McCallum Place is a nationally acclaimed eating disorder treatment center that has helped change the lives of individuals who struggle with anorexia. Proudly serving St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas City, McCallum Place is the premier provider of eating disorder treatment for adolescents and adults of all genders.
What is Anorexia: Answers to Common Anorexia Questions
Anorexia is a complicated and dangerous mental disorder that can occur in both men and women including adults, teenagers, adolescents, and children. Because this disorder includes specific characteristics, symptoms, causes, and treatment methods, the answer to “what is anorexia” cannot be answered in one sentence. The following are some questions that help to answer the broad question “what is anorexia” and allow you to learn more about symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment for this disorder.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is a mental disorder that is characterized by an overwhelming and irrational fear of becoming fat as well as a relentless pursuit to be as thin as possible at any cost. People who suffer from anorexia will use dangerous and extreme methods to lose weight including self-starvation, denying hunger, excessive exercise, and extremely limited diets. No matter how much weight an individual suffering from anorexia loses, they may never feel “thin enough”. Other key characteristics of individuals suffering from anorexia include:
- A refusal to sustain even a minimally normal body weight
- An intense fear of gaining weight despite being underweight
- A distorted view of one’s body size or weight and / or denial of the dangers of one’s low weight
- Fear of foods that become “off limits” as the illness progresses
- Sufferers typically have an anxious temperament, typically struggling with change
McCallum Place offers Anorexia treatment in St. Louis and Kansas City. If you think you might be suffering from anorexia, please don’t hesitate to contact our intake department for a free and confidential assessment. We are here to help you!
Anorexia Treatment at McCallum Place
Therapy for anorexia involves medical assessment, psychotherapy and nutrition therapy in both group and family formats. In fact a complete treatment program will often provide a combination of several of these therapies. These methods utilize different techniques to help achieve all recovery goals. Main goals during anorexia therapy include stabilizing symptoms, promoting weight restoration to a healthy weight, reducing or eliminating restrictive and unhealthy eating behaviors, and restoring body image and self-esteem.
The anorexia treatment programs available from McCallum Place Eating Disorder Centers in St. Louis and Kansas City are designed to incorporate a variety of therapy methods including individual and group anorexia therapy programs. In order for treatment and therapy to be effective, it is important that this anorexia therapy is designed specifically to meet each individual’s needs. To learn about creating an anorexia therapy and treatment program that can help you recover from anorexia, contact the professionals at the McCallum Place Eating Disorder Centers.
Individual Anorexia Therapy
Individual therapy is an important part of many individual’s anorexia therapy programs as this therapy helps to understand the meaning and extent of one’s behavior. Individual anorexia therapy teaches individuals skills and techniques to help manage their emotions without relying on their eating disorder. Other goals of individual anorexia therapy include improving an individuals’ self-image, addressing problematic thoughts, and eliminating and replacing negative behaviors.
Types of individual anorexia therapy commonly used include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: This anorexia therapy method will help individuals deal with the behavior and thought patterns that contribute to anorexia. Through this method individuals learn positive behaviors and thoughts to replace the disorder eating behaviors and thoughts.
- Interpersonal Therapy: This individual anorexia therapy method deals with treating the anxiety or depression that typically exists in individuals suffering from an eating disorder. Interpersonal therapy for anorexia does not deal directly with weight or food issues, but instead helps an individual to determine social factors and influences that may have led to the development of the eating disorder.
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This type of therapy uses an empathetic approach to help patients understand and change their behaviors concerning food.
- Family Therapy: Family therapy is a type of anorexia therapy that is commonly used to treat adolescents and teens suffering from anorexia. This therapy brings an individual’s family into the therapy so that the family can offer support and guidance as the individual recovers from anorexia and learns healthy eating patterns and behaviors.
Anorexia Group Therapy
Anorexia group therapy is designed to allow individuals suffering from eating disorders to receive treatment while also helping others through their recovery process. A main benefit of anorexia group therapy is that individuals can receive support from peers. By learning stories from others and sharing one’s own stories, individuals in group therapy for anorexia realize that they are not alone. This can provide the support and motivation that many individuals need to continue the recovery process.
Anorexia group therapy can also be beneficial for individuals who are beginning a treatment program. Listening to others stories can help individuals understand the severity of their disorder. This can allow them to admit their disorder and open up to the idea of receiving treatment. Anorexia group therapy can also help individuals who are beginning a treatment program to address and overcome fears including those related to gaining weight and returning to a healthy weight as well as telling friends and loved ones about their disorder.
Types of Anorexia Group Therapy Programs
There are many different types of anorexia group therapy programs that are available from eating disorder treatment centers, therapists, universities or high schools, or religious groups. A program that best appeals to you and helps you meet your goals is the best type of treatment program for your recovery. These types of anorexia group therapy and support programs include:
- Support Groups
- Meal Planning Therapy Groups
- Fitness Therapy Groups
- Dance and Movement Therapy Groups
- Art Therapy Groups
- Pet Assisted Therapy Groups
- Spirituality Focused Groups
Goals of Treatment
The main goals during anorexia nervosa therapy are relatively straightforward. They include encouraging positive behaviors and eliminating negative behaviors. Additionally, anorexia nervosa therapy should help individuals to return to a normal body weight and healthy lifestyle. Through a combination of treatment techniques including therapy, nutrition education and meal planning, and medical monitoring, individuals can achieve anorexia recovery.
Some main goals during anorexia nervosa therapy include:
- Acceptance: The first and most important step in anorexia nervosa therapy is for an individual to accept that they have a problem and require treatment. Being open and willing to receive treatment is important to encourage long term wellness.
- Restoring Weight: Restoring weight to a normal and healthy body weight is important. This goal is reached through anorexia nervosa therapy because therapy will help motivate and encourage individuals to accept feelings of hunger and eat regular meals.
- Increasing Self-Esteem: During anorexia therapy, an individual should be encouraged to see positive aspects in their personality and accomplishments that will help to improve self-image and self-esteem. Additionally, during anorexia nervosa therapy, individuals should be encouraged to change unrealistic perceptions and expectations of physical body image or shape.
- Recognizing Triggers: Anorexia is more than just a goal to be thin, it is a mental disorder linked to other problematic thoughts. Helping an individual understand that anorexia may be an attempt to control and manage stressful situations will allow them to recognize triggers in the future and avoid relapse.
- Teaching healthier coping methods: A goal to long-term recovery for anorexia is to teach coping methods for dealing with every day stress. During anorexia nervosa therapy, it is important for a therapist to teach individuals positive behaviors to replace the negative behaviors, which they have adopted for dealing with stressful or upsetting situations.
Treating Anorexia in Adolescents
Teenagers are especially vulnerable to eating disorders due to all the changes that are a natural part of development. Kids often change school, start to date, develop independence, and turn towards peers for support. Their bodies change and nutritional needs change. They are more on their own for meals. Many are involved in sport with variable nutritional needs to stay in energy balance. They naturally focus on appearance and grooming. This is why it’s so important that teenagers with eating disorders have the right support, including monitored meals when they start to develop symptoms.