The REAL Truth About Anorexia That Every Parent Should Know

1 Feb

It is a common misconception that the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa exists merely due to a deep rooted desire to lose weight which results in a distorted view of oneself which grossly magnifies either real or imagined imperfections with a person’s body.

Living with an eating disorder is much like living with an alternate personality. On the outside is the calm, diligent individual who rarely rocks the boat with friends and family, they are often dedicated to perfecting standards in all manner of situations, and are usually gifted in one or more areas of creative expression. The disordered individual that emerges within is darker in character, brutally self-critical, an exacting analyst of every angle of every situation, a determined person with high expectations and a compulsion to secrecy. Once this entity (which some refer to as Ana – a female entity that is often associated with Anorexia – a voice, sometimes even a face to match this darker side to oneself) has become established, there are few times if any that only one side shall ever be in complete control without the influence of the other.

The inner turmoil and confliction that this cause is often contradictory to the underlying issues that allow the disorder the opportunity to take hold of its victim in the first place; usually a feeling of helplessness to affect or control one’s own existence. Many factors may bring about this view of one’s self whether it is as extreme as a form of abuse or as simple as a well-intentioned parent pushing the natural abilities of their child to ensure the best for their future.

It’s worth noting that the complexities of the individual mind means that the exact cause or range of causes for each person developing the disorder are indeed as unique as that person and that no two cases are exactly the same.

If you are living with (or know) someone who is battling with Anorexia, it is crucial to understand that recovery may only be attempted and successful when carried out on the terms of the person concerned. This is due to two very important reasons:

1) At the core of the disorder is the need to maintain control over one’s choices and existence in general. Taking this control away will result in either a temporarily faked lift from the disorder – followed by a severe crash back into it, or an instantly stronger insistence that intervention is neither welcomed nor required. Either way, the experience will be negative and the person will be less inclined to attempt recovery a second time.

2) The conflicting thoughts and emotions that Anorexics live with cause them to interact on a different level than other people around them. For example, they may open up to other conflicted souls online, but clam up or say what is needed or expected in a more formal situation such as with a Doctor or Psychiatrist.

A failure to understand the sheer magnitude of importance of these two facts hugely contributes to the high number of failed attempts at recovery across the globe

Therefore, it is important first to thoroughly research what is known medically about the condition, and then to interact with people who live with it, to gain a true understanding of what your loved one or acquaintance is experiencing before broaching the subject with them. This increases your chances of opening and maintaining effective communication with that person and as such, dramatically raises the chances of successful long term support and recovery for the individual concerned.

You can find more information on Anorexia in the following article here.

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