As the undernourishment continues, hormonal disturbances develop, including cessation of menstruation, reduced desire for sex and reduced potency. Increased body hair growth may be seen (long down), especially under the arms and on the cheeks. Cognitive disturbances may occur in the form of concentration difficulties, sleep disturbances and lowered mood and energy. People with anorexia rarely seek treatment on their own due to lack of insight into their own illness and a fear of treatment that will require them to eat more and gain weight.
Bulimia involves an irresistible urge to eat and uncontrollable eating binges in which the patient ingests huge amounts of food. A variety of compensatory behavior is used to combat weight gain, primarily self-provoked vomiting. A person with bulimia has a distorted body image and a fear of fatness, but will usually have a normal body weight. Feelings of shame and guilt are usually associated with the bulimic behavior pattern; these feelings are therefore often kept hidden from family members.
About the treatment of eating disorders
Treatment of eating disorders is often lengthy. Anorexia can have serious, life-threatening consequences such as heart failure, osteoporosis and damage to the liver and kidneys. But with early initiation of treatment, the prognosis is usually good.
A treatment plan is tailor-made for the individual patient and will typically involve weekly weighing, follow-ups on food intake, psycho-education about eating disorders and cognitive behavior therapy. Medication as a supplement to psychotherapy may be beneficial to consider if conditions such as anxiety, obsessions/compulsions or depressive phases are present in addition to the eating disorder.
Call us at 38 28 88 72 to hear more about the treatment of eating disorders, or send us a message on pboks.dk.
We have patients from Copenhagen, Greater Copenhagen and Northern Zealand.