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Can Brain Stimulation Treat Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder that can be very difficult to treat, can cause a number of physical and mental health problems and even lead to death in some cases. A new study found that people who suffer from this eating disorder may benefit from brain stimulation. Transcranial stimulation is a treatment which has received approval for depression, and researchers in Britain evaluated patients who were diagnosed with anorexia nervosa both before and after the patients received the brain stimulation. According to a news release from King’s College London by researcher and first author of the study Jessica McClelland “With rTMS we targeted … an area of the brain thought to be involved in some of the self-regulation difficulties associated with anorexia.” The treatment involves magnetic pulses which are delivered to specific brain areas, and it alters the nerve cell activity in the patient’s brain.

The study on brain stimulation and anorexia nervosa was published in PloS One, a medical journal. McClelland explained “We found that one session of [brain stimulation] reduced the urge to restrict food intake, levels of feeling full and levels of feeling fat, as well as encouraging more prudent decision-making. Taken together, these findings suggest that brain stimulation may reduce symptoms of anorexia by improving cognitive control over compulsive features of the disorder.” Kings College London professor and the senior author of the study Ulrike Schmidt also commented in the news release, stating “Anorexia nervosa is thought to affect up to 4 percent of women in their lifetime. With increasing illness duration, anorexia becomes entrenched in the brain and increasingly difficult to treat. Our preliminary findings support the potential of novel brain-directed treatments for anorexia, which are desperately needed.”

5 Important Facts About Anorexia Nervosa Everyone Should Know

Anorexia nervosa, types of eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa, types of eating disorders


1. Anorexia nervosa is not about dieting or food, this disorder goes much deeper than that. This is one of the types of eating disorders that is very complex, and it has psychological and social components that can make effective treatment very difficult. Food is linked to body image or control in some cases and this link must be severed with intensive counseling.

2. Most types of eating disorders have a false body image factor, but this is just one of many factors that needs to be addressed. The reason for the anorexia nervosa will vary from one person to the next, and the only way to get to the root causes is with individual counseling several times a week.

3. There are two types of eating disorders when it comes to anorexia nervosa, restricting and purging. With restricting anorexia nervosa yo will try to lose weight or maintain an unhealthy body weight that is too low by using very strict diets, exercising almost around the clock, and even fasting completely at times. This restricts the calorie intake.

4. Purging anorexia nervosa is when you achieve weight loss by eating normally or even over eating and then purging yourself. You may force vomiting after every meal and snack, you may use laxatives in large amounts, and the use of diuretics is common with many types of eating disorders.

5. Anorexia nervosa is one of the types of eating disorders that can be treated with the right methods and counseling types. If you or someone that you care about has any eating disorder it is important to seek help as soon as possible.


What is Anorexia Nervosa and What Treatment is Used With This Eating Disorder?

anorexia nervosa, eating disorder

anorexia nervosa, eating disorder

Anorexia nervosa is a phrase that many have heard, but do you know what this eating disorder is and how it is treated? If you suffer from anorexia nervosa then you have an obsession with food or the lack of it, and you believe that you are overweight even if you are dangerously thin. Many celebrities have suffered from this eating disorder and some have died because they refused to accept treatment and starved themselves to death or suffered cardiac arrest because of severe malnutrition. Symptoms of anorexia nervosa can include:

  • A negative self image

  • Greatly restricting food intake

  • Completely refusing to eat

  • Exercising to an excessive degree

  • Fear of weight gain

  • Withdrawing socially

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • A complete lack of menstruation

  • A very thin appearance

  • Irregular heart beat

  • Frequently feeling cold

  • Little energy

  • Irritability

  • Being preoccupied with food

  • Dehydration

  • Skin that is dry and flaky

  • Low blood pressure

Treatment for anorexia nervosa requires individual counseling as well as other treatment methods. Each person who has this eating disorder will have unique issues which cause the problem, and the root of these issues must be uncovered and resolved. Group sessions are also important so that you realize others share your problems and that you are not alone. If you suffer from anorexia nervosa or any other eating disorder then it is important to seek help as soon as possible. The false body image that you have could cause you serious and even permanent physical damage because of self starvation.