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11 Sep

Unearthing Anorexia Nervosa

If you must know, I was invited to be on Bella (NTV7) to speak about eating disorders recently and I myself learnt alot through talking about it and sharing it from a psychological viewpoint. Eating disorders has been deeply rooted in my heart recently because a friend’s sister is going through it and I share the pain him and his family face when it’s co-morbid with depression as well. I can’t go into much details here but it truly saddens me to hear someone going through any eating disorder especially when it’s closer to home.

Plus, I get scared when people around me go on crazy diet regimes to exercise or take laxatives to lose weight because it spells trouble for that person. Unbeknownst to many, eating disorders are not particularly triggered by the media portrayal of skinny or thin people, but many other factors such as

-Biological  : The chances of another sibling developing an eating disorder if their relative has one is 10x more likely than someone who doesn’t

– Striving for perfectionism: Many people who have anorexia or bulimia usually want to excel in everything, and use their weight as a indicator of success when it other things are out of control BUT they can control their own weight. For example, a person can set a goal not to eat for a whole day and if he/she succeeds, that’s an indicator of success for that person.

– Family emmeshment: Over-protective parents who control how their child looks, Family pressure to excel in everything are also reasons that can trigger anorexia

– Peer pressure: This is not discussed much but a major stressful event can also trigger anorexia such as friends who taunt that you are fat!

You are probably wondering what are signs you should note?

– Preoccupation with food: When a person always look at cookbooks, have cookout BUT DOES NOT EAT!

– Lying about eating or hiding it

– Calorie counting

– Preoccupation of losing weight: Exercise, laxatives, not eating are definitely signs

– Distorted body image: Always thinking they are fat when they are very skinny

The path to recovery is not easy but the first step for people with eating disorders is acknowledging that you have it and to seek treatment. One of the more effective treatments is cognitive behavioral therapy where it is not only changing behavior but also the way they think of themselves, and how they handle food. Of course, then nutrition kicks in to revitalize the body after so much restrictions.

Just in case you might not know, but anorexia patients can have it for a year or more before anyone notices it. So, remember to keep to not take it lightly if anyone around you show the signs stated above because if dragged for too long, alot of physical symptoms can occur such as dizziness, fainting, cessation of menstruation for girls, depression which may lead to suicide,etc.

Hope this post can help any of you suspecting someone who has anorexia, or if you have it yourself.

Yours truly,

Meiz

 

Choo Mei Sze
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