Anorexia is a serious, deadly disease that is a condition when a person can starve himself to death due to psychological, cultural and physical causes. This disease has a higher mortality rate than other causes of death for women aged 15 to 24 years. In addition, although the majority of people with anorexia are women, 10 to 15% are men. Coping with this disease as a sufferer takes strength, courage, and resilience, but with the right attitude and support, you can be on your way to healing.
Method 1 of 3: Helping Yourself Overcome Anorexia
Step 1. Write a journal about your feelings
Keeping a healing journal in which you write down your feelings will help maintain awareness of your condition. The journal will help keep track of how you feel throughout the day, especially when you are having problems with food.
You can use the "unpacking" technique to dig deeper into your feelings. For example, if you wrote that you felt "okay" one day, ask yourself what you mean by "okay." This step will help you explore your feelings more deeply
Step 2. Consult a doctor
Anorexia can lead to serious health complications such as anemia, bone loss, digestive tract problems, heart problems, and even death. It is important to consult a healthcare professional if you think you may have anorexia so that you can get the treatment you need to recover. Talk to your doctor about anorexia if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Massive weight loss as a result of not eating.
- Fear of getting fat, even when your body seems too thin to many people.
- Excessive diet and exercise.
- Restlessness, rapid mood swings, hyperactivity.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Repressed sex drive.
- In women, menstrual cycles are irregular or absent.
- In men, the craft of lifting weights.
Step 3. Set achievable targets
Setting unrealistic goals will cause problems, because you will have a hard time achieving them and you will want to give up quickly. Instead, first go after smaller targets, then move up to bigger ones once you hit your initial targets. If your goals are realistic, you will be able to balance them with other things in life. This can be a good way to find out if the target is achievable or not. If the goal requires so much effort and time that you don't have time left for fun or other responsibilities, you may want to review the goal.
- For example, if you only eat once a day, try to add one small meal. You don't have to try to eat three meals a day right away.
- Another example, if you check your weight more than 10 times a day, try to reduce it to eight times. Trying not to check your weight at all may not make sense, but you might be able to lower the number a bit if you try hard.
- Know that if your life is in danger due to anorexia, you can be admitted to the hospital to gain weight quickly to prevent life-threatening complications. But in general, you can try to reach your ideal weight through small, easily achievable goals.
Step 4. Watch for triggers
A trigger is anything that annoys you and leads you to eating disordered behavior. If you can identify these triggers, you can gain control over the situations and people that lead you to anorexic behavior. Once you know who and what is causing stress to yourself in this way, you can make a plan to deal with it in advance. Some triggers to watch out for include:
- Stressful family interactions.
- Stressful work situation.
- Images or events that trigger your body image problem.
- Specific foods that are hard for you to imagine.
Step 5. Read about eating intuitively
Eat Intuitively is a nutrition system designed by dietitian Evelyn Tribole and nutritional therapist Elyse Resch. This can help you learn to listen to signals from your body, such as when you're hungry or full, to help you develop coping mechanisms for calming down that don't involve food. A few other things intuitive eating can do:
- Helping you to begin to appreciate eating as a pleasurable activity.
- Respect your body, or "genetics blueprint."
- Reject the diet mentality.
Step 6. Accept the diversity of body shapes
There are so many different types of beautiful bodies in this world. If you're having a hard time accepting your own body, look at the different body types in the world to see how special and unique each one is. You can see this diversity by going to an art museum and looking at ancient paintings, a time when people valued physical differences more than they do today. You can also read news about body diversity by clicking here.
Step 7. Use positive affirmations if you feel anorexia creeping up on you
Whenever you feel stressed and want to switch to anorexic behavior to deal with it, use a positive mantra or statement to re-direct your feelings. Be your own coach.
- For example, you might say, "I can feel sad and still choose to take a new and healthy life path."
- You can also say "This endeavor is difficult and uncomfortable, but only temporary."
Method 2 of 3: Getting Help from Professionals
Step 1. Go to therapy
True healing from an eating disorder such as anorexia costs a lot of outside help. Your ability to handle everything on your own is limited. A great first step apart from talking to a doctor is finding a therapist. Therapy will help change your relationship with your body and food by examining your thoughts and beliefs about your life. Here are some good types of therapy to try:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy is the most researched method of treating eating disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help change thoughts and behaviors around your relationship with food.
- Interpersonal therapy. This therapy focuses on improving the relationships in your life so that the symptoms of anorexia go away on their own. If your social life becomes healthier and more supportive, it will positively affect anorexia.
- Find an experienced therapist near you by asking for recommendations from doctors, hospitals, clinics or an internet search.
Step 2. Consider hospitalization
Because anorexia can be very serious, there are a variety of different options for professional treatment. Inpatient care includes staying in an inpatient facility where you can get more serious help. This may involve a doctor monitoring your nutritional levels, individual and group therapy, and psychiatric medication.
This step can be especially important if you are severely malnourished and underweight
Step 3. Learn about outpatient care
Outpatient treatment is not as intense as hospitalization. Outpatient care includes visiting the clinic but staying in your own home with your family. Here are some of the benefits of outpatient treatment:
- If you are in the early stages of anorexia, you can get help without sacrificing your freedom.
- You can still go to school and receive support from living with your family.
- The costs are much lower for outpatients than for inpatients.
Step 4. See a registered dietitian
Although anorexia has a psychological component, nutrition plays an equally important role. In fact, a number of studies show that people must recover from malnutrition before they can fully recover from anorexia. A dietitian can help you learn about what your body needs and put you on the right track.
Step 5. Ask your primary care doctor about medications
Psychiatric drugs can help deal with the day-to-day symptoms of anorexia. Antidepressants can keep you in a good mood and prevent you from falling into depression because of the problem. Anti-anxiety medications can help you stop worrying too much and stop engaging in compulsive behaviors. These medications can be especially useful if you have recurrent episodes of anxiety or depression, which is common for many people with eating disorders.
Method 3 of 3: Getting Help from Family and Friends
Step 1. Ask for help
This is an important step in healing. Find someone positive in your life that you can trust and rely on. Seeking help for an eating disorder can be scary and embarrassing, but gathering support from trusted friends, family members, religious leaders, school counselors, or colleagues at work is the first step to healing for many people. Research has shown that feeling socially connected is an important factor in healing.
For example, if a dietitian has helped you set up an eating program, ask a friend or family member to help you stay consistent on the program
Step 2. Find a support group
It is important for you to get strong social support in order to recover from anorexia. There are support groups in several cities that you can join, where you can discuss your feelings and struggles. These groups are led by professional therapists and some are led by volunteers. Volunteer-led groups are usually led by someone who has recovered from an eating disorder.
You can find a suitable support group by asking for recommendations from a hospital, clinic or doing an internet search
Step 3. Use the internet
If you can't join a support group and need someone else to talk to, there are chat rooms and forums online where you can find sympathetic people. Because maintaining social relationships for the sake of healing eating disorders is so important, you might consider sending a message on the following websites (in English) For sites from within the country (Indonesia) there are not many that specifically discuss and help anorexia or pattern disorders eat comprehensively. Instead, you can pay attention to these outside forums first. Many of these people are also going through the same problem. Here are a few different options:
- National Eating Disorders Forum.
- Anorexia Nervosa and Other Related Disorders Forum.
Step 4. Keep your family and friends by your side
Many people with eating disorders are tempted to isolate themselves from others in their lives, usually because there is a very strong belief that something is wrong with themselves. While dealing with problems by isolating yourself is tempting, you should avoid it as much as you can. Self-isolation will only make matters worse. Allowing family and friends to be by your side for your sake is one of the keys to healing.
Step 5. Avoid malicious websites
Unfortunately, there are various websites out there dedicated to spreading anorexia and other eating disorders. These websites advocate anorexia and bulimia as a lifestyle. Managers may not realize how dangerous, painful and even deadly this eating disorder can be. These sites are commonly called "pro-ana" or "pro-mia", and you should avoid them in order to keep yourself free from negative influences.
- Remember that things will get better! It may seem hard right now, but many people have been completely cured of anorexia. Don't give in to the first signs of a relapse.
- Connect with people who have overcome anorexia. Listen to their stories.