Thursday, November 23, 2017 2:00

Anorexia Alternative Therapies

Posted by on Sunday, December 20, 2009, 14:21
This news item was posted in Anorexia Nervosa category and has 0 Comments so far.

Anorexia nervosa is a psychologically based eating disorder driven by the victims’ conviction that they are fat and must lose weight. They eat very little, lose weight and keep on dieting, no matter how slim they become.

Twenty years ago, a five foot two woman weighing 95 pounds came to my office asking me to put her on a weight loss diet. She had the typical “doll” look, with arms and legs that looked like match sticks. Besides not eating, she was taking 100 laxative tablets  a day to help keep her weight down.

More women than men are anorexic, especially adolescents and young adults. Usually they lose about 25 percent of their body weight, but they have no specific illness. They are depressed but often don’t realize it.

Although anorexics are very thin and eat little, they tend to have a great deal of energy. If not treated, up to 25 percent of those with anorexia nervosa will die. That’s why it’s important to pull out all the stops, apply all therapies, do whatever it takes to help them realize that they are not fat and they must eat.

Standard treatment for anorexics includes antidepressants, “refeeding” programs and psychological counseling.

Alternative therapies used for anorexia include:

  1. Ayurveda: Anorexia is believed to be an emotional disease that damages the digestive fire, making it difficult or impossible to retain food in the stomach. Fear, insomnia and chest pain indicate that the problem is manifesting in the Vata (air) humor, while severe weight loss suggests the problem is in the Kapha (water) humor. A mild diet is used along with herbs and spices to calm the nerves and encourage digestion. These include cardamom (Elettaria cardamomuni), fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and sandalwood (Santalum album). Massage oils applied to the head and feet are also helpful.
  2. Homeopathic remedies: Antimonium crudum, Biyonia alba, Carbo vegetabilis, Ipecacuanha, Phosphorus,Sepia.

I believe that psychological counseling is a must. DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) is often indicated, since so many anorexics are depressed. All-around good nutrition is important, but since the victims are reluctant to eat, I give them intravenous (IV) or intramuscular injections of vitamins and other nutrients.

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