Anorexia is a life-threatening condition, that if left untreated, can result in severe health complications. Anorexia recovery is possible. Anorexia treatment needs a high level of support and commitment in order to succeed. It is important to seek help at the first warning sign. This can make a significant difference to the duration and severity of the condition.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by persistent restricted food intake, significant weight loss, intense fear of gaining weight and disturbance in self-perceived body weight or shape. Someone with anorexia may display many physical, psychological and behavioural signs.
There are 2 sub-types of anorexia
- Restricting subtype refers to individuals who severely restrict the amount and type of food they eat. This anorexia diet may involve careful calorie counting, refusing food groups, skipping meals, or abiding by strict food rules. They may also engage in other weight control behaviours such as excessive exercise.
- Binge eating/purging subtype also involves extreme restriction, but this is accompanied by episodes of compensatory behaviour such as exercising excessively or engaging in dangerous behaviours such as self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives.
What Are The Risks of Anorexia?
If left untreated, risks include a compromised immune system, loss or disturbance in menstruation for females, anaemia, heart problems, loss of bone density leading to osteoporosis, gastrointestinal problems, kidney failure, an increased risk of infertility in women and men, and ultimately death.
What does Anorexia Recovery and Treatment involve?
Every type of Anorexia requires slightly different management. The management of anorexia often involves a supportive multidisciplinary team including a General Practitioner (GP), Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Accredited Practising Dietitian.
There are many different treatments options available, depending on the severity and stage of the illness. Hospital admission may be essential if an individual needs medical stabilisation, nutritional rehabilitation, and intensive support to manage disordered eating behaviours.
Forms of treatment can include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
A type of psychotherapy aimed at helping an individual to change unhelpful thinking, feelings, and behaviours and to learn practical self-help strategies.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
This method helps individuals to process, manage, and deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
Family Based Therapy (FBT)
This therapy is currently the most promising treatment for children and adolescents with anorexia nervosa. This model relies heavily on parent and family involvement in re-feeding their child, using specific amounts of foods and scheduled meal and snack times.
Involves nutrition counselling and advice to establish normal eating, renourishment and identify fears around food.
Can include yoga, meditation and mindful based therapy. It can help to compliment nutritional, medical and psychological treatments.
What Is The Role of an Accredited Practising Dietitian During Recovery?
The role of an Accredited Practising Dietitian is to provide evidence-based nutritional guidance to achieve physical re-nourishment. They will take the time with their clients to explore their concerns and work towards a normalised eating pattern.
Contact Hoys Allied Health + Wellness if you wish to make an appointment with an Accredited Practising Dietitian.