Anorexia nervosa is a widely misunderstood condition that affects about one percent of the population. Mostly affecting women, this condition puts the sufferer at extreme risk of death and other severe health complications. Those who have a loved one with anorexia nervosa suffer along as they watch their friend or family member slowly lose their quality of life, seemingly at their own will.
While there is no tried-and-true treatment for anorexia nervosa, new research suggests that CBD might be able to help the sufferer overcome their condition in order to once again lead a normal, healthy life. This low-risk, natural and gentle plant compound has been found to have the potential to tackle the symptoms of anorexia nervosa like few things that we’ve seen.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is considered a psychological condition that affects the physical body. Those who suffer from this condition obsess over the amount of food that they take in each day as they have a phobic attitude toward gaining weight. Anorexia nervosa sufferers tend to go to great lengths in order to lose weight. These lengths include obsessively portioning out food and calories, exercising to an extent that’s dangerous to the body and fasting for unhealthy periods of time.
The condition can vary in severity. While some sufferers may choose to skip meals occasionally if they feel they’ve consumed too many calories, others can physically stop eating altogether, resulting in death. It’s also important to note that approximately one in every five anorexia nervosa sufferers dies as the result of suicide.
Causes of Anorexia Nervosa
It’s widely believed that the majority of anorexia nervosa suffers have the condition as a secondary disorder with a primary psychological disorder such as general anxiety, PTSD, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The belief is that the sufferer struggles to cope with the feelings that result from the primary disorder, resulting in a desire to control their environment by limiting the amount of food that they can take in each day. The idea is that by controlling their food intake, they have control over their life.
Anorexia nervosa can run in the family, although researchers aren’t sure if it has to do with genetics or influence from a parent who has their own controlling behaviors. There’s a strong link between early childhood trauma and anorexia nervosa. Sadly, there’s an even stronger link between childhood sexual abuse and anorexia nervosa.
Misconceptions About Anorexia
Oneof the biggest misconceptions about anorexia nervosa is that the sufferer simply wants to lose weight. While this can be the case, it’s more common that the sufferer is losing weight as a byproduct of their controlling behavior and psychological symptoms. In other words, most anorexia nervosa sufferers don’t want to lose weight because they think they’ll look better, but because they believe that restricting themselves in this way somehow helps them manage their psychological symptoms.
Another common myth is that you can force a patient to eat. Even if the anorexia nervosa sufferer is convinced to take in more calories each day, they’re not cured simply because they’re eating. For most sufferers, the primary condition such as anxiety or PTSD must be treated in order for anorexia nervosa to actually be cured.
Treating thisPsychological Condition
Typically, anorexia nervosa requires extensive therapy in order for a professional to determine and treat the underlying motivation behind the disorder. This can involve talk therapy or psychiatric medications. For severe cases in which the sufferer is at an unhealthy weight level, hospitalization may be necessary.
Sometimes, anorexia sufferers are sent to inpatient facilities that aim to treat this specific condition. In severe cases, the patient may have to be fed through a feeding tube in order to keep them alive.
Associated Health Risks
Anorexia nervosa is such a dangerous condition because the body requires nutrients in order to survive. Every single function of the human body is fueled by the food that we eat. When the person stops eating, every bodily process begins to slow down. Ultimately, this can lead to death.
One problem with anorexia is that it can be self-perpetuating. When a person is deprived of certain nutrients, psychological symptoms such as panic attacks, depression and aggression can occur. These symptoms can exacerbate the fear of gaining weight, creating an unhealthy cycle.
Could CBD Possibly Help Anorexia Nervosa Sufferers?
A study performed in Liverpoolfound that CBD has the potential to stimulate appetite while making the act of eating a more pleasurable experience. This means that CBD might be able to help the patient eat while they work through their underlying psychological issues.
The study determined that the increase in appetite comes from the unique way in which CBD affects the body’s endocannabinoid system. It found that CBD creates a more positive response in the brain when eating foods that are a particularly high source of energy and nutrients.
CBD has also been found to have the potential to manage both anxiety and depressionbecause of the way in which it helps the endocannabinoid system balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Essentially, the CBD attaches to cannabinoid receptors along the brain and nervous system that stimulate an increase in serotonin and a decrease in cortisol. Anecdotally, CBD is widely known as a natural stress reliever that helps a person feel calmer and more positive about their life.
In fact, research indicates that CBD may have a profound effect on PTSD sufferers. The study found that this cannabinoid essentially rearranges and heals the neurotransmitters that are damaged as the result of extreme trauma.
As far as anorexia nervosa is concerned, these studies suggest that CBD can tackle both the physical manifestation of the condition as well as the underlying psychological factors. Therefore, many medical professionals are optimistic about CBD’s effects on those who suffer from the condition.
CBD Affecting the Human Body
It’s widely believed that CBD can be taken safely on a daily basis. Because CBD supplements the body’s endocannabinoid system, what isn’t needed at the present moment is stored away for later use in the body. This means that most people can take relatively high doses regularly without worrying about serious side effects. Still, it’s important that you speak with your doctor before taking CBD if you are trying to treat a specific ailment.
How Can CBD be Taken to Treat Anorexia Nervosa?
If you wish to treat yourself or a loved one with CBD in an effort to overcome anorexia nervosa, it’s crucial that you look for a high-quality product that’s made by a respected brand. Cheap, low-potency CBD products will not provide the results that you’re looking for. Expect to pay a little more for quality. It’s worth it.
Also, keep in mind that CBD topical products will not be effective at treating anorexia nervosa as these products are only intended for localized pain and skin issues. Opt for a CBD product that’s known to provide long-lasting results such as a capsule, an edible or an oral tincture. You can begin by taking your CBD once each day and gradually increasing your dose if needed.
The Next Possible Treatment for This Type of Condition
Anorexia nervosa is a potentially deadly condition that can be difficult to treat. However, CBD is starting to look like a promising treatment option that just might be able to help tremendously. And as always, consult with your doctor first before you decide to take CBD for this type of disorder.