Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy

Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy

Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy 780 405 Paterakis Michalis
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy: It is a disorder that mainly affects women. It has psychological causes and can be life-threatening. Let’s look at the symptoms first.

Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy – Symptoms

Body weight remains at least 15% below expected (either because of loss or because it was never achieved), or the Quetelet mass index (weight/height squared) is 17.5 or less. In preadolescent patients, failure to achieve age-expected weight gain may be observed.

  1. weight loss is self-inflicted by avoiding “fattening” foods. One or more of the following may also be present: self-induced vomiting, self-induced bowel movements with laxatives, excessive exercise, use of appetite suppressants and/or diuretics.
  2. there is a distortion of the body ego image in the form of a specific psychopathology in which the fear of fatness persists as an intrusive, overvalued idea and the patient imposes on himself a low level of body weight.
  3. there is widespread endocrine disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis manifesting in women as amenorrhea and in men as loss of sexual interest and ability.
  4. if the onset of anorexia nervosa is placed in preadolescence, the succession of the various events of puberty is delayed or inhibited (the growth of the individual stops, in girls the breasts do not develop and there is primary amenorrhea, in boys the genitals remain childish). With recovery, puberty is often completed normally but menstruation is delayed.

See also: Anxiety For No Reason

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So what are the causes? – Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy

Women have one basic fear in life. The loss of love. Men struggle with the anxiety of castration and women with the fear that they will stop loving each other. That’s where the problem starts. So something usually happens in childhood. Children stop eating for various reasons. It is a self-destructive reaction. In other words, there is anger which is not expressed towards the object it concerns, so it is directed towards the self. Instead of killing the other you kill yourself. You don’t kill the other because it’s like causing your own destruction and you fear that more than hitting yourself. Some conflict lurks there. Some conflict that cannot be expressed. It can be in some cases anger at the dad with whom the girl is in love and who loves mom more than her. It may be anger at mom who has developed a rivalry and wants to outdo her to steal her father away.

Anorexia has such unconscious causes that are deeply repressed and come to the surface in the form of punishment. That is, she punishes herself because she cannot get angry with her father or mother. At an early age, in childhood, the girl is attached to her mother. When they begin to compete, there is a fear that she will lose his love for turning to the father. But if you lose your mother’s love, it’s like she doesn’t feed you, like she doesn’t warm you with her embrace. You will die. So this is a difficult issue. But the love for the father is just as strong, as is the transition from love for the mother to love for the father. Therein lies the problem. It is well hidden and then takes various forms that complicate things and confuse the psyche. In psychotherapy, exactly this process takes place. We find out what happened then because the client conveys to the therapist her feelings towards her parents. Then we can stand therapeutically because we accept these feelings. These are normal feelings that for some reason created a lot of frustration and rejection. In therapy, one begins to relive the problem but also to repair it. It is something that he cannot do in everyday life because the conditions and the therapeutic base do not exist.

How is the treatment done? – Anorexia Nervosa or Psychogenic Anorexia Symptoms Psychotherapy

First of all, healing means understanding oneself. To know what is happening inside him. Because he is confused. What is he afraid of? What conflicts does he experience? What feelings he does not dare to express. How he perceives and lives his sexuality. What internal conflicts does he experience and how were they created? So he may have great resistance to all of this and while on the one hand he is suffering from symptoms, on the other hand he doesn’t even want to solve them. If he does not want to solve them – which means he is afraid of what he will find there – then he will live with these problems. Healing takes time and doesn’t happen magically.

The problem of omnipotence

The more childish one is, the more one thinks that problems will be magically solved. The problem here is omnipotence. It is the fear of being left behind, of course. In therapy we see this. Omnipotence is a remnant of infancy which, if it remains strong in adulthood, is a problem. It means that the person thinks that they are entitled to everything, that they should be taken care of without doing anything, that they are superior to others. Even if the opposite happens, it is still omnipotence. That is, if one considers that he is not entitled to anything, that he does not need to be taken care of and that he is inferior to others, it is the same. He simply hides his true face using a very common defense mechanism called opposition. If you look below you will find low self-esteem, open issues of relationship with the mother figure, omnipotent fantasies, thoughts of grandeur, etc.

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See also: individual psychotherapy

In general, caution is needed with body image disorders

Any disturbance related to the body image in the person’s perception needs attention because it indicates that something is not right with the narcissism. Narcissism is built up gradually from the beginning of life when the self is shared with the mother. Over time and with the frustrations that occur in this relationship, the self as a unit begins to emerge. In other words, he detaches himself from the binary unit (relationship with a mother figure) and can slowly, with support from his parents, stand on his own. Sometime around the age of 2, the child has the perception that when he looks at himself in the mirror or simply at his own image of himself, he sees an image that he recognizes as his own, under normal conditions it is whole and it also has some emotional dimensions, i.e. one sees oneself as quite good and bad, as more or less happy, etc.

Depending on what has happened within him during this complex period of time and the process that accompanies it, a more complete view of the self is formed. But this process does not end there yet. Personality has acquired most of its components, not until two but altogether until six years of life. So it would certainly be very good for parents to have as much information and treatment as they can for themselves before bringing a child into the world. Because human psycho-emotional development is really complex and we need to know as much as possible about ourselves. This will help us raise our children properly and all of us enjoy our relationships, our jobs, our sociability, ultimately life itself more.

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*Republication of the article is prohibited without the written permission of the author

See also: Oedipus complex. Love for the opposite sex.

The process of psychotherapy requires commitment, dedication and is addressed only to those who seriously see that they need to change their lives. If you are thinking of starting this journey, call me at 211 71 51 801 to make an appointment and see together how I can help you.

Mixalis Paterakis

Psychologist Psychotherapist

I accept by appointment

Kolonaki, Karneadou 37

Tel: 211 71 51 801


    Πατεράκης Μιχάλης
    Ψυχολόγος Αθήνα


      Psychologist Athens