Archive for the ‘Anorexia Help’ Category

How To Handle A Child With Anorexia

Friday, February 16th, 2007

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 0.5 to 3.7 percent of girls and women will develop anorexia nervosa over a lifetime, and around 1.1 to 4.2 percent will develop bulimia nervosa. Nearly 0.5 percent of anorexics die each year from the illness, making it one of the top psychiatric illnesses to cause death.

Those suffering from anorexia are extremely fearful of gaining extra weight and may exhibit negative behaviors and actions leading to severe weight loss. Pounds are lost by over-exercising and restricting calorie intake. Anorexics view their bodies in a distorted way. When they look in the mirror, despite being dangerously thin, they see themselves as too heavy. For concerned parents who have children with anorexia, there is an array of assistance available from programs at hospitals, treatment centers, and clinics specializing in eating disorder recovery.

One of the problems in overcoming anorexia is that those with the illness don’t usually see it that way—that don’t think they are sick. If somebody with anorexia is in immediate danger, they might need emergency care for malnourishment, including dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Long-term treatment entails a team effort with professionals trained in eating disorders, including dieticians, mental health professionals, medical doctors, and treatment centers:

• Dieticians. A dietitian will create meal plans and monitor calorie intake to implement a healthy diet. However, there’s more to recovering from an eating disorder than changing one’s eating habits.

• Mental Health Professionals. People who suffer from anorexia suffer emotionally and mentally as well. They need change the way they view themselves to boost their self-esteem, and their mood can benefit from carefully prescribed and monitored antidepressants. Psychiatric treatment sessions typically last at least a year and take place one-on-one, with family, or with other people with eating disorders.

• Medical Providers. While those still in the early stages (less than 6 months) typically avoid hospital stays, for people with advanced cases, checking into a unit for anorexia or bulimia may be required. People with anorexia need constant monitoring of electrolytes, hydration levels, and vital signs. A doctor should be involved in the on-going medical treatment.

• Treatment Centers. Clinics across the country provide a live-in environment for children suffering from anorexia. These centers provide a treatment team—dieticians, psychiatrists, and doctors—under one roof. Such programs entail an extended stay.

While concerned parents can’t force children with anorexia to stop, it is imperative to support them in their struggles. More and more, doctors and patients advocate family-centered therapy—letting parents back into the treatment process. For decades, parents were seen as an anorexic’s biggest problem and were even blamed as the cause for the disorder. Research has shown that while parents can influence a child’s eating disorder, they are typically not the cause. Known as the Maudsley approach (after the London-based hospital it was developed in), family-centered therapy focuses on helping parents become a support system. Food is the “medicine” to treat the illness, and doctors coach parents and their child through meals and appropriate behavior in a clinical setting. After a few tries, families are then sent home to continue the treatment. Patients benefit from the love and support afamily network provides.

Regardless of the approach settled on, for any treatment program to be successful, those with anorexia need the continued support of family and friends. Following is advice for parents, courtesy of The National Eating Disorders Foundation (www.edap.org):

Educate yourself about eating disorders. Read as much material as you can in magazines, books, articles, and brochures.

Understand the differences between facts and myths about weight, nutrition, and exercise. Being armed with facts will help you reason with your child about the misconceptions they adhere to.

Be truthful. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns to a child who struggles with eating or body image issues. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist does not help.

Be loving, yet firm. Loving your means you hold them accountable for their actions and the consequences of those actions. It does not mean you let them manipulate you. Do not make rules or promise you can’t or don’t intend to uphold, such as “I won’t tell anyone” or “If you do this anymore I won’t ever speak with you.”

Sincerely compliment your child on their terrific personality, accomplishments, or contributions. Reinforce the idea that beauty is not just skin deep.

Be a positive example in regard to your own eating, exercising, and self-acceptance.

Know when to share. It can be hard to know if you should share your concerns with somebody else, if at all. By addressing issues with eating or body image early, you stand a better chance of working through the issues with your child. Don’t wait to seek help until your child is extremely sick. They need as much support from you as possible.

About The Author

Rob Zawrotny is a copywriter for MWI. He has assisted Avalon Hills with developing content that is useful for parents who have children with eating disorders. Visit http://www.mwi.com and http://www.avalonhills.org for more information.

The Differences Between Anorexia And Bulimia

Friday, February 16th, 2007

The distinctions between eating disorders can be confusing. While anorexia and bulimia may have some issues in common, other factors make them distinct. For parents, understanding the differences can be crucial, as early detection and proper treatment significantly improve the chances a child will recover. Following is information to help distinguish between the two.

Definition:

Anorexia is more common in teenagers, while bulimia is more often seen in women in their 20’s. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking there is a set age for either of these diseases. Here are differences between anorexia and bulimia based on the American Psychiatric Association’s definition:

Bulimia Nervosa

•Recurrent episodes of binge eating (minimum average of two binge-eating episodes a week for at least three months).
•A feeling of lack of control over eating during the binges.
•Regular use of one or more of the following to prevent weight gain: self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics, strict dieting or fasting, or vigorous exercise.
•Persistent over-concern with body shape and weight.

Anorexia Nervosa

•Refusal to maintain weight that’s over the lowest weight considered normal for age and height.
•Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
•Distorted body image.
•In women, three consecutive missed menstrual periods without pregnancy.

Signs & Symptoms:

While both disorders focus on an obsession with thinness, anorexics display noticeable, often severe weight loss while bulimics usually maintain a healthy weight. Here are other signs and symptoms of these two eating disorders:

Anorexia
•Avoids eating
•Exercises excessively
•Weighs food and counts calories
•Wears baggy clothes
•Takes diet pills
•Has dry skin and thinning hair
•Has fine hair on other parts of body
•Acts moody or depressed
•Feels cold
•Has frequent sensation of dizziness

Bulimia
•Has a puffy face
•Exercises excessively
•Has swollen fingers
•Has cuts and calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles
•Discoloring or staining of teeth
•Goes to the bathroom a lot after eating (to purge)

Health Issues:
Both disorders can cause severe health issues. Bulimia damages the digestive system and can affect electrolyte balances, which in turn damages organs. The starvation of anorexia causes the body to slow down to preserve energy, which in turn has adverse consequences. In extreme cases, both can lead to death. Other health issues include:

Anorexia
•Reduction of bone density
•Cessation of menstrual periods
•Fatigue
•Depression
•Irregular heart rate, leading to possible heart failure
•Mild anemia
•Muscle loss
•Possible kidney failure due to dehydration
•Low blood pressure

Bulimia
•Possible rupture of the esophagus due to frequent vomiting
•Fatigue
•Depression
•Stomach pains
•Irregular heart rate, leading to possible heart failure
•Constipation
•Tooth decay from stomach acid

Treatment:
When seeking treatment, parents may find their child resists admitting they are ill. In dealing with a child suffering from an eating disorder, treatment for involves a team of specialists: doctors, dieticians, and therapists. Self-help groups and treatment centers are also effective. Following are treatment goals and options for anorexia and bulimia, based on recommendations from the National Institute of Mental Health:

Anorexia: The treatment of anorexia has three main phases:
•Restore weight loss
•Treat psychological issues such as depression, self-esteem, and interpersonal conflicts
•Achieve long-term recovery and remission

The use of anti-depressants for treating anorexia should be considered only after weight gain has been established.

Bulimia: The main goal in the treatment of bulimia is to eliminate binging and purging.
•Establish healthy and consistent eating habits, i.e. three meals a day at regular times
•Encourage healthy, not excessive, exercise
•Treat psychological issues such as mood or anxiety disorders

The use of anti-depressants for treating bulimia has been shown to be helpful for those with bulimia and may help prevent relapse.

About The Author

Rob Zawrotny is a copywriter for MWI web design. He has been assisting Avalon Hills Eating Disorder Treatment Center in developing content for those seeking information about Anorexia and Bulimia. Visit http://www.avalonhills.org for more information.

Eating Disorders and the Narcissist

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Patients suffering from eating disorders binge on food and sometimes are both anorectic and bulimic. This is an impulsive behaviour as defined by the DSM (particularly in the case of BPD and to a lesser extent of Cluster B disorders in general). Some patients develop these disorders as a way to self-mutilate. It is a convergence of two pathological behaviours: self-mutilation and an impulsive (rather, compulsive or ritualistic) behaviour.

The key to improving the mental state of patients with dual diagnosis (a personality disorder plus an eating disorder) lies in concentrating upon their eating and sleeping disorders.

By controlling their eating disorders, patients assert control over their lives. This is bound to reduce their depression (even eliminate it altogether as a constant feature of their mental life). This is likely to ameliorate other facets of their personality disorders. Here is the chain: controlling one’s eating disorders controlling one’s life enhanced sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem a challenge, an interest, an enemy to subjugate a feeling of strength socialising feeling better.

When a patient has a personality disorder and an eating disorder, the therapist should concentrate on the eating disorder. Personality disorders are intricate and intractable. They are rarely curable (though certain aspects, like OCD, or depression can be ameliorated with medication). Their treatment calls for the enormous, persistent and continuous investment of resources of every kind by everyone involved. From the patient’s point of view, the treatment of her personality disorder is not an efficient allocation of scarce mental resources. Also personality disorders are not the real threat. If a patient with a personality disorder is cured of it but her eating disorders are aggravated, she might die (though mentally healthy)…

An eating disorder is both a signal of distress (“I wish to die, I feel so bad, somebody help me”) and a message: “I think I lost control. I am very afraid of losing control. I will control my food intake and discharge. This way I control at least ONE aspect of my life.”

This is where we can and should begin to help the patient. Help him to regain control. The family or other supporting figures must think what they can do to make the patient feel that he is in control, that he manages things his own way, that he is contributing, has his own schedules, his own agenda, matter.

Eating disorders indicate the strong combined activity of an underlying sense of lack of personal autonomy and an underlying sense of lack of self-control. The patient feels inordinately, paralysingly helpless and ineffective. His eating disorders are an effort to exert and reassert mastery over his own life. At this stage, he is unable to differentiate his own feelings and needs from those of others. His cognitive and perceptual distortions (for instance, regarding body image – somatoform disorders) only increase his feeling of personal ineffectiveness and his need to exercise even more self-control (on his diet, the only thing left).

The patient does not trust himself in the slightest. He is his worst enemy, a mortal enemy, and he knows it. Therefore, any efforts to collaborate with HIM against his disorder – are perceived as collaboration with his worst enemy against his only mode of controlling his life to some extent.

The patient views the world in terms of black and white, of absolutes. So, he cannot let go even to a very small degree. He is HORRIFIED – constantly. This is why he finds it impossible to form relationships: he mistrusts (himself and by extension others), he does not want to become an adult, he does not enjoy sex or love (which both entail a modicum of loss of control). All this leads to a chronic absence of self-esteem. These patients like their disorder. Their eating disorder is their only achievement. Otherwise they are ashamed of themselves and disgusted by their shortcomings (expressed through shame and disgust directed at their bodies).

There is a chance to cure the patient of his eating disorders (though the dual diagnosis of eating disorder and personality disorder has a poor prognosis). This – and ONLY this – must be done at the first stage. The patient’s family should consider therapy AND support groups (Overeaters Anonymous). Recovery prognosis is good after 2 years of treatment and support. The family must be heavily involved in the therapeutic process. Family dynamics usually contribute to the development of such disorders.

Medication, cognitive or behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy and family therapy ought to do it.

The change in the patient IF the treatment of his eating disorders is successful is VERY MARKED. His major depression disappears together with his sleeping disorders. He becomes socially active again and gets a life. His personality disorder might make it difficult for him – but, in isolation, without the exacerbating circumstances of his other disorders, he finds it much easier to cope with.

Patients with eating disorders may be in mortal danger. Their behaviour is ruining their bodies relentlessly and inexorably. They might attempt suicide. They might do drugs. It is only a question of time. Our goal is to buy them time. The older they get, the more experienced they become, the more their body chemistry changes with age – the better their prognosis.

About The Author
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain – How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.

Visit Sam’s Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com
palma@unet.com.mk

If You Have a Friend with Anorexia Nervosa

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

It can be very difficult to discover that your friend has anorexia nervosa. It is often tricky to know how to react and what is the best way to approach the subject with them. But it is essential, especially for the newly diagnosed sufferer, that they should have the support and care of their friends so they do not feel alone. If you have no experience of conditions such as anorexia nervosa, hearing your friend recount how it affects them and how they feel about it can be very difficult and unsettling. But your help and support can be very beneficial to them in their fight against the disease. Often if someone has anorexia nervosa and has recently been you diagnosed, it can be very confusing for them. Although they will have realized that they are being careful and as they see it sensible, about their eating, it can come as a great shock when the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa is made. Even if they accept their anorexia nervosa, it does not always help. They can, if told that they will die if they carry on, just accept this and believe that it does not matter what they do as this is going to happen anyway and as such they might as well carry on with their “normal” way of doing things. Its important to realise this illness really does take control of your life which is wy its virtually imposible for somone that has it to get thrugh it themselves. It is essential that you do not reject them when you find out that they are ill. They need all the help and support that they can get, if they are going to beat the anorexia nervosa and get themselves back to a good state of health. People with anorexia nervosa can be very unreasonable some of the time and can say very hurtful things. Although this can be very difficult to cope with, it is worth bearing in mind that this is very often the disease talking. It is a good idea to see it in the perspective of your past friendship and realize that the person that you have had a long relationship with, has not suddenly taken a dislike to you and that they are being affected by their illness. The best way that you can help them, is to remain their friend and give them all the support that you can.

Mayoor Patel has published a best selling book on “The Truth about Anorexia” which can be found at my website which can be found here http://www.BeatAnorexiaNow.com/