Online Therapy Can Help You To Overcome Anorexia Nervosa- Resolve Your Battle With Food And Start Living A Healthy Life | 24 x 7 Chat Support
“I used to stuff my mouth with cotton balls. I was obsessed with my weight and I could do anything to look thin even at the cost of my health and even my life” says Farah.
Farah is a 27 years old woman working as an assistant writer for movies and TV series. She started off her career as a model at the age of 19 years. It was during those years that Farah experienced extreme body image issues and adapted to a rigorous diet.
An eating disorder does not develop overnight. It begins with casual thoughts, beliefs, and small actions. For Farah, it started as regular dieting which turned into an irrational obsession with calorie intake. She would count every single calorie and would feel highly anxious if her calorie intake exceeded even the slightest.
Farah was a beautiful young woman and yet she despised the way she looked. She would stand in front of the mirror and only focus on her flaws and imperfections. She was constantly caught up in how she can lose more weight. Her condition worsened so much that she started fainting every day. That is when her grandmother urged Farah to quit her work and consult the doctor immediately.
The doctor studied Farah’s condition and recommended she to see a psychologist. He suspected that Farah could be suffering from an eating disorder and it would be best to take the opinion of a qualified therapist.
During her sessions of online therapy, Farah was diagnosed with Anorexia nervosa. From a very young age, she had developed an obsession with her body and weight. When she joined her modeling career, this obsession took a terrible turn. It not only depleted her physical health but also had a great impact on her emotional well-being.
Online therapy helped Farah to modify her negative self-beliefs and learn how to manage her anxiety and excessive worry about her weight. A combination of CBT techniques and regular mindfulness practices helped Farah gain better control over her thoughts and emotions and gradually helped her to overcome anorexia nervosa.
What Is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder that involves an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image. People with anorexia nervosa typically restrict their food intake to an extreme degree, leading to significant weight loss and other health complications. This disorder affects individuals of all genders, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and it is often associated with other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
What Are Some Factors That Contribute To Anorexia Nervosa?
There are many factors that contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa. These include genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and cultural pressures. Research suggests that individuals with a family history of eating disorders or mental illness may be more susceptible to developing anorexia nervosa. Environmental factors, such as a history of childhood trauma or abuse, can also increase the risk of developing this disorder.
Cultural factors also play a significant role in the development of anorexia nervosa. In many Western societies, there is a strong emphasis on thinness and an idealized body type. This can create pressure to conform to societal standards of beauty and contribute to the development of disordered eating behaviors. Additionally, social media and other forms of media may contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa by promoting unrealistic beauty standards.
It is interesting to note that Eating Disorders are more common in women than in men.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), women make up about 90-95% of all cases of anorexia nervosa.
There are several factors that may contribute to the higher prevalence of anorexia nervosa in women:
Cultural and societal factors: There is a cultural emphasis on thinness and beauty in many societies, particularly in Western cultures. Women may be more likely to internalize these societal pressures and develop unhealthy attitudes and behaviors toward food and weight.
Biological factors: Hormonal differences between men and women may also play a role in the development of eating disorders. For example, estrogen and progesterone may affect appetite and metabolism, while testosterone may increase muscle mass and decrease body fat.
Psychological factors: Women may be more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, which are all risk factors for the development of eating disorders.
Social factors: Women may be more likely to be exposed to traumatic events, such as sexual abuse or bullying, which can increase the risk of developing anorexia nervosa.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anorexia Nervosa?
The signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa can vary depending on the individual, but generally fall into four categories: physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral.
Physical signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa may include:
- Significant weight loss or being significantly underweight for one’s age and height.
- Feeling cold all the time, even in warm environments.
- Constipation or digestive problems.
- Abdominal pain or bloating.
- Fatigue or weakness.
- Hair thinning or hair loss.
- Dry skin or hair.
- Low blood pressure or heart rate.
- Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) in females.
Mental signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa may include:
- Obsessive thoughts about food, weight, and body shape.
- Fear of gaining weight or becoming fat.
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly.
- Perfectionism or an overly critical view of oneself.
- Denial or minimization of the seriousness of the problem.
Emotional signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa may include:
- Anxiety or panic attacks.
- Depression or low mood.
- Irritability or mood swings.
- Social withdrawal or isolation.
- Guilt or shame.
Behavioral signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa may include:
- Restricting food intake or avoiding certain foods.
- Counting calories or weighing food obsessively.
- Engaging in excessive exercise or other forms of physical activity.
- Skipping meals or making excuses to avoid eating.
- Using laxatives or diuretics to lose weight.
- Eating in secret or hiding food.
- Wearing loose or baggy clothing to hide weight loss.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to seek help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional as soon as possible. Early intervention and online therapy can help to prevent long-term health consequences and increase the chances of recovery.
Which Therapies Can Help To Overcome Anorexia Nervosa?
Online therapy is a key component in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, as it helps individuals to develop new coping strategies, improve self-esteem and body image, and address underlying psychological issues that contribute to the development and maintenance of the disorder.
There are several different types of online therapy that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and family-based therapy (FBT). Let’s look at each of these in more detail:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to the development and maintenance of anorexia nervosa. In CBT, individuals learn to challenge distorted thoughts and beliefs about their body and weight, develop healthy eating behaviors, and address anxiety and depression.
Research suggests that CBT can be highly effective in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. For example, a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that CBT was effective in reducing eating disorder symptoms and improving body image in adults with anorexia nervosa.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT is a type of therapy that focuses on improving interpersonal relationships and communication skills. This can be particularly helpful for individuals with anorexia nervosa who struggle with social isolation and difficulty expressing their emotions.
Research studies has shown that IPT can be effective in reducing eating disorder symptoms and improving interpersonal functioning in individuals with anorexia nervosa. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that IPT was effective in improving social adjustment and reducing depressive symptoms in individuals with anorexia nervosa.
Family-based therapy (FBT): FBT is a type of therapy that involves family members in the treatment process. In FBT, parents are trained to take an active role in helping their child to restore healthy eating habits and weight, and to address family dynamics that may be contributing to the development of anorexia nervosa.
Research has shown that FBT can be highly effective in the treatment of anorexia nervosa in adolescents. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that FBT was effective in improving eating disorder symptoms and weight restoration in adolescents with anorexia nervosa.
The length of online therapy for anorexia nervosa can vary depending on the individual and their specific needs. Generally, online therapy may continue for several months to a year or more. It is important to work closely with a therapist or treatment team to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your needs.
How To Take Care Of Yourself After Online Therapy To Avoid Relapses?
After online therapy is completed, it is important to continue to take care of yourself to avoid relapses. This may include continued online therapy, support groups, and ongoing medical care. It is also important to continue to engage in healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet and to avoid triggers that may contribute to a relapse, such as negative body image messages or stressful situations.
Eating Disorders are serious psychological concerns that can hamper your health and deprive you of a healthy and happy life. Fortunately, with regular online therapy, it is possible to manage the causes of eating disorders and eventually live a life without the constant need to worry about your weight.
Always remember that you are beautiful just the way you are. You deserve to bask in your own glory and truly love yourself. Take a step toward a better you, not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. Whenever you are ready talk to our expert counselors and take online therapy at your convenience and pace.