Eating disorders can have devastating effects on a person’s life. Anorexia is one such eating disorder. So, what exactly is it? Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that drives a person to be obsessed with weight loss and having a perfectly slim body.
Anorexic people are characterized by having an abnormally low body weight and are constantly disturbed by the idea of gaining weight. They attach their self-worth to their body weight. So, no matter how low their body weight gets, they are never really satisfied and always fear gaining weight. In order to maintain their particular body image, the anorexic person uses unhealthy measures like using laxatives, diuretics, enemas, and diet pills. Sometimes this condition even becomes life-threatening.
All in all, this condition is an unhealthy way to cope with uncomfortable and emotional issues in life. It’s a desperate attempt to be in control. Due to the complex nature of this disease, diagnosis, and treatment becomes even more important.
This disorder can become life-threatening, if not treated at the right time. Hence, it is extremely important to detect it early on and take the required steps to treat it. However, it’s not necessarily easy to detect it. Anorexia can often be misdiagnosed as a normal dieting or self-consciousness issue. What makes diagnosis even more difficult is the concealing and denial of the issue by the patient. But there’re certain warning signs that you can look out for.
Here’re are a few important warning signs that can help you segregate an anorexic person from a normal person:
- Worrying too much about calories, food, weight gain, and dieting
- Constantly complaining about having gained weight, which is not the case actually
- Denying eating foods with certain nutrients. For e.g., Eliminating foods having carbohydrates
- Following an extremely difficult exercise regime
- Avoiding people and lack of interest in usual activities
- Lying about the amount of food consumed
- Refraining from eating in public
- Constantly checking yourself in the mirror
- Layering yourself with clothes so that people are unable to see your body fat
Understanding Their Behavior
Anorexic persons display extreme eating patterns and behaviors such as following a very rigid diet, binge-eating secretly, and constantly counting calories. They often go to extreme lengths to hide their problems. It can be difficult for you to watch someone suffering from it when there is obviously a way out of this. It is important to understand their behavior if you want to really help them overcome their disorder.
It might be difficult for you to understand why they act the way they act, but know that it’s the way this disease is. You might feel like forcing them to stop these self-destructive eating habits and patterns but know that it’s more complicated than it seems. You need to understand that anorexic patients use food to cope with their uncomfortable emotions.
Every behavior they exhibit is a form of coping mechanism. Restricting food is a way to seek control. Overeating is used as a means to cope with sadness, loneliness, or any other uncomfortable emotions. While purging is used to cope with the feelings of self-loathing and helplessness. Eventually, these people lose their ability to see themselves in good light and let their diet and weight obsession define their lives. Thus, overcoming this ailment boils down to identifying the underlying cause behind it.
Hence being a support system to the person dealing with this eating disorder is extremely important. You need to be empathetic towards them and encourage them while they are both on and off therapy.
It is very normal for an anorexic person to deny the condition when you confront them at first. They may even shut you off. But don’t give up. Stay patient and give them some time. Over time they may open up to you and accept that they might have a problem. The key is not to give up and keep the communication going.
It’s important to be empathetic towards them when they do open up. You must listen to them intently and without judgment. You need to show them that you care and believe in them. You need to assure them that you are there for them in their times of need.
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Educate Yourself About Their Disorder
In order to help your loved one suffering from an eating disorder, you need to educate yourself about this disorder. Learning about their disorder and the challenges people face while dealing with it is extremely important and will provide you with valuable insights as to how you can contribute to their healing journey.
Scrounge the internet for the articles, blogs, journals, and research papers on it. You can find some great information in the various online resources available on the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC). Visiting the local support groups and treatment centers is also helpful.
Recognize Their Triggers
Recognizing their triggers is crucial when you are supporting someone with an eating disorder. You need to be mindful and careful about these triggers. Be careful when you discuss diet and weight issues. Don’t discuss these things when it comes to your own body.
Try to act normally when you are having meals with the person dealing with anorexia. You are establishing a healthy relationship with food by doing so.
Challenge Diet Culture
Diet culture has led to many people obsessing over the shape of their bodies. This led to a lot of eating disorders among people, including anorexia. Hence it’s important to raise your voice against it, especially when a close friend or relative is suffering from it. Make sure to put your point across but not in an aggressive way. Make them realize that their worth isn’t dependent on the number on the weighing scale or the shape of their body.
Help Them Get Anorexia Counseling from a Trusted Therapist With DocVita
Dealing with anorexia is not easy. We know it can get extremely overwhelming. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of obsessive and unhealthy eating patterns and behaviors. But know that there’s always help available.
So, don’t hesitate and book a session with a trusted therapist who can help you overcome this disorder. We at DocVita have various specialists from different fields to help you manage and cope with your eating disorder. All you have to do is hop on to DocVita’s book a therapist page and schedule your session.