Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa: An Optimistic Guide to Understanding and Healing

Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa: An Optimistic Guide to Understanding and Healing

Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa: An Optimistic Guide to Understanding and Healing

Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa: An Optimistic Guide to Understanding and Healing

Synopsis

Emotionally and physically devastating, anorexia nervosa is the third most common chronic illness in teenage girls, striking one in every two hundred (boys only make up 10% of all cases). And while there are a plethora of books on the subject, most are either personal accounts of recovery or attempts to explain the disease from only one perspective, be it psychoanalytic, behavioral, cultural, or biological. Now, in this much-needed resource, Dr. Alexander Lucas draws on 40 years of experience, mostly at the Mayo Clinic, to offer clear guidance and authoritative advice on how to overcome anorexia nervosa. Based on his own unique research with thousands of patients, and striking a careful balance between psychological, cultural, and biological approaches, Dr. Lucas demystifies this seemingly irrational disease and guides parents through the harrowing process of recovery. The book defines anorexia, illustrates how it can evolve and how common it really is, and outlines every part of the treatment process, from the early warning signs that parents should watch out for, to the initial evaluation, to specific treatment plans. Dr. Lucas emphasizes the patient's role in defining the healing process, with the support of the family and medical team. Throughout the book, he counsels optimism, stressing that in spite of the destructive power of the disease, most who suffer from anorexia nervosa fully recover and are able to live normal, healthy, and productive lives. For anyone seeking level-headed, medically sound, and comprehensive guidance on the most effective treatments for this life-threatening disorder, Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa offers a wealth of reliable, reassuring information.

Excerpt

In the entranceway of my home hangs a bas relief showing the head and shoulders of a thin young woman carved from a piece of walnut by Eduard Dietmaier. Her face and long neck are hauntingly beautiful but her eyes are pensive and sad. They suggest the sadness that typifies the many faces of anorexia nervosa. The carving's beauty has a magical appeal but masks the suffering beneath the surface. So it is with the girls and young women who suffer from anorexia nervosa. Their outward thinness at first draws envy from their peers, calls forth compliments from their friends and family members, and is a visible badge of their ability to deprive themselves. But inside their bodies grows a malady that can be as relentless and destructive as cancer. Often it is as difficult to heal, and sometimes it leads as inexorably to death.

Thousands of articles on anorexia nervosa have been written in scientific journals since 1868. Hundreds of books have appeared. Yet there is still much ignorance and confusion about the disorder. In the latter decades of the twentieth century the overwhelming number of feature articles that appeared in newspapers and popular magazines, and the many televisions shows about eating disorders, created public awareness but also perpetuated false notions and myths about these disorders. The scientific articles included individual case reports, studies of small and large series of patients, studies of the frequency of the disorder in populations, studies of the causes and vulnerabilities, reports of the effectiveness of various treatments, and studies of the . . .

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