There is no doubt that Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental illness and it is associated with one of the high mortality risks out of any psychiatric disorder.
This mental disorder is defined by both mental and physical characteristics and it can be defined by 3 criteria. The first is the restriction of low energy intake which leads to low body weight. The second criterion is the expression of fear of gaining weight, persistent restrictive eating, excessive exercising or fasting. The third and last criterion is a disturbance in body image that can show up in a couple of different ways – seeing yourself as fat even though you are underweight, not recognizing how bad and dangerous low weight is, and more.
Now that we have a brief insight into what this is let’s talk about causes before we dive into the process of healing. As far as we know so far there isn’t any single factor that can cause this and thanks to some large-scale genetic studies, we know that there are some genes that come into play with Anorexia Nervosa. As far as psychological factors that play a role here, we can name perfectionism, low self-esteem, anxiety, general dissatisfaction with your body and many others.
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When it comes to this many of the ones affected by Anorexia Nervosa talk about it as another individual living with you. It has a persona that separates from you and is always poorly tempered. You lose some weight you get praised, but only briefly before it comes back again saying it still isn’t enough, you still look fat and ugly, and you got to lose more.
For some, it starts rather simply and non-intrusive. It begins by watching what you eat and how much you eat. It starts with counting calories and setting limits for yourself. What happens next is that other you start manipulating you and your mind into lowering down and it makes you exercise or walk off anything you eat, almost immediately. It takes you for itself it doesn’t want you to have friends and doesn’t want to share you with anyone.
Thanks to this illness being so bad and so intense no one is immune to it. as we already stated it involves both mental and physical health characteristics it is really important to work with your primary care doctor or paediatrician as well as a therapist. These are your initial first two steps. If you and anyone around you think you have a problem you need to go to professionals to confirm or dispute that. If it is confirmed the best thing you can do is get a diagnosis and consult with your doctors on what your treatment should be.
Based on what we know there are treatments with the strongest evidence base for this and they include FBT or family-based treatment and CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy. Although all of this sounds pretty bad it is most definitely not a life sentence. What is more important is the fact that you can recover from this, like so many others have.
Based on professionals and those fighting against Anorexia Nervosa is to have hope. Whether that is you, your family members, friends, your spouse or your clinician, hope is an important thing and a factor that can flip the scales.
Some of the steps you need to go through include getting help at an early intervention which is a huge key with these disorders. Never wait until the point where you’re so critically ill and weak before you decide to get help. Early discovery of any illness mental or physical will lead to better and faster results so make sure you are both listening and looking for signs that are out of the ordinary.
Besides that, there is another thing we briefly mentioned and this can be one of the signs you need help, which is focusing on food too much. watching what you eat, how much, how many calories, how much you exercise and whether you have turned that into a total obsefocusing on ssion. This is a sure sign you need to check in with a physician or a psychiatrist to get to the bottom of this behaviour.
The third thing after all these is to seek professional help that will point you to your diagnosis, tell you the real issue and decide the course of healing. For some, it may be short and painful while many have dealt and still dealing with a difficult and very long process of healing. Think of it this way it is just like alcoholism or the tendency to do drugs. One moment of poor judgement or lapse and you are in the same problem and at the beginning of that tough road again.
This leads us to the fourth thing – besides doctors, psychiatrists and your desire and hope to get well you also need friends and family, now more than ever. This is the crucial thing in this journey. No matter how to estrange you may have gotten with them, no matter the issues you had with them. They need you and you certainly need them. The road is long and tough and no one can do it by themselves. Once you fulfil your life with love and support and everything else coming from them, there will be no more room for Anorexia and no more room for that other bad, chaotic and toxic part of you that was Anorexia. It can’t boss you around and it will not be able to lead your life instead of you anymore.
We understand that there are lots of people struck by this and we know that the road to recovery is tough and sometimes will look impossible but you always need to have hope, you need to love yourself and others, you need to reach out for help and understanding first and everything else that comes after that will be a lot easier. Don’t run away from issues and don’t turn your head to their suggestions and help. This is a two-way street that will get you faster to your goals so make sure you use it to the fullest.