Anorexia nervosa means ‘loss of appetite for nervous reasons’ but in fact you do not lose your appetite if you have anorexia, you just don’t allow yourself to satisfy your appetite.
People with anorexia have a distorted notion of their body shape and image. They try to avoid or limit eating and may also over-exercise so become very underweight. About 1 in 200 women and 1 in 2000 men get anorexia at some time in their lives. Boys and men do appear to be getting eating disorders more often.
The other main eating disorder is bulimia nervosa, which is characterized by cycles of bingeing (overeating) and purging (ridding the body of the excess food usually by vomiting or laxatives). Some people with anorexia may have bingeing and purging habits too.
Initial Treatment for anorexia
Ideally, you can take charge of anorexia with the help of a team that includes a mental health professional (such as a psychologist or licensed counselor), a medical health professional (such as a doctor or nurse), and a registered dietitian.
If your medical condition is not life threatening, initial Treatment for anorexia likely will include:
· Psychological counseling is important in treatment for anorexia. A counselor will help you learn healthy ways to think about food and your body. Family therapy can also help your family members support your recovery.
· Medical treatment. If malnutrition or starvation has started to break down your body, medical treatment will be a top priority as treatment for anorexia. Your health professional will treat any medical conditions that have been caused by anorexia, such as osteoporosis, heart problems, or depression.
· Nutritional counseling is also important in treatment for anorexia. A registered dietitian will help you take charge of your weight in a healthy way. You will learn healthy eating patterns and gain a good understanding of nutrition.
· Family therapy. Parents learn about anorexia and how to help their child change her diet and exercise patterns. Treatment for anorexia includes preparing meals for their child and monitoring eating and exercising.
Tranquilizers: Short-term use of medicines called benzodiazepines may help as treatment for anorexia or anorexics deal with some of their anxiety. These medicines are highly addictive, so they should not be used in individuals who have had problems with drugs or alcohol.
Estrogen: Women with anorexia are at risk of fractures; this is as a result of osteoporosis. The lack of periods from their low body weight puts them in a state like early menopause. There is some suggestion that taking estrogen can help as treatment for anorexia in some women re-mineralize their bones and perhaps keep them from having fractures in the future.
Psychotherapy can involve a significant time and financial commitment but you are worth it! Particularly if you are struggling with other issues (sexual abuse, depression, substance use, relationship problems), psychotherapy can be very helpful in addressing not only your disordered eating, but also your overall emotional health and happiness as treatment for anorexia
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