Anorexia Treatment in Beautiful San Diego
If you are struggling with anorexia nervosa, you may have realized that almost all of your emotional energy is spent navigating your dysfunctional relationship with food. Once a fortifying and pleasurable experience, eating has now become a source of fear, worry, ritual and obsession. You may wish to have a healthy relationship with food again, however, thinking about what that would look like causes unbearable anxiety. In a desperate effort to quell that anxiety, you exert more and more control over your eating – creating a cycle from which you fear there is no escape. If you are in need of anorexia treatment, we are here to let you know that your fears are understood and that there is a safe, compassionate setting for you to begin your healing journey.
Anorexia Nervosa: What is it?
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by significant weight loss resulting from the restriction of food or calories. A person suffering from anorexia has an intense fear of gaining weight. Her self-evaluation is distorted, so she will see herself as overweight even though she may be significantly underweight. She obsesses about her body and her relationship with food.
Who is Affected by Anorexia Nervosa?
Most of those who suffer from anorexia are women. In fact, about one percent of American women will struggle with anorexia in their lifetime. However, anorexia does not discriminate by gender, ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status. The causes of anorexia nervosa include a combination of cultural and social factors, as well as a possible genetic predisposition. Other contributing factors may be pressure for a certain body weight required for involvement in competitive sports. Extreme dieting often begins as a desperate attempt to achieve a slim body. But for some people, disordered eating patterns develop quickly, and weight loss becomes a secret obsession.
Signs of Anorexia Nervosa
How do you recognize the signs of anorexia in someone else? Signs and symptoms include dieting and extreme food preferences, low body weight or rapid weight loss, compulsive behaviors, anxiety, feeling cold, social isolation, feelings of guilt, water-electrolyte imbalance or dehydration, bruising, depression, dry hair or skin, and brittle nails. Anorexia can lead to serious medical complications such as osteoporosis, delayed puberty or slow growth, irregular menstruation or amenorrhea, seizure, stroke, heart attack, or even death.
How is Anorexia Treated?
Early treatment for anorexia has proven to help reduce the severity, duration, and long-term impact of the disorder. The psychological and medical complications are serious, so getting treatment is imperative. Treatment usually begins with an assessment by a knowledgeable mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders. The clinician will offer a recommendation for care based on the individual’s needs. For recovery to be successful, treatment must be comprehensive, considering all aspects of health and recovery. Treatment should include care for disordered eating as well as co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and trauma. Left untreated, co-occurring disorders will perpetuate relapse of disordered eating patterns, undermining psychological and physical recovery, and adding additional suffering and harm.
A treatment team may include support from a variety of medical and mental health professionals including a clinical psychologist, a nutritionist or dietician, a psychiatrist, a physician, or others. Sometimes, medications are used to treat the medical and psychological symptoms of anorexia, however, the core of anorexia treatment is the use of psychotherapies such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), family therapy, group psychotherapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
Someone I know may be struggling with anorexia. What can I do?
The first step is to start the conversation. There is no right or wrong way to talk with someone with an eating disorder. Sometimes approaching someone privately is most effective. Other times, an intervention can be helpful. If you suspect that someone you know is in need of treatment for anorexia nervosa, call and speak to our supportive, knowledgeable staff. We can provide you with guidance to help your loved one get the support they need.