EATING DISORDER


What is an eating disorder?

An eating disorder affects eating behaviours and the thoughts and emotions that are related to eating. Those with eating disorders are commonly obsessed with food and their body weight. In many cases, eating disorders are related to psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, panic, an obsessive-compulsive disorder as well as alcohol and drug abuse issues.

Without proper treatment from a holistic approach, the complications caused by long-term untreated eating disorders can be fatal; however, Dr Mhlane prides herself in treating and managing the thought patterns which maintain disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa. 

Anorexia Nervosa

This eating disorder is categorised by an obsession with limited food intake, excessive exercising, laxatives or a combination of these techniques, fuelled by a fear of becoming fat. These individuals have severe issues with self-image and body image. As the body goes into starvation, females may experience menstrual cycles ceasing, osteoporosis, brittle hair and nails, depression and a number of other physical complications.

Treatment

Treatment of eating disorders is aimed at treating both the physical and mental health of the individual. Regaining a healthy weight can only be done by breaking negative thought patterns and destructive behaviour towards the body. When it comes to mental wellness, Dr Mhlane is a compassionate psychiatrist who strives for a person-centred approach to care. She offers guidance in treatment for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa in which psychotherapy may be used to alter the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that trigger these disorders as well as to determine any additional mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, which may require medication. Furthermore, to rebuild a healthy outlook on the individual's body image and eating habits, general medical care, nutritional management and nutritional counselling may be needed.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder categorised by an obsession with bingeing large amounts of high-calorie foods, during which those who suffer from the disorder feel out of control. After such a binge, those with bulimia nervosa may feel fuelled by guilt and purge by throwing up or using laxatives to rid their body of the food they just ingested. This process of binging and purging is repeated a few times a week or day depending on the severity of the disorder.

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Individuals with bulimia nervosa may range from being slightly underweight, normal weight, overweight or even obese depending on their purging habits.  While those who suffer from bulimia nervosa may hide their binging and purging, they may suffer from a chronic sore throat, swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw, severe dehydration and problems with their teeth due to exposure to stomach acid.

Treatment

Treatment of eating disorders is aimed at treating both the physical and mental health of the individual. Regaining a healthy weight and breaking the binging and purging cycle can only be done by aiming treatment at both the physical and emotional aspects. Dr Mhlane is a compassionate psychiatrist who strives for a person-centred approach to enhancing mental and physical wellness. She offers guidance in treatment for eating disorders in which psychotherapy may be used to alter the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that trigger these disorders. Therapy may also be used to determine the underlying issues that may be causing such behaviour, for which medications have also proven to be effective in the treatment process. Furthermore, to rebuild a healthy outlook on the individual's body image and eating habits, general medical care, nutritional management and nutritional counselling may be needed.

It is essential that, if you suspect you may be partaking in behaviours such as these, or that a loved one may be, to seek professional help from Dr Mhlane. With her medical and psychological expertise, those with eating disorders are sure to be in good hands both physically and emotionally. 

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