Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Treatment Bulimia Treatment Anorexia Nervosa Treatment OCD Treatment Self-Mutilation Treatment Psychotherapist Steven Levenkron
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Treatment Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Psychotherapist Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Consultations Supervision & Treatment Low Self Esteem
Eating Disorders

In 1978 information about anorexia nervosa was mainly descriptive. We spoke about the obsession with weight loss beyond normal low-weight limits, the biological changes in the starving person's body: thinning scalp hair, lowered blood pressure, poor circulation, lowered body temperature, diminished sex drive and capability, loss of menses, osteoporosis, and other changes which can produce premature aging and death.

Today we know much more about the bio-psychological changes that describe the mental state, and the deterioration of that state, resulting from weight loss. These changes deepen the disorder and reduce the chances of recovery as time goes on.

We understand that anorexia nervosa begins as an attempt, mostly by girls and women, to gain a sense of achievement through weight loss. Those who are obsessive by nature, rigid, and have difficulty with personality issues of trust, dependency, attachment, identity, and femininity, are at extremely high risk to develop anorexia nervosa. They are the ones who will become attached to the ideas that losing weight means adequacy, and maintaining or worse, gaining weight, is catastrophic. They will lessen their ties to family and friends while they become drawn more deeply into all the techniques, healthy and very unhealthy, to lose weight. They will become obsessed with infinite ways of measuring their weight and the dimensions of their abdomens and limbs. Their perceptions become distorted - adding pounds and inches to their bodies. They turn inward away from others until they are very difficult to connect with emotionally.

This is a treatable illness and over the last thirty years since I treated my first anorexic patient I have seen 90 percent of them recover and have a desk drawer filled with pictures of the children of my former anorexic patients. Some who have also contacted me years after treatment have requested that I talk them through their first pregnancy. They state, "I don't have to be skinny any more but the idea of a pregnant woman's figure is frightening to me." I have seen them through these pregnancies and enjoyed the phone calls announcing the births of their babies. There are lots of happy endings possible and I have been rewarded by this self-reported, long-term follow-up information.

The latest perspectives I have developed can be found in Anatomy of Anorexia, (2000, W.W. Norton), as well as my earlier Treating and Overcoming Anorexia, (1982, Warner paperback), which is more case-study oriented. The novelized case studies include, The Best Little Girl in the World, (1978, Warner Books), and Kessa, (1985, Warner Books), a sequel to the first book.





(c) 2010, Steven Levenkron, M.S. All rights reserved.
Psychotherapist Offering Clinical Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa, Self Mutilation & Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
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