Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder. Patients usually engage in extreme practices to keep their weight to the minimum. Limiting the food intake, exercising excessively beyond the point of exhaustion and vomiting are some of the ways that patients resort to. As a result, they suffer from various health complications.
Anorexia patients usually have a distorted self-image and feel very self-conscious about their weight. They believe that they are fat and unattractive which is not true. They often look for different methods on how to become an anorexic. The continuous anxiety and worry about their weight and body often pushes them to miss meals and to vomit right after eating.
The problem with anorexia nervosa is that patients will usually deny that they have a problem. They will lie about their eating habits and will refuse to eat, saying that they don’t feel hungry. Patients rarely seek help voluntarily so the burden usually falls on the shoulders of friends and family members.
The first step to help patients is to talk to them. It is critical not to pressure them as they can be emotionally fragile. Having a serious and loving conversation with them could be the way to help them identify the problem and convince them to seek professional help.
It is crucial to start treatment as soon as possible to avoid serious side effects. Most of the time anorexia is treated on an outpatient basis, where the patient can be treated from home. The success of this plan greatly depends on the presence and cooperation of a responsible friend or family member who will be present to give support and report problems. The most severe cases should be closely monitored by a doctor and are usually hospitalized.
Anorexia treatment options:
It is very important to consult an eating disorder specialist to suggest a treatment plan for the anorexia patient. This specialist will most likely conduct a series of mental, social, physical and psychological tests to identify the reasons behind the condition and the severity of the symptoms.
The seriousness of the case and the symptoms will determine the nature of the treatment plan. It often requires the collaboration of several healthcare professionals; for example dietians and psychiatrists. Together they can come up with a tailored plan that would help an individual patient with their anorexia battle.
The psychological treatment plan can take any time between 6 to 12 months depending on the severity of the condition. Cognitive analytic therapy suggests that mental conditions like anorexia are caused by unhealthy behavior patterns that start early during childhood and ultimately lead to the condition. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT focuses on analyzing how we feel about a certain situation. Our feelings affect our behaviors and actions which in turn affect how we feel.
Medication alone is not effective to treat anorexia. Most of the time, it is used with psychological treatment in cases where compulsory treatment becomes a must. Under the Mental Health Act, doctors may decide to hospitalize the patient to help them beat anorexia, while treating the serious side effects.
Some patients are prescribed antidepressants that will help them cope with anxiety and depression. However, such treatments are usually avoided until the person has already started to put on some healthy weight.
Seeking help and support is the first step to beat anorexia. Gaining weight healthily is doable with the help of professional intervention. Once the person has started to respond they might also be prescribed some vitamins and supplements to help them stay healthy.