Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person deliberately restricts their eating to lose weight. Anorexia causes someone to become severely underweight, seriously impacting on health & well-being. It can even be life-threatening.
Anorexia tends to take over a person’s life:
- Preoccupation with food & eating: Much time may be spent planning when to eat, what to eat, what not to eat, distracting yourself from hunger, counting calories, and researching food. It’s a terrible irony that a person with anorexia becomes preoccupied by what they fear the most! You may become very interested in recipes and cooking for others (but not yourself), and develop rituals, such as only eating particular types of food, or at particular times, or cutting food into very small pieces. You may weigh yourself a lot, and have ‘checking’ sessions, where you scrutinise body parts in the mirror.
- Not wanting to socialise: particularly if this involves catching up over dinner or in a cafe, as you feel uncomfortable with unknown ingredients, or eating in front of others. You may stop doing previously enjoyed activities, partly because you do no longer have the energy, interest, or concentration.
- Anorexia affects moods, causing you to become irritable, depressed, anxious or reactive. Sometimes you may not even care at all.
- You may also binge-eat, purge or exercise excessively
- It deceives you. Despite being significantly underweight, the anorexia may still tell you that you are fat, and you may strenuously deny that you have become too thin. You become confused and irritated toward friends, family or medical professionals that keep insisting that there is a problem. It affects your decision-making, judgement and reasoning, to the extent that you may become very confused, and not even know who you are anymore.
What will therapy be like?
When people begin treatment there is often a lot of uncertainty, anxiety and fear – especially if you are coming in because of pressure from others – but it can also be there when treatment is your choice. It’s understandable that you could feel this way – the very thought of change is terrifying, and something that you may have been avoiding. So, our 1st step is about understanding this fear and ambivalence. Then, we work together to understand how anorexia has become a coping mechanism . Most people don’t deliberately choose to become anorexic, but they do find that it helps them to cope with difficult things. Next, we develop different coping mechanisms to help you break free from the grip of anorexia. Treatment is tailored to your specific circumstances, and I will support you in working with these strategies.