How to Help People Suffering From Anorexia

How to Help People Suffering From Anorexia

Anorexia is a serious and devastating mental health condition, which can have terrible impacts on the health and wellbeing of sufferers and can even be fatal. Studies have shown that anorexia has a mortality rate which is 12 times higher than the mortality rates from all other causes. Sadly, anorexia and eating disorders in general are on the rise and this is impacting the lives of millions of people around the world.

Thankfully, anorexia responds well to treatment, and if caught and treated early, the long-term health impacts are significantly minimized. We’ve created our exclusive Anorexia treatment facilities to provide a safe place for these vulnerable individuals, where they can receive the very best care and effective treatment to recover from anorexia.

In this article, we’re looking closer at anorexia and answering your questions about this complex and dangerous mental health condition. We hope by helping you to understand it better, you will be able to identify the warning signs and get the help you or your loved one needs.

What is anorexia?

According to the NHS, “Anorexia nervosa (often called anorexia) is an eating disorder and serious mental health condition.

People who have anorexia try to keep their weight as low as possible. They may do this in different ways, such as not eating enough food, exercising too much, taking laxatives or making themselves sick (vomit). This can make them very ill because they start to starve.”

It is typically characterized by a severely limited intake of food, a low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight. Sufferers also tend to have a distorted perception of their own body shape and weight and a very poor body image. However, please be aware that anorexia manifests in many ways, so even if someone you love isn’t underweight, they may still have a problem.

It is very important to understand that once someone has developed anorexia, they aren’t in control of their actions and can’t simply stop it, or “get over it”. Anorexia becomes an obsession and a compulsion and often incorporates body dysmorphia, so the sufferer isn’t able to make rational decisions or see things as they really are.

If you think that you or your child could be suffering from anorexia, take a look at the list of warning signs on, and if you answer yes to several of these questions, you should seek help.

What causes anorexia?

Unfortunately, there is no one cause of anorexia, and it’s usually very difficult to identify the root cause. It is a very complex mental illness, and different people are triggered into developing it in different ways. However, there are a few common risk factors to be aware of.

These include; a family history of eating disorders, mental health problems or addiction, being criticised for your eating habits, body shape or weight, having anxiety, low self-esteem, an obsessive personality, or being a perfectionist, and being abused. Dieting regularly can also significantly increase your risk of developing an eating disorder.

Who does anorexia affect?

Anorexia can affect everybody! People of all ages, sexes and from all backgrounds suffer from anorexia. However, there is a higher percentage of females than males who suffer from anorexia, and the problem typically starts in the mid-teens. There are also higher proportion of sufferers who are athletes, in the LGBTQ+ community or have disabilities. There’s also a higher risk of anorexia in the Jewish community and with people of colour.

How can anorexia harm you?

Unfortunately, the extreme calorie restrictions that people with anorexia impose upon their diet can lead to malnutrition. If this persists for a significant period of time, it has serious short-term and long-term effects on your health.

These vary for everyone and depend on the severity and longevity of the condition, but some of the most serious issues are cardiovascular disease and heart problems. Anorexia can be fatal as it can lead to cardiac arrest and other heart damage, which is associated to around a third of the deaths caused by anorexia.

Other serious issues include hormonal imbalances causing problems regulating insulin, overproduction of cortisol and loss of bone mass. Gastrointestinal issues are also very common, and many people suffer from heartburn, reflux, chest pain and constipation. Anorexia is also linked with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. 

This is a mental health condition which must not be ignored. Rapid and effective treatment is key to minimising the long-term health impacts of anorexia. Please contact us to discuss how we can offer support and care in our exclusive anorexia treatment facilities.

What help is out there for people with anorexia?

While anorexia is a serious condition, recovery rates are good with the right treatment. According to NICE, 46% of people fully recover, and the prognosis is even better in adolescents where the condition has been addressed early, with up to 60% recovering fully if they get early, specialist treatment.

There are a number of talking therapies and treatments that are highly effective. These include cognitive behavioural therapy, which has been shown to be an effective way of treating a range of eating disorders, as it enables the therapist to work with the patient to change the way they think and behave around food and how they think about themselves and their bodies.

The best results come from a combination of therapy types and treatments, alongside education and working with a nutritionist and coach to improve their relationship with food and establish a realistic and achievable meal plan.

Residential anorexia treatment facilities are preferred because eating disorders encourage highly secretive and controlling behaviour that can be difficult to spot in a normal home environment. Being in a residential environment also allows clients to be supervised medically and to have an intensive period of building up their weight and strength and allowing them to recover enough to receive the treatment they so desperately need.

How do we work?

At The Bridge, we’re passionate about helping people suffering from anorexia and eating disorders to find a way out and develop a healthy relationship with food and a positive body image. We understand that it’s a highly complex condition and that sufferers are often very young and very vulnerable, so need time, patience and care, alongside the very best treatment possible.

When someone comes into our anorexia treatment centre and their weight has stabilised to safe levels, we encourage them to join the group and engage in therapy. Clients receive CBT therapy for the specific thinking that comes with an eating disorder, as well as education around food. We work with nutritionists to create a realistic and achievable meal plan and offer nutritional rehabilitation to improve their relationship with food. Alongside this, we use yoga and meditation to build strength, flexibility and resilience in body and mind and help clients to be able to control their emotions and manage stress, without reverting to their old behaviours.

Our exclusive anorexia treatment facilities are housed in a stunning villa in Marbella, with beautiful individual ensuite rooms, a swimming pool and nourishing food cooked by a private chef. It is a comfortable, discreet and inspiring place to be and the results have been truly exceptional.

For example, a 17-year-old client came to us who had been binging and purging and struggling with eating disorders, depression, self-harming, anger issues and drug use for more than two years. Our eating disorder-trained nurses accompanied her 24 hours a day at the beginning of her stay to monitor her closely and stop the binging and purging behaviours. She was also helped by a nutritional therapist, a therapist and a doctor and after a three month stay, she was eating a wide variety of foods and was relaxed and happy around food. The transformation was incredible, and she felt so positive and happy to be going home and starting a brand-new chapter.

“My stay at The Bridge was an experience and opportunity that I will never forget. It became my home and every staff member and client became my family. The trust, honesty and compassion of every single individual in here has helped me progress in my recovery and I will always be grateful.

The Bridge took me in broken, and I’m going home recovered. This place and the people in it are the magic that takes place here.” 

Please contact us if you need support with anorexia, have questions on how best to help your child or loved one with an eating disorder, or have questions about dealing with these issues in general. There’s no shame in asking for help and a much brighter future ahead of you if you do!