Anorexia treatment can be rather tricky due to the fact that anorexia has strong psychological link ups., both with the shame and secrecy of the disease., coupled with an emphasis on control. With anorexia nervosa, to be successful in treatment the anorexic patient will have to understand and agree that their condition could kill them and that they need professional help to recover completely.
Anorexia Nervosa Treatment and Recovery
The first step in anorexia recovery – admit that ones relentless pursuit of thinness is damaging – physically and emotionally.
The second step is to fess up. Talk to a professional. Explain to them what your obsessive mind is telling you, and what it believes is true. Then, open your eyes and ears to a wealth of information that will be introduced to you. A professional can provide the feedback your mind needs to hear. Eating disorder professionals can educate you on how to recover from the malnourishment you have put your body through. They will help you develop healthier attitudes about food and your body.
Anorexia and its tendencies are much like an addiction., therefore it is strongly advised that there are rules set in place with respect to triggers. Triggers are people, places and activities that “trigger” or “stimulate” the addict or anorexic to start obsessing about weight, weight loss, exercise and sets the wheels of destruction in motion. This includes hanging out with friends that similarly have obsessive thoughts regarding diet and exercise.
Anorexia treatment may include medical doctors, psychologists, counselors, and dieticians.
Medications for the Treatment of Anorexia
SSRIs and SNRIs
Fluoxetine (Prozac) may help patients with anorexia overcome depression after they have successfully gotten their weight and eating under control. In a class of drugs called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Fluoxetine works to increase serotonin levels – a neurotransmitter connected to mood levels.
Typical side effects of SSRI medication
- Loss of interest in sex
- Weight gain
Olanzapine (Zyprexa), is an antipsychotic drug ordinarily prescribed to treat schizophrenia, though it has been discovered helpful for those with anorexia and obsessive thinking.
Typical side effects of Antipsychotic medication
Psychological Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa
Psychotherapy treatment helps to identify the what, where, who, and why in the formation of the patient’s eating disorder. Utilising a variety of techniques to manage and treat an eating disorder., emphasis during psychotherapy is on motivation, thoughts, emotions, behaviours and relationships. Psychotherapy is oftentimes coupled with medication to relief the depressive /anxious state of mind prevalent in patients. Family intervention is oftentimes the abrupt eye opener necessary in treating this very private disease. Referred to as family-based treatment (FBT)., it has been shown to be the most effective treatment and is most suited for children and adolescents. Th highest success rates for adults has been with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT helps patients change their behaviours that are maintaining the eating disorder. It also resolves the toxic thought patterns that contribute to the maintenance of the disorder.
Medical Cannabis and the treatment of Anorexia
Cannabinoid therapy – Anorexia treatment explained.
Studies have produced intriguing insights into the role played by the brain and how it interacts with the EDS (Endocannabinoid System). It has been discovered that the normal function of the endocannabinoid system becomes impaired in those patients suffering with either anorexia or bulimia.
A group of scientists from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) – Brain Scan
30 Patients with Anorexia or Bulimia
Using positron emission tomography (PET) scientists went in to investigate the status of the endocannabinoid system in the brains of thirty women. These 30 women all had either anorexia or bulimia. Scientist then compared their results with aged- matched control women.
The scientists discovered that the brain’s cannabis-like neurotransmitter system was significantly underactive in the women scanned who had anorexia or bulimia. Essentially, because these women could not fully experience the pleasure of food they then developed inappropriate rituals and responses to it.
Significantly underactive in the Insula region of the brain.
The part of the brain responsible and linked up to other eating disorders is the insula. When there is an obsession with food- the insula is the part of the brain where this is occurring. It is the brain’s EDS that controls the pleasure we get from sensory experiences. When there is pleasure.,this then motivates us to repeat based on the pleasure response. The insula is responsible for the integration of the taste of food with our response emotionally to eating. The insula processes information taking account of any and all sensations that determine how we feel. This factors in pain, temperature, stomach pH, intestinal tension. Integration of these internal feelings provides a compiled sense of the state of the entire body. The insula is the location within the brain where our sensory experience (from eating), our emotions (in response to eating) and thoughts (about why should not be eating!) get together to discuss.
Statistics for Anorexia Nervosa in Australia
Eating disorders are serious and affect more people than one might imagine.
- Approximately 9% of the Australian population is affected by an eating disorder.
- Full recovery for Anorexia patients is slim with only 46% of patients recovering permanently.
- 20% of anorexia patients remain chronically ill for the long term.
- Eating disorders are the 12th leading cause of mental health hospitalisation costs within Australia.
- In Australia Bulimia Nervosa and Anorexia Nervosa are the 8th and 10th leading causes, of burden of disease and injury in the female population ages 15 to 24.