Anorexia Nervosa

With anorexia Nervosa, what you eat, or if and when you eat, may feel like the only part of your life that you have any control over, and putting on weight can mean you are losing that control. The tangible act of eating becomes a negative in your life, allowing unwanted feelings to be suppressed. There may also be the feeling of not being able to cope with putting on weight. Not eating and losing weight may therefore become the only way that you feel safe, even though your body may be tremendously hungry.

Anorexia Nervosa can affect every aspect of your life, the way you react, your awareness, your ability to move. Anorexia is a very serious, life threatening disease.

Some symptoms of Anorexia are:

Eating Disorders

  • Being preoccupied with losing weight
  • Denying feelings of hunger, in spite of not eating
  • Meticulous calorie counting
  • Secretly hide food or throw it away
  • Ensure the avoidance of high-calorie foods
  • Excessive exercising
  • Use drugs that diminish your appetite or speed up digestion
  • Make yourself sick
  • Have a belief that you’re a fat, even though you are considered underweight by others
  • Wear baggy clothes to keep warm or conceal weight loss

 

Anorexia can result in:

  • Being underweight by at least 15% less than for your age and height
  • If anorexia occurs before puberty there can be physical underdevelopment
  • Disrupted menstrual cycles, from stopped or missed periods (this may not occur if you are taking the contraceptive pill)
  • Loss in libido and sexual dysfunction
  • Changes in personality
  • Feelings of elation (highs) from not eating or from too much exercise
  • Depression
  • Poor concentration, feelings of being tired and weak
  • Lanugo hair loss

There are two types of Anorexia Nervosa – Type 1 Anorexia Nervosa is where food intake is completely restricted with occasional eating followed by compensatory behaviours to control body weight loss.  Type 2 Anorexia Nervosa is where food intake is restricted along with binge eating which is followed by purging.

 

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Eating Disorders

An eating disorder can develop when normal eating habits become affected by stress, pressure or feelings of low self-esteem and feelings of not being good enough. During times of stress you may develop a craving for a particular food such as chocolate, loss your appetite, eat more for comfort or become unable to eat at all. Although this can occur for most people at times, usual eating habits return once the difficulties have passed.

However when you continue to eat too much or too little, you may be in danger of developing an eating disorder. Food can become increasingly important in your life until in some cases it becomes the most important thing. You may deny yourself food, even when hungry, or you may binge eat, you may be obsessive about your weight and about how you look. Food becomes a type of addiction affecting your life in a very negative way. Eating problems are not just about the food, the eating or starving, it is about being unable to process and deal with difficult problems and painful feelings, which may be difficult to express or face.

Often the beginning of an eating problem can be linked to a stressful occurrence or trauma such as mental, physical or sexual abuse, bullying at school, the death of a loved one or parental divorce. TV, magazines and other media images have also been dominating people’s lives, creating unreal images of what the ‘perfect’ body should look like, in turn creating the need in some to conform to an idea of perfection and change the way they look to ‘fit in’ with so called normal life.

 

Denial

Denial is one of the most common areas of all Eating Disorders, yet is unfortunately one of the hardest areas for intervention. Denial for people that suffer with any extreme disordered food behaviours, becomes a lie, that becomes their reality. The secret that generates this behaviour helps the individual to protect themselves not to appear as a liar. Possible examples are:

• Someone suffering from Anorexia Nervosa may say, convincingly, that they have already eaten or that they will eat later, or they may eat a meal in front of someone but use compensatory behaviours afterwards to ‘control’ their emotions and the disease (e.g. purging, exercising, starvation etc).
• Someone suffering from Binge Eating Disorder may convince themselves that they are not over-eating by emotionally and psychologically cutting off their reality once they have eaten (e.g. they state and believe they have only eaten two meals today, but forget that they spent most of the night in and out of the fridge).
• Someone suffering from Bulimia may convince themselves that it is normal behaviour to binge and purge as long as other people don’t find out.

Like any addiction or Eating Disorder the illness itself is a symptom that helps to preoccupy someone from the real way that they feel and their life experiences, allowing whatever relationship with food they have, reduce or take way the real fears, hurts, anxieties and pain. Ironically though, this preoccupation with the Eating Disorder behaviour, in the long term, causes a person a different and possibly higher level of internal and external pain.

 

Cortijo Care are here to help.

Treatment at Cortijo Care is set up to help anyone suffering from Anorexia Nervosa.

Our 24 Hour Acute programme is there to help those suffering from Eating Disorders; Our Rehabilitation programme then treats the psychological issues surrounding the eating disorder, enabling clients to learn how to cope with life, getting to the root of the whys and wherefores of the eating disorder and learning how to handle emotions and anxieties in a safe place.

Please call us for a no obligation chat on (+34) 952 780 181 about how we can help you or your family member or friend, or complete the contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.