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Severe Anorexia - What is the Main Step to Cure It?

Sep 11, 2008
Treatment for severe anorexia should start from hospitalization to restore the person's body weight. The duration of hospitalization can be different and depends on how fast the anorexic gains their weight. In average many experts believe that 10-12 weeks with full nutritional support are required to restore weight in case of anorexia.

Weight gain goals should be set by a doctor according to person's BMI (body mass index). But in average 1-2 pounds a week is a good goal to strive for and it is what normally happens in hospitals.

Calorie consumption can vary but severely malnourished people need to begin with as little as 1500 calories per day (to avoid stomach pain and vomiting) and then progress to higher calorie consumption over time.

People who are unable to eat have to be fed through tube or intravenously. Tube feeding has many disadvantages and some professionals believe that this method discourages people from normal eating in the future. Nevertheless for some patients it can be the only way to gain weight.

Intravenous feeding is when a tube gets inserted into a vein and nutritional substances go into a blood stream. This way of feeding can also create some biochemical imbalances for patients and is only used in extremely severe cases of anorexia.

Severe anorexia patients also can have complications and organ failures due to long starvation and malnourishment. This has to be corrected while the person stays in the hospital. Kidney failure, heart failure, electrolyte imbalances, early osteoporosis are common complaints for severe anorexics.

The second stage of treatment begins after a person reached an acceptable body weight. This stage is the longest and the most difficult one because many anorexics relapse at this stage and go back to their old habits (losing all the weight they have just gained).

This happens because they still continue to see themselves as overweight in a mirror and feel that they need to lose weight instead of maintaining it or gaining more. They still continue to focus on their body image and forgetting about all other things in their life.

At this stage they do it subconsciously and their perception becomes their reality. The main issue that has to be addressed here is changing their perception by affecting their subconscious mind (the part of human mind responsible for feelings, internal believes and perception).

Failing to change the subconscious mind of the sufferer causes the symptoms of anorexia to come back all the time and doesn't matter how long she/he stayed in hospital, they relapse. Our subconscious is formed at a very young age and if any subconscious blockages that do occur they are formed with "child logic" and continue to impact on the sufferer in adulthood.

Anorexics have many subconscious blockages about body image and food. However because they exist at the subconscious level they are neither aware of them nor able to judge whether or not they are logical.

To conclude, the major step to curing severe anorexia lies not just in reaching and maintaining a certain amount of weight. It lies in identifying and eliminating the subconscious blockages from the anorexic mind and changing the person's focus from weight and food to other useful things in life.
About the Author
Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is a recognised athority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker.To learn more about severe anorexia go to http://www.mom-please-help.com
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