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Eating Disorder Recovery Message Board


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Hi. I'm 27 years old and I'm a recovered anorexic. Like PinstripedBabe I agree that this is a life-long struggle, and even though I know I'll never go back to that there are moments when I have to keep myself in check.
The first thing to understand is that anorexia, just like any eating disorder, is a really complex condition, there are so many factors that cause it that it's overwhelming. Like my psychologist said, anorexia is just the tip of the iceberg, what is visible to the eye, but underneath there are many problems that have been accumulating over the years that need to be addressed in order to treat anorexia. I learned that anorexics are usually really sensitive, intelligent and perfectionist people. In my case there were a lot of things going on in my family and in my life that affected me greatly and that were completely out of my control. So I fixated on my weight because it was something that I could control.
The fact that your niece listens to you and actually recognizes she is anorexic is a wonderful sign. It means that she is actually trying to fight this. Usually an anorexic person won't admit he or she has a problem, it's a manipulative condition, even when I didn't realize I was anorexic I still felt the need to lie to my family and friends and hide what I was doing. So she has already taken the first step of her recovery.
What she needs now is to treat her depression with a psychiatrist, because depression makes anorexia worse which then makes one feel more depressed and alone. It's a vicious circle. She definitely needs anti-depressives and something to control her anxiety and to help her sleep. In my case I also went to a psychologist who helped immensely because she had a daughter who was anorexic. Your niece also needs to go to a nutritionist, even if she might not want to. Basically she needs to re-learn how to eat and to reestablish a normal relationship with food, to understand that she can eat and not gain weight, etc. Both aspects are essential for recovery. Psychiatric treatment alone will not help and vice-versa.
There are also a lot of support groups for anorexics and their family. I never had the courage to go, because at the time I was scared. But meeting others who struggle with the same problem in a constructive dynamic could be helpful for your niece.
It's REALLY hard, so she'll need a lot of support mixed with tough love. But she can do this and get to a point where she can actually enjoy life. This is NOT stronger than her and will never be. She needs to know that she can beat this.
Good luck and I wish your niece the best!





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