Anorexia Nervosa Therapy

Anorexia Nervosa Therapy

There is so much pressure in our society to be thin, and with the presence of social media, it’s become even more of an issue, especially for teens and young adults.

With fake filters, face tuning, and photoshop apps, these already unattainable beauty standards are now even more out of reach.

How can we obtain a physical standard that’s based on false pretenses?

We can’t. And we’re all paying the price.

It’s not a surprise that there has been an uptick in eating disorders, like Anorexia, over the past decade.

But that’s why we are here—to help you regain control of your life and learn to not only accept your body, but thrive in this vessel that you call home.


ANOREXIA: UNDERLYING ISSUES

All in all, it’s safe to say that Anorexia Nervosa is an extremely complex disorder, and it doesn’t just stem from wanting to be skinny. 

In fact, anorexia is usually brought on by underlying psychological or emotional problems that cause us to equate our self-worth with being thin.

Often when it comes down to it, Anorexia is about a need for control. 

More often than not, our clients who struggle with eating disorders share that they feel out of control and powerless, and that their relationship to food gives them a sense of control over their bodies.

This need for control can stem from underlying trauma, unprocessed anger, or other undiagnosed psychological disorders such as depression or anxiety. 

Anorexia can manifest due to many forces interacting together, such as biological, psychological, or even environmental.

The biological cause of Anorexia Nervosa can include “a genetic tendency towards perfectionism, sensitivity, and perseverance,” which all play into developing an eating disorder

From a psychological perspective, if a parent struggles with an eating disorder, or puts unrealistic demands on a child, this can set them up for developing unhealthy attitudes toward food and body image.

The psychological effects show up as obsession, controlling your diet so much that even if you’re hungry, you do not eat, anxiety, and constant preoccupation with your self-image. 

And finally, the environment can also play a significant role. 

As we mentioned earlier, with the media’s unrealistic portrayals or beauty, young men and women are suffering with distorted body image more than ever. 

Although the last few years have witnessed body positivity movements—think empowering ad campaigns from Dove and Nike—we still have a long, long way to go.


WHAT IS ANOREXIA?

So, what is Anorexia exactly?

Its full clinical name—Anorexia Nervosa—is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss and distorted body image. 

What is considered abnormal weight loss? 

Well, weight loss caused by an eating disorder normally involves difficulties maintaining an appropriate body weight for height, age, and stature, and restricting the number of calories and the types of food that enter your body. 

Anorexia can affect people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, and ethnicities, and it is the third most common chronic disease among young people, after asthma and diabetes (type 1).

Sad fact: Eating disorder symptoms are beginning earlier and earlier in both males and females.

Yes, males can get diagnosed with an eating disorder too, and account for nearly 25% of those who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa. 

Due to the social stigma men face regarding eating disorders, they also have a higher risk of death because they may not seek help in time. 

And that’s a terrible reality. 

Although this eating disorder most frequently begins during adolescence, children and older adults are also diagnosed with anorexia at staggering rates. 

Young people struggling with anorexia—between the ages of 15 and 24—are 10 times more likely to die compared to their same-aged peers. 

So this is serious stuff. 

It’s also important to realize that not all anorexia victims are underweight—people of all weights can be affected by this disorder as well. 

Individuals who meet the criteria for anorexia but who are not underweight despite significant weight loss are considered “atypical.”

Atypical individuals are people that don’t otherwise meet a specific diagnostic criteria. 


DIAGNOSTIC CRITERIA FOR ANOREXIA

  • Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements. These restrictions lead to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health.
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though the individual is underweight.
  • Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced. Also, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.


PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS OF ANOREXIA

In addition to these behavioral symptoms, you might experience some physical and emotional symptoms.

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS 

  • Extremely thin appearance
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep
  • Thinning of hair
  • Irregular menstrual cycle or the stop of your cycle altogether
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • An inability to tolerate cold weather
  • Dehydration
  • Swollen limbs
  • Tooth erosion
  • Calluses on your knuckles from inducing vomiting


EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS 

  • Making excuses so that you don’t have to eat
  • Preoccupied thoughts of food
  • Eating foods that are low in calories
  • Avoiding eating in public
  • Constantly or obsessively checking your weight and your appearance in the mirror


If any of these symptoms seem relatable, or if you or your child are spinning out of control, please book a session with one of our trained therapists. 

We are here to pave the road to recovery and help you become free from the tyranny of your eating disorder so you can restore a sense of balance, hope, health, and vitality.


OUR THERAPY METHODS FOR ANOREXIA

Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you minimize the anxiety in your life, identifying and changing underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and providing you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.

Our evidence-based, scientifically proven interventions are demonstrated by research to be effective in addressing anorexia, eating disorders, and other related mental health issues such as trauma, depression, and anxiety. 

Learn more about our empirically based therapy modalities by visiting our Methods page. 


WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH AN ANOREXIA NERVOSA EXPERT NOW

If you have any questions, contact one of our anorexia specialists for a free consultation any time.


RESOURCES

  1. National Eating Disorder Association
  2. Mayo Clinic

Anorexia Nervosa Therapists

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