A person with Anorexia Nervosa is usually very unwell and requires help to improve their physical, psychological and social wellbeing. There are numerous reasons why one might develop an eating disorder including: a genetic predisposition; the survival of trauma, bullying or abuse; a way of coping with the feeling of a lack of belongingness in society/within one's adopted culture; difficulty coping with sexual maturity, sexuality or gender orientation; or one of several other psychosocial reasons.
For some, restricting food can be a way of controlling areas of life that feel out of control. Furthermore, one's entire sense of self-worth can be narrowly defined by their body image. Restricting food can also be a way of expressing emotions that may feel too difficult to cope with. People in these circumstances will often experience days flooded with intrusive thoughts of pain, stress or anxiety.
Restrictive dieting and excessive exercise can be contributing factors to the onset of Anorexia. Some may use dieting to attempt to achieve socially desireable body goal that aligns with a thin or athletic body, whilst others may over exercise and control their diet to achieve the muscular body ideal.
There are two sub-types of Anorexia, and both are very serious mental illnesses:
- Restricting Sub-type: in this sub-type, people place severe restrictions on the amount and type of food they consume by restricting certain food groups, counting calories, skipping meals, following obsessive rules and rigid thinking, with or without excessive exercise.
- Binge Eating/Purging Sub-type: in this sub-type, severe food restriction is accompanied with purging behaviour with or without binge eating episodes. Binge eating involves eating a large amount of food whilst feeling a loss of control of the eating. Purging behaviours can include self-induced vomiting, or deliberately misusing laxatives, diuretics or exercise to compensate for food that has been or will be eaten.
It is possible to recover from Anorexia Nervosa, even if you have been living with the illness for many years. The path to recovery can be long and challenging, however with the right team supporting you and a high level of commitment, recovery is achievable. Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa is available at our clinic through a Dietitian who holds specialised knowledge in treating eating disorders.