General Article A grown-up approach to treating anorexia

Topic Selected: Eating Disorders
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Adults with anorexia often have distinctive traits that lock them into a destructive relationship with food. Carrie Arnold discovers how those same traits could help them escape it.

Heather Purdin had run out of options. Aged 33, she had been suffering from anorexia nervosa for more than two decades and her weight had plummeted to that of a small child, an all-time low for her. Her case worker, out of frustration and desperation, suggested hospice care as a way to spend her remaining days in relative comfort. But for the first time in years, Heather was sure of one thing: she desperately wanted to live.

Treating anorexia, which is characterised by self-starvation and an inability to maintain an adequate body weight, seems absurdly simple on the surface: just eat and gain weight. It’s something Heather and the millions of others afflicted by eating disorders have heard countless times. The problem is that it’s never that simple. Heather has long since lost t

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