to, or identifying, that there is a problem. This is known as anosognosia, a term used to describe the brain function being unable to determine the extent of the illness.

Left untreated, anorexia will become severe and can have devastating consequences for your mental and physical health.

How Can I Tell If I Have Anorexia?

Your family members and friends may have expressed concern about your eating habits or the fact that your weight has dropped dramatically. If you fiercely denied that anything was amiss or challenged the idea that you need to gain weight, you have done what almost every anorexic does. A major part of your illness is the fact that you are incapable of seeing yourself the way that others do.

You are likely to know that things are not quite right, but you may still see yourself as needing to lose more weight while others believe you need to gain weight. This is a common side-effect of anorexia. Nevertheless, if you are aware that something is wrong and if others are worried that you might have an eating disorder, it is a good idea to take them seriously.

If you suspect that you, or someone you know, is suffering from anorexia, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you obsessed with food and limiting the amount you eat?
  • Do you feel that you are under pressure to be perfect but find that you cannot achieve this?
  • Do you believe that you need to lose weight?
  • When you lose weight, do you believe that it is not enough?
  • Do you restrict food intake for extended periods of time?
  • Have you cut out entire food groups?
  • Are you obsessed with only eating food what is considered low fat?
  • Do you spend time making meals for others but do not eat them yourself?
  • Do you hide food or throw it away while pretending you have eaten it?
  • Do you lie to loved ones and say that you have eaten already when in fact you have not?
  • Do you take laxatives to lose weight or exercise excessively?
  • Do you get anxious or tense at meal times?
  • Do you become angry or defensive when people mention your weight or suggest you should eat more?

If the above questions resonate with you, then it is more than likely you are suffering from a serious eating disorder. The next vital step is admitting you have a problem, and it is important that you speak to someone and seek the help you need in order to take back control of your life.

Why Do I Have Anorexia?

There are many reasons for developing an eating disorders, many of which might not seem apparent to you at the time. This is why it’s important to follow up initial treatment with extensive therapy, in order to properly tackle the underlying issue.

Anorexia is often misrepresented in the media, with most people believing that only young girls are affected, when in fact, anorexia can affect both men and women, regardless of their age and background.

As is the case with many other disorders, those with a family history of eating disorders, substance abuse and other mental health problems have a higher risk of being affected. If you have grown up in an environment surrounded by people with unhealthy attitudes towards food, it may cause you to develop similar attitudes.

It is extremely likely that there was a trigger that caused you to develop this condition. For example, you may have been bullied at school, suffered some form of abuse, or were criticised in the past for your weight.

What Are the Effects of Anorexia on the Brain and Body?

Leaving anorexia untreated can be life-threatening. Not only will you suffer physical consequences, but you are also at risk of developing deeper mental issues. Therefore, it is vital you seek help as soon as possible.

Dramatic weight loss will leave you feeling tired and weak. This will cause your body temperature to drop leaving you feeling cold for most of the time. The lack of nutrition will begin to affect your hair and nails, and you may notice them becoming thin and brittle as a result.

As your body desperately tries to keep itself warm during the starvation process, you are more than likely to develop lanugo. This is very fine hair that grows all over your body as your body attempts to keep itself warm. If you are a woman, you are likely to notice a change in your menstrual cycle; your periods could stop completely and your ability to conceive will be severely hampered.

As the illness progresses, you are likely to suffer severe problems as many of your internal organs will be affected. Without treatment, you could develop, among other things, poor circulation, low blood pressure, slow breathing, and an irregular heartbeat.

Severe problems could include heart attacks, heart failure, bowel problems, kidney disease, seizures, malnutrition, and death.

How is Anorexia Treated?

Although overcoming a serious mental disorder like anorexia is difficult, it is not impossible. A shorter duration of illness is associated with improved outcome, but it’s important to seek treatment from qualified treatment specialists.

At Banbury Lodge, our team of professionals have specialist knowledge when it comes to eating disorders and how to treat them. We work on the principle that each client should be given their own plan of care, to ensure that all their needs are met. All complex mental health issues and their symptoms must be addressed.

The initial focus in treating anorexia nervosa is on re-feeding, as weight restoration is a crucial component of treatment for anorexia nervosa. Food is medicine. Weight restoration not only repairs physical damage, but can also improve faulty thought patterns caused by malnutrition. Improved psychological functioning increases the likelihood of recovery.

Holistic treatment and therapy can help work extremely well in helping people overcome anorexia, and treatment programmes will include some of the following:

  • Individual counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Nutritional education
  • Sound therapy.
  • Mindful fitness
  • Art therapy

Our programme is designed to be person-centric to treat you as a whole person and not just your eating disorder. We will help you to identify the reasons behind your illness and the negative thought processes that you have in terms of how you see yourself and food. We will help you develop a healthy attitude to food and your body so that you can move forward to a life that is not dominated by restricting calories and a never-ending quest to be thinner.

If you are ready to get well again, please call us. Our team of friendly advisors will provide information on anorexia and how you can overcome it. Our excellent treatment programmes can give you the opportunity to get your life back on the right track. Please call today for more information on how we can help you.

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Call Now 0203 553 0618

Call Now 0203 553 0618

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  • CO9 2DR
  • United Kingdom

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