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Emotional background of anorexia  personal experience

Emotional Background in Anorexia - Personal Experience

Anorexia, a relatively well-known disorder, has a very complex emotional background. It would be very interesting, although rather challenging, to follow different types of people with anorexia, as well as different personality structures which are predisposed to develop different types of anorexia.


When we are discussing eating disorders, it is important to stress out the emotional background in such disorders. The body and the brain are connected in ways we still struggle to fully comprehend and a large amount of physical symptoms and disorders have its roots in such a specific body-brain relationship which influences person’s mind and character as a whole.


Anorexia, a relatively well-known disorder, has a very complex emotional background. It would be very interesting, although rather challenging, to follow different types of people with anorexia, as well as different personality structures which are predisposed to develop different types of anorexia.


As somebody who overcame this eating disorder, as well as a student of molecular biology, I can state with a certainty that genetic predisposition plays a base in the development of anorexia, onto which then outside factors exert their influence. In my specific case, outside factors were a plenty, from frequent teasing exerted by other children and relatives, looking up to and idolizing action film and video game heroes (which were my life back then), to growing up in a culture where “skinny people” are related to success and strength, while “fat people” are related to being lazy, soft, stupid and unmotivated. For a child who was overweight and easily influenced, these outside factors played a crucial role – exerting their influence on the already existing need to prove oneself as worthy, as well as a tendency to think more pessimistically and having periodical symptoms of depression and feelings of discontent. Having said all that, it is still very difficult to generalize and say whether these feelings are the cause or symptoms of depression – by the same principle that says: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


The need to prove oneself and the notable feeling of guilt also play a key role in the development of such disorders as anorexia. Restrictive type of anorexia is nothing more but pure starvation and as such it is often present among people who a “disciplined”, that is people who can force themselves into such behavior patterns precisely because of their feeling of guilt or because they have the need to prove something – to themselves or others. These two elements played a large part in my own personal experience with anorexia.


The feeling of discontent and the aspiration for “something better than I have right now” drive a person to persist through this painful period of starvation and restriction which, by getting closer to achieving the goal of transforming one’s body to look more like the idealized and distorted image in our head, brings the feeling of contentment to a person. It is very easy to lose oneself on this track and spiral into the extreme – which is the main difference between a diet and anorexia. There are plenty of people in the fitness industry who would qualify for some mild types of anorexia which are being disguised as “diets” or “calorie deficits”.


Treatment


It is crucial to have a good support system when dealing with anorexia, which should include a pharmacist, a nutritionist and a psychiatrist. Cognitive treatment plays a critical role, in my case (and plenty of other cases that include eating disorders) the main cause was of psychological nature – an emotional base in a sense of a distorted view of what beautiful is, as well as strong body issues which were sustained and worsened by mentioned outside factors. It is imperative to comprehend what the person wants achieve with this kind of unhealthy behavior, what is his or her goal and why is it important to that person to lose such a large amount of body weight. And that is, in my opinion, the first and most important step in creating a treatment for people who are dealing with anorexia.