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ANOREXIA NERVOSA

EFFECTIVE TREATMENT OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA

Anorexia nervosa, a serious eating disorder

Anorexia, like bulimia and overeating, is a psychosomatic form of eating disorder that occurs predominantly in girls and young women. Clinical studies show a ratio between men and women of 1:10 to 1:12. Anorexia is characterizsd by self induced radical weight loss with severe effects on physical and mental health.

Facts:

  •  statistically, most of the persons affected by Anorexia  are female (1:10-12).

  • Anorexia often begins at the age of adolescence.

  • an eating disorder often begins initially with a 'harmless' diet.

  • Anorexia is manifested in a low body weight, starting at 15% below normal weight.

  •  It is the aim of the therapy to normalise body weight, the eating behaviour and to identify and eliminate the underlying psychological triggers.

 

Possible causes of anorexia

Anorexia often begins during femal adolescence, a phase in which young women have to deal with profound physical, psychological and social changes. Especially in this sensitive time, young girls internalise the extremely slim beauty ideal of young women propagated in Western countries nowadays.

A lack of self-esteem and dissatisfaction with the own body are considered risk factors for the development of anorexia nervosa. Psychological causes as well as family habits and biological and social influences can play a role in the development of anorexia and influence each other.

At the beginning of the desease

The eating disorder usually begins with a seemingly harmless diet. Diets can be triggered by changes in the lives of those affected such as being in love for the first time, living abroad, away from the family or physical changes. Affected persons stick to their diet by avoiding certain high calorie foods (sweets, meat) for a longer period of time.

The recognition for the resulting weight loss acts in turn as an amplifier and enhancer. The young girls feel encouraged to stick to their plans and have a feeling of control again. Even after reaching a life-threatening state of underweight, those patients are very afraid getting overweight.

By way of strictly limited eating habits or other behaviours such as vomiting, excessive sporting activities or the use of weightloss-medication, anorexic persons try to reduce their weight more and more.

 

Specialised Internet forums bear an additional particular risk: In the anonymity of the internet, very young girls start competing with their starvation successes and encourage each other. Those girls do feel hunger and appetite, but suppress it.

If anorexia starts in childhood or pre-adolescence, underweight is mostly caused by severely restricted eating habits or increased physical activity.
 

The evidence of anorexia

behaviors in order to keep the weight down or to reduce it:
 

  • Restricting food intake or food quantity,

  • avoid certain high caloric foods, such as fats or carbohydrates,

  • excessive physical activity,

  • self induced vomiting

  • use of laxatives or diuretics

  • eating rituals, such as slow eating or cutting food into very small pieces,

  • specific, very selective composition of food

 

How does anorexia manifest?
 

The body weight of anorexic persons is at least 15% below the normal weight. according to the height. For adults, the diagnosis can be made with a body mass index of less than 17.5 kg/m2. Concerning children, the diagnosis anorexia is set when the body mass index falls below the 10th age percentile.
About 1% of all girls and young women suffer from anorexia in the course of their lives. However, the number of unreported cases is higher - it is estimated that around 50% of cases are not recorded at all in the health system.

The consequences of a permanent state of malnutrition

  • Disturbance of the hormonal system: missing / irregular menstruation, delayed puberty, standstill of physical and mental development, reduced libido,

  • changes found in  blood tests: disturbance of blood formation in the bone marrow, electrolyte shifts,

  • At the beginning there often is a feeling of ease and lightness, control and euphoria, which turns into indifference, irritability and depression later.

  • Changed body perception: While other people are perceived realistically, the own body is experienced as unshapely and fat despite underweight.

  • For children, the effects of starvation are even more serious. Since they are still growing, serious effects on bone density, longitudinal growth or brain development are at high risk.

  • Anorexia is often accompanied by depressions, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders.

 

Prognosis for recovering from anorexia nervosa
 

Factors:

  • age at the beginning of the disorder

  • duration of the disorder before treatment

  • duration of clinic treatment

  • eating disorder symptoms (restrictive versus bulimic)

  • extent of weigt-loss

  • specific symptomatic of the eating disorder (restrictive versus bulimic)

  • prämorbide abnormalities in development

  • prämorbide eating disorders

  • prämorbides overweight

  • prämorbide psychopathology

  • parent's divorce or separation

 

Course of desease

The duration of the disease usually extends over several years, although the course can vary greatly from person to person. A cure in the first two years is rare, on average it takes about six years to cure.

Early diagnosis and treatment are important, especially to prevent the disease from taking a chronic course. A small percentage of anorexics are at risk of dying from the consequences of the disease, mainly due to heart failure and suicides.

The risk of underweight is usually negated by affected persons, which often leads to tensions within families. In addition to that, patients are often sceptical and unwilling to change their weight and eating habits. Typically, patients do not seek help on their own initiative, but under pressure from others.

Therapy

​With the help of medical hypnosis, the underlying causes will be identified and eliminated. The eating behaviour and the attitude towards the own body will normalise. In addition, I can support healthy and natural eating-habits by suggestations well after the treatment of the causes. Thus, medical hypnosis has a much deeper effect than ordinary hypnosis. For support you get helpful suggestations set into your unconscious mind.
 

If you suffer by weight problems of any kind and you doubt that mental problems are the reason behind that eating disorder, you should ask yourself questions like:

  • When did the problems begin and what happened in that situation?

  • What are situations in which the problems become particularly severe?

  • Are there other family members also suffering from eating disorders?