Anorexia nervosa is not simply a weight disorder or just about food. It’s a mental illness that profoundly affects an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
Are you or a loved one battling anorexia? Discover the different types of anorexia, when to seek help, signs and symptoms, and available treatment options.
September 26, 2023
Anorexia nervosa is characterised by restrictive eating, where food is limited to a dangerous and potentially life-threatening extent. Typically, there is an overwhelming fear of weight gain and a persistent preoccupation with body shape and weight.
It’s essential to understand that anorexia nervosa is not simply a weight disorder or just about food. It’s a mental illness that profoundly affects an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Often, anorexia serves as a coping mechanism to manage challenging emotions and regain a sense of control.
If you or someone you know is suffering from anorexia, you’re not alone, and support is available. Take the initial step towards recovery by reaching out to us at Natural Food Therapy. Our dedicated specialists take a compassionate and personalised approach to guide you through the healing journey.
Your path to recovery begins with a conversation. Don’t hesitate — reach out today for a confidential consultation, and let’s build a brighter future together.
There are three main types of anorexia: restricting anorexia, binge eating/purging anorexia, and atypical anorexia. It’s important to understand that not everyone neatly fits into one of these categories, as every person’s experience of an eating disorder is unique.
While all forms of anorexia involve restrictive eating, the Restricting Type is categorised by severe restrictions on how much and the types of foods being eaten. Behaviours associated with this subtype often include meticulous calorie counting, frequent self-weighing, elimination of foods or food groups, and rigid adherence to strict eating rules.
Binge-purge type combines elements of both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Individuals suffering from this type will experience binge eating episodes where they consume large amounts of food over a short period of time. This is followed by compensatory purging behaviours such as self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or taking laxatives.
Despite these binge-purge episodes, individuals with this subtype may still maintain a low body weight. For some with this subtype, they may perceive even a relatively small amount of food as a ‘binge’.
Atypical anorexia mirrors the characteristics of the Restricting Type, with the only exception that individuals may not be medically underweight. Despite maintaining a weight considered “normal” by medical standards, their eating patterns and emotional struggles closely align with those seen in anorexia nervosa.
It’s important to emphasise that Atypical Anorexia is a prevalent form of anorexia and should not be misconstrued as rare or ‘atypical’ in any sense.
Most people commonly relate rapid weight loss or being medically underweight to anorexia, which is indeed a sign for some. However, it’s important to understand that anorexia often presents itself through a range of other signs and behaviours. Anorexia is a complex mental illness that encompasses not only physical expressions but also emotional, behavioural and psychological aspects.
There is no single known cause of anorexia or one way of experiencing it. Most commonly, the illness stems from a complex cluster of underlying causes that lead to an individual turning to the eating disorder as a way of coping. Some of the factors that may contribute include:
It’s essential to recognise that anorexia is a multifaceted condition, and the combination of these factors can vary greatly from one person to another.
If you’re supporting a loved one who is battling anorexia, here are some crucial steps to provide the care and understanding they need:
By following these steps with empathy and patience, you can play a vital role in your loved one’s journey toward recovery from anorexia. You may wish to book a consultation with a specialist to learn more about how you can support a loved one through recovery.
Diagnosing anorexia typically involves a comprehensive assessment conducted by a medical professional. It often starts by reaching out to a GP, who can then refer you for an assessment.
If you display signs and symptoms of anorexia, a thorough evaluation is conducted to ensure an accurate diagnosis, paving the way for appropriate treatment. This assessment typically involves asking questions about your thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and attitudes concerning food, weight, and body image. Additionally, healthcare providers may order tests to check for imbalances or side effects of anorexia, such as nutritional deficiencies.
The aims for anorexia treatment may include:
These components work together to provide a comprehensive approach to the treatment of anorexia nervosa. The treatment plan is often personalised to meet the individual’s unique needs and may involve a combination of these elements. Early intervention and ongoing support can be supportive of recovery.
Recovery is not just a distant hope but a real possibility for those facing anorexia. On our testimonial page, we have gathered stories of individuals who have found their way through recovery. Hearing from others can serve as a powerful beacon of hope, reminding us that recovery is always possible.
At Natural Food Therapy, we provide a distinctive approach to anorexia recovery, offering a comprehensive programme that works alongside medical intervention. Our team of anorexia coaches consists of trained nutritional therapists with specialised expertise in eating disorders. What sets us apart is our commitment to providing highly personalised care, with a maximum of five clients per specialist.
Our holistic support approach encompasses various therapeutic modalities, including nutritional therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), counselling skills, specialist coaching, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and more. Throughout your journey, you’ll have the support of one dedicated specialist, ensuring a personalised and effective path to recovery. This approach is ideal for those who do not require inpatient care and are seeking a tailored, holistic, and compassionate approach to healing.
Find true recovery from Anorexia. Our private coaching programme provides an eating disorder specialist who steps into your recovery with you.