The benefits of brain training for anorexia

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Anorexia is an eating disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. This disease can have serious physical and mental health consequences, making it an important health problem to treat. In this context, brain training can be an effective method to help people with anorexia heal and return to a healthy life.

Brain training can help develop a better body image, which is crucial for people with anorexia who often have a negative perception of their body. By developing stronger cognitive skills, patients with anorexia may also have a better ability to solve problems related to their treatment, such as meal planning and adhering to a healthy diet.



What are the eating disorders related to anorexia?




It is characterized by recurrent episodes of excessive food consumption, followed by compensatory behaviors such as vomiting or excessive use of laxatives. People with bulimia nervosa may feel a loss of control during episodes of overeating and may feel ashamed or guilty after eating. They may also have excessive preoccupation with their weight, physical appearance and diet, which may lead to dietary restrictions or compulsive eating behaviors.



Binge eating disorder

Also known as “non-eating bulimia”, is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of compulsive eating without inappropriate compensatory behavior to avoid weight gain. During these episodes, the affected person consumes more food than most people would eat in a similar period of time and often feels out of control. Overeating episodes are often accompanied by feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment.

Why is anorexia a primarily female disorder?

Social and cultural pressure

Social and cultural norms tend to impose unrealistic beauty and weight standards on women, which can lead to feelings of shame and insecurity for some women about their physical appearance. This can lead to unhealthy eating behaviors, such as excessive food restriction, which are characteristics of anorexia.


Some research suggests that female sex hormones, such as estrogen, may play a role in predisposing women to anorexia. In addition, it is possible that biological differences between the sexes affect how the body stores and burns fat. Women tend to store more fat than men and have a slower metabolism, which can make it more difficult for them to lose weight. This can lead to feelings of frustration and anxiety related to weight, which can lead to unhealthy eating behaviors, such as excessive food restriction.


Personal or family history

A family history of eating disorders, traumatic childhood experiences, or a history of mood disorders can increase the risk of developing an eating disorder, including anorexia.


Social stereotypes that women are more likely to have problems with weight and physical appearance may prevent men from recognizing that they have an eating disorder or seeking help.



Why do we talk about anorexia nervosa?


We speak of anorexia nervosa because this disease is above all an eating disorder that manifests itself by an obsession with thinness and an intense fear of gaining weight, even when the person is already very thin. This obsession can lead to severe restrictive behaviors such as drastically limiting food intake or excessive exercise, which can endanger the physical and mental health of the person affected.

Anorexia nervosa is therefore considered a psychiatric disorder because it is associated with significant emotional, cognitive and behavioral disturbances. The risk factors for this disease are numerous and can be related to personal, family or social problems, as well as cultural pressures to meet strict aesthetic standards. It is important to recognize the signs of anorexia nervosa and seek help as soon as possible to treat this complex and potentially life-threatening illness.




What are the physical symptoms of anorexia?


Weight loss

even if the person is already very thin. This weight loss can lead to muscle wasting, dehydration, dry skin and low blood pressure.


Anemia occurs when the level of red blood cells in the blood is lower than normal, which can lead to fatigue, weakness, dizziness, paleness and increased heart rate. People with anorexia nervosa may develop a deficiency of iron and vitamin B12, two nutrients that are essential for red blood cell production.



It occurs when blood glucose levels are too low, which can cause symptoms such as tremors, confusion, sweating, dizziness and loss of consciousness. People with anorexia nervosa may experience hypoglycemia due to a lack of glucose in the body, as the brain and other organs need glucose to function properly.


Heart and kidney failure

They can also occur as a result of anorexia nervosa. Malnutrition can weaken the heart muscle, reduce blood volume and cause tachycardia, arrhythmia and congestive heart failure. The kidneys can also be affected because they depend on adequate blood flow to function.


What is the link between anorexia and mental illness?


Anorexia nervosa can also be a cause of mental health problems. Malnutrition associated with anorexia nervosa can alter brain function, which can lead to altered mood, anxiety, cognition and other psychological symptoms. People with anorexia nervosa may also experience body image distortions, obsessive thoughts about food and weight, and low self-esteem, all of which are associated with mood and anxiety disorders.

Environmental factors may also contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa and related mental disorders. Social, family or cultural pressures related to thinness and physical appearance can play an important role in the development of anorexia nervosa and mental disorders.

Finally, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are often considered impulse-control disorders because people with these disorders tend to feel powerless over their diet. This feeling of lack of control can also contribute to the development of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.


What are the effects of our diet on our brain?


Positive impact

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as nuts and seeds, are particularly beneficial for brain health. These fatty acids are important components of the brain’s cell membranes and may improve memory, concentration and overall cognitive function.

Antioxidant-rich foods such as colorful fruits and vegetables can also have a positive impact on brain health. Antioxidants help protect brain cells from free radical damage, which can damage cell membranes and biochemical processes.

Negative impact

On the other hand, a diet high in saturated fat, sugar and salt can have a negative impact on brain health. Diets high in saturated fat can lead to a build-up of plaque in the arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain and increasing the risk of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.

Diets high in sugar can also have a negative impact on cognitive function, including reduced ability to concentrate and remember. It has been shown that some commonly used food additives, such as food colors and preservatives, can have negative effects on behavior and cognitive function in sensitive children and adults.

How do people with anorexia get psychological help?

Individual therapy

It allows the person with anorexia to work with a therapist to understand the roots of their eating disorder, explore underlying thoughts and emotions, and develop skills to cope with stressful situations in a healthier way. Group therapy provides a safe and supportive space for people with anorexia, where they can share their experiences, struggles and successes with others who understand what they are going through.

Family therapy

It is often recommended for younger people with anorexia because it involves the family in the recovery process. This therapy helps family members understand anorexia and learn how they can support their loved one in recovery. It can also help improve family relationships and strengthen communication skills.

What are the various cognitive supports for people with anorexia?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), can also be helpful for people with anorexia. These therapies aim to help people better manage their emotions and develop strategies to cope with difficult situations without resorting to disordered eating behaviors.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

It is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to anorexia. CBT helps people with anorexia to identify and change the negative thought patterns that cause them to deprive themselves of food, as well as to develop skills for dealing with situations that trigger unhealthy eating behaviors

Relaxation techniques

These include deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. These techniques can help reduce the anxiety and stress associated with anorexia, which can improve the quality of life for people with anorexia.


CLINT, a cognitive training program for people with anorexia


There are many ways to exercise your memory and cognitive functions. Using a brain training program can help people with anorexia to better manage their thoughts and emotions, and improve their eating behavior.

The JOE Brain Training program was designed specifically for adults to keep the brain healthy through fun and challenging brain exercises. It has over 30 cognitive games and targets concentration, focus, reflexes, language and many other cognitive functions.

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