Anorexia: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Anorexia is a type of eating disorder. People who have anorexia don't eat enough to stay at a normal weight. Sometimes they also exercise too much. They do these things because they're so afraid of gaining weight. They believe that they're fat, even when they're thin. Often they think that losing even more weight will solve their problems and make their lives better.

If you have anorexia, it can really harm your health. This is because your body doesn't get the nutrition it needs. The first step to controlling the problem is admitting that something is wrong. Then counselling can help you change how you think about food, the way you see your body, and any other emotional issues. It may take months or years, but you can recover from anorexia.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Follow your treatment plan

  • Go to your counselling sessions. Call or talk with your counsellor if you can't go or if you think the sessions aren't helping. Don't just stop going.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

Trust people who are helping you

  • Listen to what counsellors and nutrition experts say about healthy eating.
  • Learn about what is included in a balanced diet. Then discuss what you learn.
  • Let people know how you are feeling. Listen to how they are feeling too.
  • Accept support and feedback from other people.

Learn to be easier on yourself

  • Learn to focus on your good qualities.
  • If your body feels weak, slow down and do less.
  • Remind yourself that feeling bad about yourself is all part of your disorder.
  • Remember that it takes time to recover from anorexia.
  • Spend time with other people doing things you enjoy.
  • Try to focus on one goal at a time.
  • Don't blame yourself for your disorder.

Develop healthy eating habits

  • With your doctor and counsellor, you will decide on a good weight for you. You will also decide how much weight you will gain each week.
  • Try not to argue with the people you eat with. Arguing increases stress. And stress can make make it harder for you to relax and eat.
  • Talk with other people during meals about things that interest you. Don't talk about food or gaining weight.

Caring for a loved one with anorexia

  • Remind yourself that anorexia is a long-lasting disorder. It takes time for changes to occur.
  • Show love and support for your loved one, especially if he or she gets discouraged.
  • Support your loved one as he or she goes through the steps of recovery. Focus on wellness. Don't focus on food.
  • Take care of yourself. Continue with your own interests, career, hobbies, and friends.
  • Don't blame yourself or look for the reason for the disorder.
  • If you are having a hard time, talk with a counsellor.
  • Learn what to do if your loved one relapses.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • A person with anorexia seems depressed and is talking about suicide. If the talk about suicide seems real, stay with the person, or ask someone you trust to stay with the person, until you get emergency help.
  • You have a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You feel hopeless or have thoughts of hurting yourself.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You feel anxious or depressed.

Where can you learn more?

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