- refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
- an intense fear of gaining weight
- a distorted body image
There are two types of anorexia. In the restricting type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by following drastic diets, fasting, and excessive exercise. In the purging type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by vomiting or by using laxatives and diuretics.
First Aid for Anorexia begins with consulting a mental health professional who specializes in eating disorders. Common treatments include:
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy consists of individual, group, and family therapy designed to help victims explore the reasons why their eating disorder developed. Psychotherapy also boosts self-confidence, and teaches healthier ways to respond to stress and emotional issues.
- Nutritional Counseling is comprised of nutritionists and dieticians who can teach victims how to create individualized meal plans, and help them set goals toward achieving a healthier weight.
- Support Groups also offer a safe environment for sharing stories, receiving advice and gathering encouragement. Victims of eating disorders, who regularly visit peer operated support groups, often find them very helpful.
- Residential Treatment is only recommended when treating extreme cases of anorexia; especially when the condition has become life threatening. In severe cases, behavioral issues and nutritional levels will need constant monitoring in order to increase the odds of recovery.
People suffering from eating disorders like anorexia may choose a combination of these treatments. All forms of treatment might not be available in some areas. The important thing to remember is that eating disorders of any kind are not healthy, and that it is crucial to seek professional help before the disorder becomes life threatening. Before help can be obtained, the victim needs to admit there is a problem and must be willing to accept the need for treatment.
- Mirror-mirror.org: http://www.mirror-mirror.org/help-for-eating-disorders.htm
- Helpguide.org: http://helpguide.org/mental/anorexia_signs_symptoms_causes_treatment.htm