Eating disorders are the cruel secret that many teen-agers and young women spend time hiding from others. Statistically, anorexia strikes more than one in every 100 teen-age girls and young women. Bulimia occurs at an even higher rate, possibly up to one out of five college-aged women.
Anorexia is characterised by a dramatic weight loss from self-starvation or from severe self-imposed dieting.
Bulimia is characterised by bingeing and purging, accompanied by frequent weight fluctuations rather than profound continuous weight loss.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorder affecting mainly young women. People with bulimia, consume large amounts of food (binge) and then try to rid themselves of the food and calories (purge) by fasting, excessive exercise and using laxatives. The behavior often serves to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Because bulimia results from an excessive concern with weight control and self-image, and is often accompanied by depression, it is also considered a psychiatric problem.
While some cases of bulimia nervosa are short-lived, usually the symptoms will be present for some months or years before a sufferer seeks help. The disease can persist for years. The bingeing and purging activity associated with this disorder can cause severe damage, even death, although the risk of death is not as high as for anorexia nervosa.
Bingeing and vomiting can cause physical problems including damage to teeth from stomach acid, and heart problems due to the body being depleted of salts.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES
Bulimia may begin as a person's reaction to the fear and sense of loss of control when a mood disorder such as depression occurs, but more often, bulimia is an ineffective way a person responds to the social and family experiences, or to other events.
One study found that mothers who are extremely concerned about their daughters' physical attractiveness and weight may help to cause bulimia. In addition, girls with eating disorders tend to have fathers and brothers who criticize their weight.
Anything that causes severe emotional pain may lead to a person using bulimia in a frantic attempt to regain a sense of control. There may be one single trauma such as an abortion, divorce, rape, death of a friend or may have come from a series of traumas. Or even from an unbearable, ongoing experience such as the break up of a marriage, or having grown up in an alcoholic family.
Some individuals become bulimic because, after years of being givers, they tire of always pleasing others but don't know how to deal with their feelings of frustration and resentment.
Yet another possible cause of bulimia can be that your feelings were not validated. That is, when you felt angry, for example, you were told it that it was wrong to feel that way, or that you were selfish, or even that you didn't really feel angry.
The resulting confusion would likely result in you turning the anger and frustration inward.
Since you had been taught not to express your emotions through words, or to trust your own feelings, one way to deal with the resulting sense of badness or craziness would be to overeat -- and then to purge the guilt and shame.
What are the symptoms?
According to the World Health Organisation, the criteria for a diagnosis of bulimia nervosa include the following:
persistent preoccupation with eating and an irresistible craving for food.
episodes of overeating in which large amounts of food are consumed in short periods of time.
excessive exercise, induced vomiting after eating, starving for periods of time or taking medicines such as laxatives counteract the bingeing.
fear of obesity, which is also seen in people with anorexia nervosa, and there is some overlap in the symptoms of these two diseases.
These symptoms are not the problem. They are just that, symptoms. Hypnotherapy can be used to deal not only with these symptoms, but with the underlying problems which give rise to the symptoms.
How Hypnotherapy can help with bulimia
Hypnotherapy provides a quick route to the cause of an individual's bulimia. This is because hypnosis allows direct communication with the sufferer's subconscious. And the subconscious knows what is at the root of the problem.
Distorted body image is characteristic of the bulimic, who often feels they cannot be thin enough, hypnotherapy techniques can gradually help them adjust their perceptions to reality.
Hypnotherapy works with those unexpressed emotions/feelings where you can unlearn messages you may have learned about keeping feelings in and you can learn how to safely express emotions/feelings, instead of stuffing it down and purging it out.
Hypnotherapy can increase your self-control, your self-liking, your self-esteem and therefore, your self-protection.
SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR.....
Although victims of anorexia and bulimia do not exhibit every symptom, there are a number of generally observable signs.
PHYSICAL: Extreme weight change, hypothermia, insomnia, constipation, skin rash and dry skin, loss of hair and nail quality, dental disease, reduction in the menstrual cycle.
Behavioural: Unusual eating habits: eating only foods of a particular texture or color, no longer eating regular meals with families, arranging food on a plate, excessive chewing. With bulimic, household food supplies may be quickly exhausted.
Hyperactivity or high interest in exercise. Frequent weighing. Use of laxatives and diet pills.
EMOTIONAL: Distorted body image and denial. Inability to think clearly due to biological changes.
Low sense of self-worth and self-control. Perfectionism. Masked anger.
Anorexia Nervosa is an illness that mainly affects adolescent girls although in recent years there has been a rise in the number of boys being diagnosed with the disorder. The most common features are loss of weight and a change in behaviour in which the weight loss may become severe and life threatening. To start with the girls are single minded in their determination to lose weight. Attempts to frustrate their efforts are generally met with anger or deceit or a combination of both. Confrontation, rational discussion, bullying or bribery will probably fail to cause more than a very brief change of eating behaviour. Continuing weight loss will lead to increasing concern by the family. A girl of average height will probably be unable to continue at school once her weight falls below around six stones.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
Unusual behaviours related to food or eating (for example, hoarding or concealing food, refusing to eat in public, eating only one type of food, ritually cutting food into tiny pieces, intense study of diets and calories, planning and preparing elaborate meals for others)
Preoccupation with body size or body image
Preoccupation with weight control, dieting
There is a marked loss of weight in most instances
Eating with others is avoided
Menstruation stops and there is a loss of sexual interest
Abdominal bloating, digestive upsets, diarrhoea and constipation are experienced
There is a lack of energy and there may be anaemia
Exercise can be excessive
The circulation is affected and hands and feet, in particular, become cold and blue
A growth of soft, downy hair can be seen on parts of the body
There are the effects of starvation
Weight loss is concealed under loose clothing
Poor sleeping patterns are common
The concentration is affected and there is much restlessness
Enlarged salivary glands and sore throats are present when there are episodes of vomiting
HYPNOTHERAPY CAN HELP WITH ANOREXIA
The client has to want to begin to change, consciously, as no-one will respond to hypnotherapy if it goes against their will. When the client suffering from anorexia wants to change incorporating hypnotherapy , it can prove as powerful in making a recovery as it was in causing the disorder in the first place. Anorexia sufferers tend to have wonderful imaginations, which makes them extremely responsive to hypnosis. Motivation may be a major part of the problem. The subconscious mind can have a totally different perception of how we look, how much we weigh. It can almost be like being in a dreamy trance all day long. Hypnosis strengthens both self- confidence and the ability to cope, which may result in healthier eating, improved body image and greater self - esteem.
Resolve negative feelings and attitudes with clinical hypnosis at Wise Blue Owl Therapy Centre 01784 392449
Schizophrenia does not mean you have a split personality or automatically become violent, a mental health charity has warned.
Rethink Mental Illness said a survey of 1,500 people showed that the condition is widely misunderstood.
Schizophrenia commonly causes hallucinations, such as hearing voices, or delusions and can make people lose interest in life.
But it should not be "a dirty word or a term of abuse", the charity said.
The organisation warned such myths are dangerous.
One in 100 people is affected by schizophrenia during their life, but 45% of those surveyed thought the illness was much more common.
Half mistakenly thought the illness was defined by a split personality and a quarter believed it definitely led to violent behaviour.
But the reality is very different, a new campaign by the charity claims.
It is not true that "someone with schizophrenia can appear perfectly normal at one moment, and change into a different person the next", the Royal College of Psychiatrists says on its website .
And although there is a higher risk of violent behaviour if you have schizophrenia, it does not necessarily make people dangerous.
Comparatively, drugs and alcohol cause far more violence.
People with schizophrenia are far more likely to be harmed by other people than other people are to be harmed by them, the psychiatrists say.
Schizophrenia can affect the way individuals think, feel and behave.
Experiencing hallucinations is common and people often hear voices, which can sound very real and be critical and abusive, although they are all in the mind.Image copyright MRC Image caption Brain scans have discovered higher activity levels in part of the brain's immune system in schizophrenia patients than in healthy volunteers
Delusions can occur too, which means believing something completely and feeling like no-one else sees the world in the same way.
Other symptoms can include depression, loss of concentration and feeling uncomfortable around other people. Some people also have painful feelings in their body.
The Rethink Schizophrenia campaign said the illness can affect other aspects of life too - for example people with schizophrenia die 15 to 20 years earlier than the rest of the population on average.
And only 8% of those with the illness who want to work are currently employed.
The charity said this is because physical health problems are often missed or attributed to mental illness, and the side-effects of medication can cause complications.
Brian Dow, director of external affairs at Rethink Mental Illness, said: "It's about time we all got to grips with what schizophrenia is and what it isn't.
"Schizophrenia can be treated and managed, just like many other illnesses. It's not a dirty word or, worse, a term of abuse."
He added that myths stopped people from getting jobs, forming relationships and getting access to the healthcare they needed.
"The symptoms of schizophrenia don't fit neatly into a box, everyone will experience it differently," he said.
"However, we can all play a role in rethinking schizophrenia, and helping to change attitudes, by learning to separate the myths from the facts."
Prof Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said it was "astounding" that schizophrenia was still so widely misunderstood.
"To tackle the stigma that so many living with schizophrenia face, we have a huge task ahead of us in informing and educating the public," she said.
"We also need to ensure that more medical students choose psychiatry so that those living with schizophrenia have specialist doctors available to treat them."