Are you dealing with anorexia? Eating disorders aren’t selective; they make friends with people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and races. Body dissatisfaction is only one, albeit very important, component off which they thrive: perfectionism, low self-esteem, the need for autonomy (control), or a history of trauma (sexual abuse, bullying) can encourage the development of an eating disorder—but so can your genetics and your culture. Eating disorders have a tendency to run in families and your culture shapes how you view beauty: whether you will find thicker bodies to be attractive or become programmed to equate beauty with thinness.
Eating disorders can be deceptively attractive because they can make you feel good about yourself when you lose weight; but the sinister truth is this: Eating disorders kill. Every 62 minutes in fact.
And among the many, diverse psychiatric conditions, Anorexia Nervosa is identified as the leading cause of death—yes, even outranking suicide—among all individuals, who will receive a mental health diagnosis.
But, fortunately, recovery is possible, and Lifeologie counselors can help!
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and obsessive efforts to lose weight despite being classified as medically and dangerously underweight. The compulsion to lose weight is underpinned by a distorted perception of the body—many individuals with anorexia will perceive themselves as being overweight despite appearing to the external world as emaciated.
Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa may demonstrate the following warning signs:
You may find yourself engaging in the following behaviors:
Anorexia Nervosa is not a psychological condition that will reach a point of stasis. Without qualified intervention, your health will follow a worsening trajectory until your condition becomes life-threatening.
Without proper treatment, Anorexia Nervosa can advance into a potentially fatal medical condition. But with skilled intervention, recovery is possible! An effective therapeutic strategy should combine the medical knowledge of physicians and counselors to evaluate your needs.
Most importantly, your recovery plan should give precedence to stabilizing your health. Becoming critically underweight can result in respiratory, cardiac, or kidney failure; stroke or irreversible brain damage; infertility; or even, death: Therefore, prompt medical treatment to restore your weight is crucial!
After your medical needs have been evaluated, your counselor will assist you to deconstruct unhealthy perceptions that you may hold about your body image and weight loss. You may examine your emotional reaction to food in the context of individual therapy sessions, in the presence of a nutritionist who can supply you with a meal plan that you enjoy following, as a member of a therapy group, or in conjunction with family or couples counseling. In addition, your counselor will equip you with tools you need in order to control your impulses to restrict food, purge, or engage in ritualistic eating habits; and help you to identify compounding factors that may be influencing your condition (for example, belonging to team sports such as gymnastics or wrestling that pressure participants to fall within ideal weight ranges, or undergoing a stressful life transition or traumatic event, etc.)
Your counselor may also suggest that you supplement traditional therapy with innovative healing techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, equine therapy, or expressive arts—that can help diminish your anxiety as you confront long-held beliefs about food and body image.
Your therapist will assess you for conditions, such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, or PTSD, that tend to occur simultaneously with Anorexia Nervosa, and connect you with qualified treatment for each condition.
As needed, your therapist may recommend that you receive a higher level of care, and offer you with options for residential treatment programs or inpatient care facilities that can better attend to your medical needs as you recover.
Recovery from Anorexia Nervosa is a long road; but you deserve to live a life that is happier, healthier, and fuller! Let Lifeologie counselors help you heal!