Anorexia Nervosa Treatment
Both Anorexia nervosa and bulimia are obsessive eating disorders, but they are not the same.
Anorexia describes people who, although thin and often weak, are certain that they need to lose more weight. They fear food and weight gain, and will hardly eat.
Bulimia describes people who try to eat less, then go on eating binges because they feel starved. Each one is concluded by purging (induced vomiting) in order to bring up the food eaten. Believing they are overweight, fearful of gaining more, these individuals rather consistently try to keep themselves starved. They tend to have low self-esteem, and often are depressed. Certain that they look terrible, and sure that eating still less might solve the problem, these folk have a thinking pattern which is difficult to change.
In some cases, drug and/or alcohol abuse is also involved. Lack of proper nutrition tends to intensify the feelings and attitudes. Almost all anorexics are women, typically between the ages of 12 to 18.
The word, “anorexia,” means “appetite loss,” and technically could apply to anyone who has an ongoing disinclination to eat food. This can be caused by stress, malnutrition, shock, or injury. But, today, the term is generally applied only to those who have anorexia nervosa. This article only applies to this latter definition.
Some consider anorexia nervosa to be a psychiatric illness. Others believe that reaction to a strong, underlying collection of allergenic foods is the problem. The often repeated phrase, “I always feel better when I don’t eat, and feel bad when I do,” can apply to both viewpoints. About a third of those with this problem prematurely die from starvation, infections, heart disorders, or suicide.
The underlying cause must be dealt with. Love and understanding is needed. Help from someone outside the family may be needed. However, there is danger in consulting professional counselors or psychologists, since they have been trained in hypnotic procedures; a growing number of instances are occurring where so-called “repressed memories” are implanted in the counselee. —And that only adds to the problems!
• Pray with the person and help her find peace in God. We must accept ourselves, physically, as we are, and go on from there.
• Perk up the appetite. Give betaine hydrochloride and pancreatic enzymes.
• Give herbs which help stimulate the appetite: sweet flag, calamus, yellow gentian, buckbean, or marsh trefoil. Give herbs before meals.
• A good nutritional program, along with vitamin/mineral supplementation, is vitally needed. The delicate problem is getting the individual to eat enough food, so that normal balances can be regained.