How is anorexia nervosa treated?
A variety of treatment approaches are being used nowadays, alone or in combination, and no one treatment plan fits every individual. Simply restoring a person to normal weight is not enough. Being able to eat without obsessing about food, weight, and appearance is the ultimate goal of treatment. Behavior modification and individual, group, and family psychotherapies may be employed alone or in combination. Support groups and self–help groups are often helpful. Medications are sometimes useful for the symptomatic relief of depression or anxiety, but they have little effect on the basic processes underlying anorexia.
How can I help a friend with anorexia nervosa?
Watching someone you care about slowly kill themselves can be horrifying. You may get angry with them or may be too frightened and confused to do anything. The first and most important step you can take is to educate yourself about anorexia. If you decide to talk to your friend alone, do approach your friend gently, but persistently. Focus on the reason why he/she could benefit from help. Be supportive, and give non–judgmental feedback based on observations about her/his eating habits and weight. Don’t feel obligated to keep your friend’s “Secret” when his/her health and thinking are impaired. Don’t be deceived by your friend’s denial of the problem. Don’t change your own eating habits when your friend is around, but do cooperate with your friend’s requests regarding availability of certain “Problem” foods. Remember that professional help is available for your friend, as well as support for you. Finally, don’t expect your friend’s behavior to change quickly. Recovery from eating disorders can be a lengthy process.
How can I take care of myself if I have anorexia?
If you’ve been having this problem, we urge you to seek help. A few people can change their eating disorders all by themselves and never have relapses, but for the majority, the problem is too big to fix themselves. You deserve to be happy and healthy. You are not alone and you do not have to live like this forever. Join a support group, it’s a good way to be around other people who understand what you are going through. See a health care provider on a regular basis, and a nutritionist to educate yourself on eating for a healthy life. Get your rest, exercise in moderation, and balance work with recreation and social activities.
What can be done to help prevent anorexia nervosa?
Challenge cultural attitudes and values which promote the development of eating disorders. Explore your own values about body, image, self–worth, and self–acceptance. Advocate the importance of self esteem based on inner beauty and personal strengths, rather than on appearance or weight. Promote attitudes and behaviors towards food, body image, and exercise that encourage psychological and physical health. Work to eliminate what the Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention Organization calls the 3 Ds: Body Dissatisfaction, Dieting Behavior, and Drive for Thinness. Become aware of your own internal judgment about others bodies and work to change it. Accept yourself for who you are, not how you look. Don’t “Weigh” your self–esteem.