Dealing With Eating Disorders
Eating is of course one of our most basic needs in life and also one of the most enjoyable. Sadly for many people attending to this basic requirement is fraught with anxiety.
Binge EatingFor one reason or another, many of us have difficulty in expressing our feelings. We may have been taught as we were growing up that certain feelings were unacceptable. Some of us were taught that we didn't have any right to have feelings. For those of us who don't know how to express our feelings or cannot tolerate them, food has become a means of "stuffing" them. Some people have in fact effectively been taught to eat when they are upset by a well-meaning caretaker. Children are often given food when they are emotional. This can make us feel better, at least temporarily. Many people are familiar with "comfort eating".
For some people however, these periods of overeating can seem to take on a life of their own. The person caught up in this behaviour may find themselves eating well past the point of being full and have feelings of self-loathing afterwards. They may have eaten so much that they feel unwell too.
Hypnotherapy can help you uncover the reason why you use food in this way, and help you find alternative and healthier ways of dealing with those feelings.
Bulimia NervosaBulimia Nervosa requires a medical diagnosis. Here, binge eating is followed by some kind of compensatory behaviour. Usually this is vomiting and/or the use of laxatives. In extreme cases, the individual may vomit several times a day. To the person with bulimia, this behaviour feels compulsive and out of control. Very often the activity is hidden from family and friends creating further stress.
A number of health problems are associated with bulimia. Regular purging through vomiting or taking laxatives can lead to mineral and vitamin deficiencies and other imbalances in the body, problems with the teeth including the destruction of tooth enamel, digestive problems and lack of energy. In addition, feelings of low self-worth are common.
Very often the onset of bulimia has been preceded by a long period of unhappiness. Hypnotherapy treatment is aimed at uncovering and resolving the emotional events that are underlying the condition. The need to continue the behaviour is extinguished as a consequence.
Anorexia NervosaThis condition involves the individual in severely controlling food intake and thus their weight. Body weight and body image become all-absorbing. Medical diagnosis is required. Such a diagnosis depends on the person generally having a BMI of less than 17.5 and the loss of menstrual periods for at least 3 months. A distorted body image is usual. Whilst the person with anorexia appears thin or even emaciated to others, they themselves often consider themselves to be fat.
A person with anorexia believes they are in control of their eating and much less likely than someone with bulimia to think a problem exists. Indeed for the anorexic, keeping weight under control is a reward in itself. Character traits of perfectionism and a need for control can be apparent.
Getting a person with anorexia to treatment can be extremely difficult. Many conventional interventions focus around food and portion size and rewards for eating.
When a person with anorexia presents for treatment with hypnotherapy, it can be successful. Whilst hypnotherapy cannot make anyone do anything against their will, a hypnotherapist can work with the client by creating good rapport. Treatment is aimed at the whole person and certainly in the initial stages, focused away from food.
Eating disorders are extremely distressing. There is hope however and hypnotherapy might be right for you. If you have an eating disorder, do contact a hypnotherapist and discuss with them how it can help you.