Anorexia, Bulimia, Overeating (Part 2 )

 

_David-Smallwood-Treatment_Director_One40_2

David Smallwood is the Treatment Director at One40, over the coming weeks we will be featuring some of the highlight excerpts from his new book.

Many people don’t readily see anorexia as a form of addiction, but that’s exactly what it is. The sufferer becomes addicted to the effect that the anorexia has on their feelings – and in particular on the control that they perceive it gives them over their body.

Avoiding food becomes a compulsion that’s rooted in the same causes that drive other types of addictive behaviour. These are usually fear, insecurity, low self-confidence and an inability to deal with emotional pain. At the heart of anorexia – as with all addictive processes – lies codependency. It’s an emotional and psychological condition.

If someone’s life feels out of control, being very rigid about what they eat may feel like a way of reasserting some order. It’s the reason why an anorexic is very iron-willed about how to control what they eat. The need to avoid food becomes a compulsive obsession.

The feelings generated by the process of starvation become a distraction from the emotional distress that the sufferer would otherwise be feeling due to other factors in their life or childhood.

Of course, far from giving them control, what actually happens is that the eating disorder comes to control them. It may spill over into other areas of their life aside from food.

Anorexia is about avoidance: and this can manifest itself into avoiding sex, avoiding intimacy, and even the avoidance of spending money. Typically, an anorexic will be very scared of sex, avoiding intimacy, and even the avoidance of spending money. Typically, an anorexic will be very scared of sex, and they’ll go to great lengths to avoid the intimacy it involves. Others will make a huge effort to avoid spending cash, forcing themselves to live a very austere existence, or to rely on others for their financial needs.

It’s important to note that anorexia does not just affect women. We’re starting to see an increasing number of boys in treatment centres who are anorexic. In fact, I suspect it’s a condition that  has affected males throughout history, but it may have been misdiagnosed as other illnesses in the past.

Anorexia is a mechanism for control, and this manifests itself in all sorts of ways. Strange as it may seem, a tell-tale sign of whether or not someone has an eating disorder can often be found in the shape of their handwriting. Anorexics tend to have the smallest, neatest handwriting in the world.

They’ll write line after line of little tidy script, all perfectly formed. Bulimics and overeaters tend to write in slightly bigger letters, but they’re still very perfect in their formation. This too often gives me a clue that someone is trying to exert a lot of control over their handwriting, just as they do with their diet.

Anorexics exhibit willpower that can be extraordinarily strong. As a way of breaking the ice with them I often joke that I’d want them on my side in a war because they’re so strong-willed! They’re highly astute and intelligent, and more than capable of working out that their life isn’t as they would like it to be.

 

 

To read more go to Amazon to order your copy or contact us directly at ONE40  at info@one40.org. This is David’s Twitter Handle:   @DSmallwoodMSC Facebook Page link:https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Smallwood/747815968591931?ref=

Anorexia, Bulimia, Overeating (Part 1)

 

_David-Smallwood-Treatment_Director_One40_2

David Smallwood is the Treatment Director at One40, over the coming weeks we will be featuring some of the highlight excerpts from his new book.

 If you go onto YouTube and type in the word ‘anorexia’ something very disturbing happens. You’ll see video after video containing harrowing photographs of skeletal young women. Many of the girls are so emaciated that their bodies are clearly in danger of shutting down through lack of nourishment.

The pictures are so shocking that you need to do a double take. They’re hauntingly reminiscent of images of concentration camp victims.

The women’s ribs protrude from their saggy skin and the bumps of their spines are clearly visible down the length of their backs. Some of the videos are posted as warnings about the dangers of eating disorders, but it’s my belief that many of them have a much darker purpose. The pictures on display are often self-portraits taken by anorexia sufferers who are posing in front of mirrors.

The garish photos fade from one to another while trendy pop music plays in the background. The message is clear: ‘Look at me; don’t I look great?’ Not only are the anorexics willing to display their bodies, but they are also proud of the way they look – horrific as that may seem.

Anorexics suffer from a condition called body dysmorphia. In this, the sufferer becomes obsessively worried about some aspect of his or her appearance, such as their weight. It leads to them having a distorted view of their own body shape.

When they look at themselves in the mirror anorexics don’t see someone who is close to starvation; instead, in their own mind, they see someone who needs to slim, and they aspire to lose even more weight. It illustrates the power that eating disorders can have over people – and it makes their condition very hard to treat.

People with an addictive nature often use their relationship with food as a way of medicating their negative feelings and their emotional problems. The eating disorders they develop tend to fall into three distinct categories. These are anorexia, bulimia and overeating (which I touched on in the earlier chapter about sugar).

Anorexia manifests itself through starvation due to the avoidance of food. Sufferers become painfully thin and they may go for many days on end without eating a single thing. Bulimia, meanwhile, is when somebody binges on food, but they maintain a normal weight by purging their body by inducing themselves to vomit. In contrast, people who overeat gorge daily, over a long period of time, and their weight balloons to gargantuan proportions.

A strange aspect of these three distinct types of eating disorder is that a sufferer may potentially swap from one state to another as time goes on. For example, if somebody is anorexic they may swap to bingeing on food and force themselves to throw up (in which case they develop bulimia), or they may even go on to become an overeater.

 

To read more go to Amazon to order your copy or contact us directly at ONE40  at info@one40.org. This is David’s Twitter Handle:   @DSmallwoodMSC Facebook Page link:https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Smallwood/747815968591931?ref=