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More People Suffer From Bulimia and Anorexia In Czech Republic

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Many individuals perceive eating disorders as simply an unhealthy connection with food. However, they are, in fact, significant psychosocial issues, often stemming from a disrupted self-concept, problematic relationships with loved ones, and more recently, the influence of social networks and unreasonable self-imposed demands.

Mental conditions like anorexia, bulimia, overeating, and the emerging orthorexia are highly deceptive diseases that can impact individuals of any age. “Although women tend to be the most vulnerable, there has been a rise in the percentage of male patients with these disorders,” states psychologist Marie Funke from the AdiCare Center for Psychological and Mental Health Services. Young men in their teenage years and early adulthood, characterized by traits like perfectionism and a results-oriented focus, face the greatest risk. According to the Institute for Health Information and Statistics, the number of adolescents between 15 and 17 years old with eating disorders has increased by 15% in the last decade.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a substantial spike in eating disorders, potentially due to prolonged social isolation negatively affecting children’s psychological well-being. Additionally, the increased usage of social networks during this time exposed many individuals, especially youngsters, to harmful profiles. Furthermore, there has been a recent surge in orthorexia, an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy, while men are more prone to bigorexia, an obsession with achieving a muscular physique.

“Similar to anorexia or bulimia, impaired self-concept, lack of self-confidence, or a need for control are among the primary causes of these eating disorders,” explains psychologist Michaela Plevkova from the Psyon psychedelic clinic.

Treating eating disorders can be highly challenging, particularly in cases of anorexia nervosa. Severe instances often require hospitalization due to malnutrition, which can lead to organ failure. “Furthermore, patients with this type of illness tend to be more reluctant to confront the problem as they lack an objective external perspective. With overeating or bulimia, individuals are often more aware that there is an issue,” says Michaela Plevkova.

Psychotherapy is the most commonly utilized approach for treating eating disorders, with each disorder requiring a slightly different therapeutic approach. “In severe cases, doctors sometimes supplement psychotherapy with psychopharmacological drugs,” adds Marie Funke. Recent data and expert experience suggest that ketamine-assisted therapy may hold promise for the treatment of eating disorders, as it has been successful in treating other psychiatric disorders within the anxiety and depression spectrum.

“Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy offers a significant advantage by enabling patients to gain insights into dysfunctional behavioral and emotional patterns or their life situations that are not easily accessible through traditional therapy. The pharmacological effects of ketamine alleviate depressive or anxious states, leading to a reduction in symptoms and the adoption of more adaptive behavior,” explains Plevkova, citing an example of an individual consumed by delusional thoughts, convinced that they need to lose weight and restrict their diet. Particularly for individuals with anorexia, ketamine therapy can help mitigate the intensity of such thoughts.

The pharmacological effects of ketamine may address neurotransmitter regulation issues associated with eating disorders. “Moreover, it enhances neuroplasticity, the process of forming new connections, which can lead to the development of new habits, alternative thought patterns, and changes in attitude in various aspects of life,” adds the psychologist.

Preventing these disorders primarily involves cultivating a healthy relationship with food, avoiding experimentation with diets and eating recommendations, and fostering a strong sense of self-esteem and self-respect within the family. However, if a problem does arise, it is crucial not to hesitate in seeking professional assistance. Genetic predisposition, social pressure, or excessive stress often contribute to the development of these disorders. “If you notice the initial signs, consulting a specialist for advice can significantly ease the treatment process.”

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