Anorexia nervosa, commonly known as anorexia, is a serious eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, a distorted perception of weight and one’s body image, and a fear of gaining weight. If you have anorexia, you might use unhealthy methods to control your weight, which can lead to physical and behavioral issues, and significantly interfere with daily life. To prevent weight gain, you might restrict the amount of food you eat. You might also exercise too much, misuse diet aids, laxatives, enemas, and diuretics, or vomit after eating. However, there are natural Anorexia Treatment options.
Signs and symptoms of anorexia are associated with starvation, including weight loss, fatigue, abnormal blood counts, dizziness and fainting, hair loss, yellowish skin, the absence of menstruation, and irregular heart rhythms. Low blood pressure, dehydration, arm and leg swelling, and eroded teeth may also be present. Emotionally and behaviorally, people with anorexia may think about food all the time, refuse to eat, make excuses not to eat, or adopt eating rituals, such as spitting out food after chewing. Irritability, social withdrawal, and insomnia may also be observed.
At its most severe, anorexia can cause anemia, bone and muscle loss, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, kidney problems, electrolyte abnormalities, and death.
Underlying Causes and Risk Factors for Anorexia
While the exact cause of anorexia isn’t known, it likely presents itself due to a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
Biologically, approximately 28-74% of the risk of an eating disorder is generic. Psychologically, people with anorexia are more likely to show obsessive-compulsive personality traits, have an extreme drive for perfectionism, and have high levels of anxiety. About half of patients with anorexia have anxiety disorders while 33-50% have a mood disorder, such as depression. Environmentally, society’s emphasis on thinness may cause pressure to lose weight, particularly among young girls and women.
While it may seem like anorexia is about food, it’s a mental health disorder that’s usually about trying to cope with and control emotional issues, including poor self-esteem and self-worth. Sometimes, however, anorexia is caused by a stomach disorder, reactions to medications, or narcotic use. It may also be caused by a disease, such as HIV or cancer.
Natural Anorexia Treatment
There are currently no effective means or medications to treat anorexia nervosa. Alternative and natural therapies may help treat the root cause of anorexia and help you cope with the emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms.
You may find potential relief with the use of medical cannabis. Imbalances in the endocannabinoid system may play a role in eating disorders, suggesting that cannabinoid-derived treatments like cannabis and CBD may prove to be therapeutically valuable.
By stimulating the body’s metabolism, medical cannabis may provide hunger cues and increase appetite for people with anorexia, particularly those whose anorexia is associated with cancer or HIV/AIDS. It may also help treat comorbid conditions, including OCD, PTSD, stress, anxiety, and depression.
While anorexia is only a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in a handful of states, many allow access to medical cannabis for related issues, including uncontrolled weight loss, nausea, and anxiety.
If you’re interested in trying medical cannabis, you’ll need a medical marijuana card first. Just book an appointment with Heally, and we’ll connect you with a doctor in your state to start the application process.
If anorexia or its related conditions aren’t qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in your state, consider CBD products, which are legal and available nationwide. Browse the Heally marketplace to check out CBD products that may help relieve your symptoms.
This CBD tincture is specially formulated to help reduce stress and anxiety to help you find calmness and balance. The fast-acting formula is placed under the tongue for maximum absorption to reduce feelings of anxiety quickly.
Dietary Support and Guidance
People who suffer from anorexia often have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which can contribute to negative physical symptoms and cognitive difficulties.
Nutritional guidance and support can help you eat a healthy, balanced diet with enough calories and nutrients to meet your body’s needs and stop symptoms from worsening.
Some nutritional tips that can help include:
Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day
Avoiding refined sugar
Using quality sources of protein, such as eggs, whey, and meat, to gain muscle mass and prevent wasting
Anorexia Treatment Supplements
Supplements may also be recommended to help prevent nutritional deficiencies. A daily multivitamin can provide the daily value of vitamins A, C, E, and B, as well as certain minerals, including selenium, copper, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and magnesium.
Omega-3 fatty acids, Coenzyme Q10, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), creatine, and probiotics may also be recommended.
Patients suffering from anorexia typically control their food intake as a way to improve their self-esteem and self-worth by losing weight. Finding different ways to increase self-worth can help reduce your reliance on food control.
Trying a new hobby, such as art, volunteering, writing in a journal, or spending time outdoors can help. Relaxation activities like meditation and yoga can also prove helpful. These types of activities can also relieve stress and anxiety.
Anorexia Treatment Herbs
Certain herbs may help improve overall health, reduce stress and anxiety, and strengthen the body’s systems. These include Ashwagandha, Fenugreek, Milk thistle, and catnip. Always speak to a physician before adding herbs to your treatment plan as they may interact with medications.
Interested in more natural remedies for anorexia? Book an appointment to talk to an integrative health doctor online.
Interested in using cannabis as an alternative treatment? Get your cannabis card with a licensed physician.