Going through anorexia nervosa is unquestionably a difficult and traumatic experience for all those touched by the disease. Seeking out help for anorexia nervosa is perhaps equally challenging. When you finally must up the confidence to seek out professional help, you may be confused by the sheer number of potentially effective treatments on offer. At Rehab 4 Addiction, we attempt to remove this confusion by explaining, in plain English, the advantages and potential drawbacks of each anorexia nervosa treatment that's available to you today.
What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is a debilitating eating disorder. When you suffer from anorexia nervosa, you literally starve yourself. You will become dangerously underweight, and you may even die due to malnourishment. Anorexia nervosa is essentially a psychological disorder caused by a distorted physical self-perception. Whilst anorexia nervosa may affect both men and women, anorexia nervosa is most common amongst women aged between 14 and 24.
What causes anorexia nervosa?
There exist many potential causes of anorexia nervosa, however, these causes may be split into two broad categories. These categories include environmental and genetic causes.
The environmental causes of anorexia nervosa include low self-esteem, an eagerness to please others, family upheaval, bereavement, sexual abuse suffered in childhood, and beginning university or college. Genetic causes of anorexia nervosa related to your genetic disposition towards developing anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and general emotional distress.
What are the symptoms of anorexia nervosa?
The symptoms of anorexia nervosa are many, and these symptoms may differ between sufferers.
Below, we list some of the most common symptoms of anorexia nervosa:
- You label yourself as 'fat' even when you are not
- You experience a loss of menstrual periods and you lose desire to have sex with your partner
- You exercise specifically to burn off calories, even when this is detrimental to your health
- You severely limit the amount of food you eat to lose weight
- You experience significant weight loss over a short period of time
What are the physical symptoms of anorexia nervosa?
The physical symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:
- Brittle bones
- Kidney problems
- Heart problems
How may anorexia nervosa be treated?
Anorexia nervosa is a chronic illness that should be treated without delay. Around 10-20% of people suffering from anorexia nervosa will die due to complications arising from the disease. Many of these people do not receive any treatment for anorexia nervosa. If treatment had been sought, many of these people would not meet this fate.
One of the best forms of treatment for anorexia nervosa is to attend an anorexia rehab clinic. You will reside within the clinic for around 30-60 days. This is known as residential or inpatient rehab. At Rehab 4 Addiction, we typically recommend inpatient rehab for those of you who may have attained poor results from attending a treatment clinic on an outpatient basis.
Anorexia nervosa is caused by emotional issues. It's thus essential for these emotional issues to be fully addressed during therapy sessions. Rehab clinics recommend by Rehab 4 Addiction offer therapy techniques that are specifically designed to address the emotional issues that cause anorexia nervosa.
These therapy techniques include cognitive and behaviour therapy, dietary counselling and psychotherapy. Cognitive and behavioural therapy (CBT) is particularly effective in treating anorexia nervosa because CBT helps you to identify, challenge and change unhelpful thoughts that contribute to your anorexia nervosa.
Many rehab clinics we recommend also offer family therapy. It's essential for your family to understand your issues with anorexia nervosa are caused by emotional issues, and family therapy seeks to achieve this aim.
How long does anorexia nervosa rehab last?
The estimated duration of your anorexia rehab is determined during an assessment at the beginning of your rehab programme. This assessment is conducted by a psychiatrist or team of psychiatrists. The psychiatrist will assess your personal circumstances and the severity of anorexia nervosa. You may begin to receive anorexia rehab treatment on an outpatient basis. In more severe cases, you will be admitted to a residential anorexia nervosa rehab clinic for around 30-60 days.
What specialists are involved in an anorexia nervosa rehab?
When you attend an anorexia nervosa rehab clinic, you will receive treatment from a wide range of professionals. These professionals ensure all aspects of anorexia nervosa are sufficiently addressed during your rehab programme. These professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, specialist counsellors and nurses, dietitians and paediatricians. These professionals make up a multidisciplinary team who deliver on a vastly improved care plan for your needs.
Will I gain weight during an anorexia rehab programme?
During your stay at an anorexia nervosa rehab clinic, your physical health will be carefully assessed upon admission. If you are deemed to be underweight, a dietician will work closely with you in helping you gain weight slowly and steadily. This cautious approach to weight gain ensures the mental causes of anorexia nervosa are not unduly aggravated. At the beginning of your anorexia nervosa rehab programme, you will be given small amounts of food to consume. This amount is slowly increased as you begin to gain enough strength to process the additional food you are now eating.
The aim of anorexia nervosa rehab is to ensure you are eating three meals a day. You will also be given vitamin and mineral supplements.
Will I be given medication during my anorexia rehab programme?
Whilst medication is not capable of treating the underlying emotional causes of anorexia nervosa alone, you may be given medications that help to ease these symptoms. For instance, you may be given SSRI antidepressants to help treat depression and anxiety. You may also be given medication to help reduce anxiety. The rehab clinic you attend may only prescribe medication when you have not responded well to therapy.
What happens during an anorexia rehab?
Following the completion of inpatient anorexia rehab, you will begin to re-visit the rehab clinic on an outpatient basis. Intensive outpatient sessions is also known as an aftercare programme. These sessions ensure you receive ample therapy during the first 12-months of your recovery. Your family members will also be encouraged to attend aftercare sessions. This helps to strengthen your support network at home.
How may I access treatment for anorexia nervosa?
Rehab 4 Addiction is in contact with a large network of anorexia rehab clinics throughout the United Kingdom. These rehab clinics offered tailored treatment for anorexia nervosa. You thus benefit from treatment that's right for your precise needs. Get in touch today by dialling 0800 140 4690. We ensure you begin an anorexia rehab programme that's suitable for your needs.