Overcoming anorexia is difficult! Please know you are not alone. When this disorder takes control, you sometimes need extra support. It can be difficult to find the right path. Sometimes the right therapist or friend isn’t the right one. Does a therapist even know how to help?
You see, anorexia can be numbing. It can create a hollow detachment from everything. It’s a safety mechanism and one that is biologically based. This isn’t your fault and we wish we could snap our fingers and fix it all immediately. In fact because that is nearly impossible, that’s probably why the disorder took control to begin with.
So what do you look for?
Many believe that Anorexia is simply a person that restricts their food and looks too thin. We know this isn’t the case. There are reasons anorexia is triggered biologically in the brain. You can be going through a difficult relationship, struggling with depression, bullied in school. A person may have just lost a close relative or friend. It can get confusing because sometimes dissatisfaction in day to day life can cause depression and lack of eating. All because someone doesn’t fit a stereotype doesn’t mean you aren’t struggling with a relationship with food.
Control is one of the main identifiers.
You many find you are oddly fixated on perfectionism, body and weight. These thoughts run your life and challenge everything you do. Whatever you do is not good enough. If you’re not perfect than feeling fat happen. You may be controlling food by avoiding social events. You refuse meals because you don’t feel good enough. If you find yourself entrenched or fighting with this, it may be time to get help.
You may not communicate well. You have difficulty asserting yourself. This creates confusion and misunderstanding. Just think, if you can’t access your emotions how do you know what to talk about?
You are great at hiding. It’s how anorexia started in the first place and keeps you safe. If you are a person who wants to get better, you may have to come out and face the truth.
Ask yourself, “What is my relationship with food?” Anorexia treatment takes this question and puts it on it head! This is just the tip of the iceberg. A simple question, it presents more complex when therapeutically discussed. It’s one that can not be answered alone. It takes a specialist to understand that association of food restriction, exercise, isolation, perfectionism, emotional avoidance, relationships, school, work and the management of the anorexia as the keystone to holding it all together.
Anorexia is very complex.
We know how to help.
When the issue becomes scary and you don’t know what to do, working with a specialist will break the cycle. You know better than anyone else, this is a horrible experience. You may not even want to give it up. There’s so much holding you back and yet it’s the only thing that is keeping you strong.
But do you only focus on the anorexia treatment?
As a specialist we are trained and adept in anxiety, family issues, depression, codependency, school problems, bipolar disorder, self harm, and other mood and behavioral problems that are often co-occuring.
But why a specialist?
If you went to a general practitioner, would you trust them to do surgery on your gallbladder? Now, if you were going a specialist in gallbladder surgery, would you trust them to be a general practitioner? A specialist has to know how everything connects and how to handle the entire system. That’s the benefit. Therapists who specialize in anxiety, depression, even CBT don’t know how to address the eating disorder.
Can you offer tools and insight?
Yes. We will help you to develop more awareness of why this disorder began in the first place. You can create the sense of strength and renewal you deserve. Working with expertise and know-how will change your life.
For the perfectionist, obsessive controlled (OCD) behavior is difficult to challenge. We know how to create a wedge between your impulse and urges. We are trained in CBT and psychodynamic approaches that will utilize new skills to help build awareness. You then will have the power to challenge not only your thoughts but your actions.
Anorexia often can present as a surprise to family and even you! You may have a perfect life. Work hard to achieve your goals, always be happy and never cause a problem. Sometimes this can cause rigid obsessions. You may pride yourself on being a perfectionist, often not causing any commotion. If you are a parent you may find yourself saying, “..but we’ve never had a problem with our child. This doesn’t add up..”
Further signs and symptoms of anorexia include:
- extreme weight loss
- thin appearance
- abnormal blood counts
- elevated liver enzymes
- dizziness or fainting
- brittle nails
- hair that thins, breaks or falls out
- absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
- development of fine hair on the extremities (lanugo)
- dry skin
- intolerance of cold
- irregular heart rhythms
- low blood pressure
- osteoporosis, the loss of bone calcium, which may result in broken bones
There are ways to prevent it from getting worse and stop it before control takes over.