How can I deal with the challenge of anorexia?

How can I deal with the challenge of anorexia

Although I am not a medical person, from my observations and (limited) experience I understand that self esteem can be a major component of anorexia and perhaps not coming to terms with "growing up" and being responsible for one's own life.  There is a very real need to develop new habits. There is a psychological element to this disorder - and there is certainly hope for complete recovery.

When facing any adversity, I believe that it is extremely important to talk about it with an understanding and knowledgeable counsellor.

It may be difficult for someone suffering from anorexia to realise that their eating habits are not "normal" and they may have a distorted view of what is a "normal" body image.  What I believe is that when you recognise a life challenge, or issue, then you're 50% of the way through the challenge.  The next 25% is saying - Yes, I want to do something about it.  The remaining 25% is doing it - that's what my methods help with - and to be more specific about this, it is important to use a goal, with visualisation to help re-establish a healthy, sensible eating regime.  In addition, a goal of body image would be important - to visualise your beautiful self wearing a lovely size 12 dress (instead of size 8).

Recently I happened to be listening to ABC Radio National Health Matters program and heard Dr. Norman Swan interviewing Dr Per Soedersten from Sweden on the topic of Anorexia and Bulimia. 

Dr Per Soedersten goes back to basics, throws out psychiatric theory, stops drugs and reckons these disorders are explained by progressive starvation and the profound changes to hormones in the brain which results from this starvation. His therapy is just about the only treatment for anorexia proven to work in a scientific trial. Dr Soedersten, a researcher and clinician, is Professor of Behavioural Neuro-Endocrinology at the Karolinska Institute, Novum, S-141 57 Huddinge, Sweden 

Dr Soedersten has amazing success results with the rate of remission being 75%, and that's full remission. Out of the 25% who do not go into full remission, half of those go into partial remission. About 10% or 12% do not get better. The risk of relapse is 7%.

In his treatment, Dr Soedersten does not use any medication at all because he believes the usual drugs prescribed simply do not work. In fact he believes that the main anti-depressants prescribed (eg. Prozac) make the condition worse, by producing the very hormone or chemical transmitter that inhibits eating (ie. Serotonin, which is prescribed for obese people to lose weight!).

Patients come in to the Institute for one-and-a-half days, for a very careful clinical examination, and are then divided on the basis of the severity of their disorder. About 30% are treated as in-patients for an on-average 25 days, and the others are treated as out-patients. The treatment consists of four things: training of eating using a computer-scale; warming up in warm rooms; slowing down the physical activity which is very important. The fourth thing is to restore social life and for that there is a range of support such as teachers, hairdressers, dentists and housing officers. 

It was a patient who suggested to Dr Soedersten to use a computer scale, because she said 'I don't know how to eat, I don't know how to feel when I have had sufficient.' So, to train them to eat, a patient is asked to estimate their level of when their appetite is satisfied and they have had enough to eat. The computer scale is used and the bar is gradually raised.

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