Individuals with Anorexia Nervosa often interpret self-deprivation and ritualistic behaviors as triumphs of willpower over weakness. In reality, for these individuals, ritualistic behaviors and restrictions seem the only way out of difficult situations. In the mind of someone with anorexia, the decision to skip a meal or run an extra mile has functional benefits and even moral meaning.
At first, individuals embrace their anorexia symptoms. But over time, the illness becomes debilitating and miserable. At this point, they continue not by choice, but because of their feelings of helplessness and fear of change. To those with eating disorders, the illness may become a shield from issues such as maturity, sexuality, and independence. As they give themselves over to the illness, they see it as a positive influence in their lives. They derive a sense of competence and self-control, and with anorexia sometimes even a sense of moral purity.
For those with symptoms of anorexia, starvation makes it very difficult to appraise their condition rationally or to change their patterns of thought or behavior. Often their depression and demoralization causes hopelessness about the possibility of living differently and the possibility of recovery.
The following Emotional & Cognitive Characteristics are common patterns that are often seen in anorexia symptoms:
Emotional & Cognitive Characteristics (common patterns)*
- Intense fear of becoming fat, distorted body image
- Perfectionistic: thinnest, smartest, neatest, etc., all or nothing thinking
- Depression, low sense of self-worth
- Little to no motivation for help, desire to solve problems alone
- Decreased interest in sex
- Self-absorbed and non-social, isolation from others, irritable
- Difficulty thinking clearly, potential severe cognitive deficits due to malnourishment
*Patterns, systems and traits may vary from one person to another
Click here to take our online quiz to see if you are living a lifestyle that shows Anorexic tendencies.
At Center for Change, the possibility of recovery is real. Hope is real. Anorexia Treatment options range from outpatient services (therapy and dietary), day (PHP) and evening (IOP) programs, residential treatment (RTC) and inpatient hospitalization — depending on the needs of the patient and the severity of the illness. At Center for Change we offer all of these levels of care in order to provide the most appropriate options and meet the needs of our patients. To learn more about our treatment program for Anorexia Nervosa or to schedule a free assessment, call 888-224-8250.