Heard of Karen Carpenter, Karla Alvarez, Ana Carolina Reston and Anne Sexton? They are celebrities of course. However, they died a very painful death. They died of Anorexia Nervosa. It is best defined as an eating disorder where an individual forcefully starves himself/herself and indulges in abnormal eating habits for the fear of gaining weight. It is a serious condition and affects almost all of the physiological and psychological processes. In this article, information will be given about home remedies for the eating disorder, anorexia.
What Is Anorexia?
People suffering from Anorexia are constantly hungry and deny themselves of worthy food. Anorexia can happen to anyone, be it a boy or girl, old or young. Anorexia is much more pronounced in young girls, those of who are very conscious about their weight and appearance. Anorexic people are always on the watch out of people’s judging them on their weight and have an extreme fear of becoming fat. Anorexics also view themselves as overweight even though they are much below the required weight line. All the problems of these people start with the fitness craze. This will progress to taking lesser and lesser calories and will end up with a frail physique, bouts of fainting and nose bleeds. Serious cases of anorexia will even lead to death. According to a survey, anorexia affects about two million people globally as per the year 2013. About 0.4% of young females are affected on that year and affected at least ten times lesser in the case of males. Recent studies on American eating habits also shows that approximately about 0.6% Americans are most likely to suffer from this disorder at some point of their life.
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The exact cause of anorexia is unknown. However, based on surveys and studies, it has been ruled that anorexia is caused by social and familial pressures, genetics & hormonal imbalances and other such psychological factors. Then they are people who think that life is better with thinner bodies. They believe that they are perfectionists and overachievers. The commercial media has portrayed the ‘ideal figure’ to be slim and thin. Part of it, the media has to be blamed. Emotional trauma and stress during childhood and puberty can also lead to anorexia. Excessive dieting increases the risk of anorexia, once a considerable weight loss is achieved. This will pave a way to a desire to keep losing muscle and weight even without the person realizing it.
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The prime symptom of anorexia is extreme weight loss. Anorexics show a number of psychological and behavioral changes. They are as follows:
- Deteriorating memory
- Refusing to eat
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- Unusual self-perception
- Refuse to accept and maintain BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Anti-social behavior
- Disturbed sleep pattern
- Mood swings
- Extreme importance placed on physical appearance.
Some of the warning signals displayed, that family and friends can look out for, are refusal to eat in public places, skipping meals all the time, compulsive exercising and constantly checking weight. These people also have the tendency to regurgitate the food eaten by inducing vomit. There are also some really crazy ones who use excessive laxatives and diuretics to lose weight. The diagnosis of this condition must be performed only by a certified professional. These symptoms are also exhibited by some bacterial and viral infections.
- The skin will be dry
- Nails will be brittle
- Blood temperature will be low
- They will face symptoms such as swollen hands or feet
- The skin on hands will be purplish or yellow due to lack of essential nutrients
- They will have more pain tolerance
- Face problems in menstrual cycle, in case of women
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Treating anorexia starts with the basic step of increasing a person’s appetite. Individuals starting treatments should start with a balanced diet. However, the following home remedies for anorexia along with psychological medications can help in curing anorexia.
Vampires are scared of these ‘buds.’ Garlic is an amazing appetizer. It works as an internal cleanser and increases hunger.
Garlic is used for anorexia in the form of juice. About 4 ml of juice is extracted from garlic and about 1 ml of lime juice is added to it. A little rock salt is added to the mixture. This mixture should be kept under the sun continuously for three days. 1 spoon of this mixture should be taken every single day after meals. The digestion and appetite will be stimulated. Garlic can be consumed in curries, salads and other preparations and hopefully, by using this method, anorexia will be healed.
Citrus fruits treat anorexia by stimulating your appetite. Oranges, in particular, improve the digestive health. Furthermore, oranges give off the natural tangy scent that helps to calm nerves and fight depression as well as anxiety. This should make you more confident to follow the process rigorously to get rid of anorexia.
Orange juice therapy: this therapy is a quick fix. This therapy requires you to drink a glass of orange juice every two hours throughout the day. This process would continue for the next two or three days. Even the worst of digestive systems will recover. Nothing should be taken in between the 2 hours. The basic principle of this methodology is to clean the system.
Mint is a natural appetizer. If you are suffering from anorexia, take this herb in the form of juice. Two teaspoons full of mint juice in the morning will do enough. Mint will increase the craving for food, thus allowing you to eat more and get relief from depression, one of the symptoms of anorexia. Mint has a strong and distinctive taste that helps in relieving heightened emotional stress. Drinking mint tea will also do the same healing action.
4. Ginger And Rock Salt
This is considered as the most popular remedy for anorexia.
Ginger stimulates your hunger and prevents you from skipping meals. It also calms your nerves and prevents anxiety, the two main symptoms of anorexia.
- Chop about ½ teaspoons of ginger and add a little of rock salt to it. Consume this mixture thirty minutes before meals every day for the next two weeks.
- Another alternative to this method is to mix about a ½ teaspoon of ginger paste, five drops of lemon juice, a pinch of asafetida and black pepper. Consume this mixture once daily for a few weeks.
- Drinking ginger tea is a healthy option as well.
Body massage? Really! A study conducted in the year 2011 showed that anorexics who went for a regular massage (twice a week) reported lesser symptoms than anorexics that didn’t go massages. Scientifically speaking, massage increases the feel-good hormone called dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones put forward healthy and happy body positivity in the person.
When it comes to massage (in treatment of anorexia), remedial and therapeutic massages are the best. Therapeutic massages involve the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues.
Yoga beats the emotional stress that causes anorexia. Yoga has held the title as the go-to remedy for anorexia as a study conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health states that every individualized yoga session serves as a therapy to standard care of anorexia and other eating related disorders.
Below are some yoga poses practitioners suggest which helps in anorexia:
- Locust pose – Salabasana
- Squat pose – Malasana
- Pigeon pose – Kapotasana
- Goddess pose – Utkata Konasana
- Mountain pose – Tadasana
It is encouraged that you consult a certified yoga practitioner to learn these poses. You would not want to do it wrongly!
7. Acupressure And Acupuncture
The prime function of these two ancient Chinese methods is to increase the mental and physical wellbeing of the person. According to sources from a study conducted in 2014 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the researchers came to a conclusion that these methods might better the subjective sense of content and wellbeing among anorexics. However, much research is needed in this subject matter.
For your information, the points of treatment for anorexia are as follows:
- Hegu (LI4)
- Zusanli (ST36)
- Neiguan (PC6)
- Taichong (LR3)
- Yanglingquan (GB34)
Meditation is a wonderful fix for the body, mind and soul. There are several ways of doing meditation.
- Standing or lying down and focusing on breath
- Repeating a phrase or a mantra.
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- Never skip therapy sessions and attend group sessions regularly
- Try not to skip meals even though it makes you uncomfortable
- Make breakfast a ritual
- Eat more spicy foods to increase appetite
- Start every meal with a vegetable soup. They are great appetizers
- Drink sufficient water everyday but don’t let water replace meals
- If possible, start taking supplements to help restore healthy weight.
- Make sure to involve family and friends in the recovery process
- Parents should take the responsibility to teach and encourage a positive outlook on body image
- Encourage healthy eating habits
- Talk to concerned doctors about starting on a certain supplements and ask for guidance.
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It is mandatory to call the doctor immediately if you are affected with anorexia nervosa and
- Have difficulty in passing urine
- Have large irregular heartbeats, slow heart rate
- Suffer from bouts of dizziness and fainting
- Have severe stomach/belly pain, vomiting of blood; the color of stools are black, sticky (symptom of bleeding in digestive tract)
- Have severe pain in joints/torso.
In case you have a family member to get cured of anorexia, you can call the doctor if:
- Display symptoms of anorexia such as extreme weight loss; consumption of food is little; exhibit more concern about appearance or weight.
- Have lost weight, and suffer loss of weight.
- Do not eat in groups; have food only in secrecy or in private.
- Display wrong feelings and suffer from hallucination, such as speaking about losing weight, when in fact, they are thin.
- Making use of laxatives or diuretics (suffer from another order bulimia)
- Your family member is female and suffers from irregular menstrual periods
- Take part in rigorous physical activity, even though suffering from fatigue
Anorexia is a curable disease and requires only a strong will and a positive mindset to start recovering, of course, with the support of family and friends.
Kindly note that medications as well as home remedies cannot cure an eating disorder, however, they can best assist you in following the treatment plan. All treatments have proven to be effective in combination with psychological counseling.
For anorexia, antidepressants are most preferred. However, other medications may also be prescribed depending on the treatment. It is effective, in reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression or any other mood related changes that occur with disorders.
The most common medication is Fluoxetine (Prozac) belonging to selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI). If the symptoms do not reduce, then the doctor might prescribe olanzapine (Zyprexa).