What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder characterised by self-starvation, very often excessive exercise, and weight loss. Anorexia nervosa is subcategorised into restrictive (starvation) and purging (including bingeing and purging or excessive exercise). While it has psychological origins, it also obviously affects physical wellbeing.
Anorexia nervosa usually begins with a desire to diet and lose weight. It may be triggered by an event such as the end of a relationship or the death of someone significant. As many as 60% of patients suffering from anorexia nervosa have been sexually abused; the disorder following such a traumatic event. It may include the need to exert control over feelings the person feels unable to control, by instead controlling food intake.
Anorexic people are obsessed about food and are terrified by the thought of gaining weight. They eventually do not eat enough to sustain a healthy body weight. In addition, they suffer from a distorted body image, experiencing themselves as overweight when they are really thin.
Anorexic people may behave bizarrely about food, for example refusing to eat in front of other people, or hiding it around the house. Someone may be greatly interested in the preparation and cooking of food, but will not eat it. They may also cut out entire food groups, especially those considered high in fat or carbohydrates. Anorexic people may engage in excessive exercise patterns, binge eating, induced vomiting or use of laxatives. Diuretics are also abused. Appetite suppressants (most of which include pseudoephedrine) are frequently used to curb appetite.
People with anorexia nervosa will usually not acknowledge that there is something wrong with their eating patterns. This is typical in the early phase when the sufferer is still in denial. Anorexia is like an addictive state. It serves the purpose of blunting the sufferer from her/his uncomfortable emotional feelings, just as alcohol and drugs do in the chemical addict, and once the individual has started dieting and losing weight, it is very difficult for them to stop. The disorder may lead to various medical complications. It is potentially very dangerous and, if not treated appropriately, may result in death.
How can Imani help your anorexia treatment?
Imani Specialised Eating Disorder Unit is one of the most extensive programs in Cape Town, South Africa providing comprehensive and individually tailored care for those struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and co-occurring disorders. Led by eating disorder experts, Imani is chosen for its superior medical and psychiatric treatment, innovative therapies, individualised aftercare, alumni support and family involvement. Imani is recognised as leaders in the field of eating disorders, with an unparalleled treatment program and approach. The specialised inpatient programme offers a range of therapeutic opportunities and interventions designed to interrupt maladaptive behaviour patterns and promote behavioural and emotional growth and change. Our program includes:
- Individualised counselling
- Therapeutic groups
- Schema Therapy
- Nutritional counselling and guidance
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Life skills groups
- Creative expression
- Trauma debriefing
- Eating disorder support groups
- Interpersonal groups
- Art therapy
- Step work groups
- Focus groups
- Emotion focused therapy
- Monitored exercise
- Relapse prevention and discharge planning
As part of our reintegration program Imani is able to accommodate clients right from the initial phase of care (primary care) through to phases 4 and 5 (secondary, tertiary and sober living). As such Imani is one of the only treatment programs able to offer a complete range of care for all stages of recovery.