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Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is a complex condition, but with the right support, recovery is possible. Find out what we can do to treat Anorexia Nervosa at Asana Lodge below.

At Asana Lodge, we offer comprehensive and personalised anorexia nervosa treatment, carefully determined on a case-by-case basis to ensure the best chance of sustainable recovery.

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa, often simply referred to as anorexia, is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterised by an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image.

Individuals suffering from anorexia perceive themselves as overweight, regardless of how underweight they truly are. This profound misperception can result in extreme measures to control weight and body shape, leading to unhealthy, often drastic behaviours, which can include (but are not limited to) restrictive eating, excessive exercise, and even self-induced vomiting.

For someone living with anorexia, the relentless pursuit of thinness becomes an obsession, a constant and overpowering force in their lives. This obsession often impedes their ability to see the serious harm they are inflicting upon themselves. Hence, it can be incredibly challenging for them to accept help, acknowledge their condition and initiate a journey towards a healthy eating plan on their own.

Causes and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

In reality, many factors can cause you to be more likely to develop anorexia. It is truly a complex type of eating disorder with multifaceted causes, encompassing genetic, biological, psychological, and socio-cultural factors.

Genetic predisposition has been suggested, meaning that if there are people with eating disorders in your family, then studies show you’re more likely to develop one too.

Biologically, certain changes in brain structures and functions could lead to anorexia, including irregular levels of specific neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Women and girls are also thought to have higher incidences of anorexia, although in recent times, it has become increasingly more common in men.

From a psychological perspective, anorexia is often associated with perfectionism, body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem, and high levels of stress or trauma. Socio-cultural influences are notable, too, particularly in societies that value thinness, leading to pressures to conform to an ideal body image, which can drive the onset of the disorder.

Those with conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely to need anorexia nervosa treatment, and it can often be found in those with low self-esteem. Anorexia can sometimes be triggered by a big life event such as bereavement, abuse or stress, and finding the root cause can be an important first step towards treatment.

There are a number of signs and symptoms of anorexia, which include (but are not limited to):

  •  Significant weight loss in a short period.
  •  Being underweight and scared of weight gain.
  • Withdrawing from engaging in activities, responsibilities, obligations, friends and family.
  •  Obsessive counting of calories and restricting food and drink.
  •  Excessive and consistent exercise.
  • Developing additional, fine hair, usually on the arms, back or stomach area, as a means of the body attempting to keep warm. This is known as Lanugo body hair.
  •  Distorted body image – the sufferer believes they need to lose weight, even if they are severely underweight.
  •  Obsession with appearance.
  •  Obsession with your body weight, repeatedly weighing yourself and keeping track of the numbers.
  • Measuring yourself and documenting changes.
  •  Feeling guilty and stressed when eating.
  •  Purging – usually through vomiting or taking laxatives. This sign is also seen in those living with bulimia nervosa.
  •  Physical symptoms such as dizziness and tiredness.
  •  Mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.


How We Support Individuals Battling Anorexia and Their Loved Ones

To the loved ones of those with anorexia, we want you to know that your concerns and fears are valid. It can be overwhelming and heartbreaking to witness someone you care about being taken over by this destructive disorder. It may feel frustrating when your attempts to help are met with resistance or denial. We want you to remember that anorexia is a formidable illness that often inhibits a person’s ability to recognise the severity of their situation.

That’s why professional help, like what we offer at Asana Lodge, is often essential in these circumstances. Our team of experienced therapists and medical professionals provide round-the-clock care to guide individuals through the journey towards recovery. We approach each case with compassion, respect, understanding, and a commitment to creating a personalised care plan that takes into account the individual’s unique experiences and challenges.

We are not just here to help our patients return to a healthy weight, but to assist them in addressing the underlying psychological issues that have contributed to the development of anorexia. Through comprehensive treatment, we aim to provide a safe space where our patients can develop healthier self-perceptions, attitudes towards food, and coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety.


Undergoing Anorexia Nervosa Treatment

At Asana Lodge, we understand that anorexia is not just a physical illness, but a complex mental health disorder that profoundly impacts both those who suffer from it and the ones who care about them.

There’s no single treatment that can treat anorexia. For most people, a combination of therapy types and a supportive environment is needed to tackle the condition. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, is often used to help to identify the negative patterns that cause eating disorders, giving the sufferer a set of tools to overcome them. Therapy involves overcoming irrational beliefs about body image and food, which is an important step in anorexia nervosa treatment.

In addition to talking therapy, there are a number of other steps that can be taken to help with eating disorders. Because we create a personalised treatment plan for each client, this will be based on the length and severity of your condition, as well as any other diagnoses you may have received. This could include advice from a dietician, supported meals to help you eat, and workshops on body image or food exposure, which can help you change your eating habits.

Some sufferers of anorexia who come to us for treatment have a dual diagnosis, which means they may also need help with another issue in addition to their eating disorder. It’s quite common for those undergoing anorexia nervosa treatment to also have poor mental health or develop addictions, so there will be specific treatment offered to target these issues too.


A Relaxing Retreat to Focus on Recovery

Asana Lodge is an excellent place to start recovery from an eating disorder, as it provides a relaxing retreat away from the world. We are based in Towcester, surrounded by the Northamptonshire countryside, which guests have described as a serene, private, peaceful and calming atmosphere.

Some people worry that their anorexia nervosa treatment will feel like being in a hospital, but you can be assured knowing that our setting and environment are as far as possible from a clinical setting. There are comfortable and homely communal areas as well as private rooms, where you can get plenty of rest and focus on your treatment programme. Guests also have access to structured meal times within our peaceful dining area, specially prepared by our highly skilled onsite chefs for those undergoing treatment for anorexia nervosa.

Your time at Asana Lodge isn’t just spent in therapy. There are options such as yoga and holistic therapy, walks in the countryside and activities to enjoy. We also run regular group therapy in our comfortable communal areas, giving you a chance to speak to other people with eating disorders and share the journey.


Recovery From Anorexia

With the right treatment, it’s possible to make a full recovery from anorexia and maintain a healthy weight for life.

While it can be difficult to develop a healthy relationship with food, our programmes offer intensive therapy and support, and if you are committed to change, it really can work. Because we understand that anorexia can affect the whole family, we also offer couples or family therapy as part of our programmes, which helps mend difficult relationships and helps loved ones understand the condition.

Unfortunately, there are always cases where sufferers can relapse, but rest assured; we offer excellent aftercare here at Asana Lodge. Whether it’s ongoing therapy or access to our local support groups, we will continue to help you stay on the right path and continue with your recovery journey. Our secondary treatment programmes are free of charge and last for 12 months after inpatient treatment.


Seeking Help and Support for Anorexia Nervosa at Asana Lodge

To those battling anorexia, and to the loved ones striving to help, you’re not alone. Our team possesses extensive expertise in offering tailored assistance, guidance, and support, as well as accompanying you on the path to recovery. We encourage you to reach out to us today so that together, we can initiate the initial steps toward healing.

It’s often difficult to get someone with anorexia nervosa into treatment, as they often have severe body image issues and don’t see anything wrong with their behaviour. That’s why, when they do agree to treatment, the last thing you want is a long delay.

Once you reach out to our team at Asana Lodge, we can help with an intervention to encourage your loved one to seek help. We can also make the transition into treatment seamless, meaning that we can ensure all the arrangements, such as travel, are completely taken care of.

If you suspect you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia, simply call us on 01908 489 421 or e-mail to find out more about the treatments we offer.

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