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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This is David’s Twitter Handle: @DSmallwoodMSC Facebook Page link:https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Smallwood/747815968591931?ref=