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How Anorexics Can Control their Anger

written by: Nichole Bolton • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 12/16/2010

People with anorexia not only have a difficult time physically, but they also sometimes struggle with their emotions. Anger in anorexia can be prevented or coped with to help lessen its effects for both the anorexic person and their loved ones.

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    Anger Anorexia

    Anger and anorexia often go hand in hand. This is partially due to hunger and malnutrition and poor self-esteem. Anorexic people who learn coping mechanisms find that they are better able to prepare themselves for anger and therefore cope when intense emotions arise.

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    Why Anorexia Causes Anger

    Anorexia is an eating disorder that involves a lot of anger. Things in the outside world can make people with anorexia angry, so they restrict ever more calories or compulsively exercise to punish themselves for the anger that they cannot control.

    Anger also surfaces when the eating disorder is confronted. People who care may reach out to the anorexic person and be met with denial and angry outbursts. An anorexic person may blame people around them for their problems, or make accusations to take the attention off of their disordered eating.

    This anger is caused not only by denial, but by hunger. A malnourished body has a hard time regulating itself in every way, including emotions. Feeling weak, tired and hungry is enough to make anorexic people lash out at those who love them.

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    Dealing with Anger in Anorexia

    One way to deal with the anger is to start a journal. Journaling can be used any time anger or other intense emotions are being felt. The person can write down what they are feeling to try and figure out the triggers of their negative emotions. Journals can help to pinpoint the cause of anger which in turn can help anorexics to figure out ways to prevent or cope better with future anger outbursts.

    Therapy can be useful in dealing with anger and anorexia. Therapy through counseling or support groups can be helpful if a list of anger triggers are taken in for discussion. The therapist or group or other people with anorexia can help to figure out coping mechanisms not only for anger, but for other common emotional issues. Counseling often involves cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches people to re-examine their thought processes and challenge their own ways of thinking.

    Learning to express anger through words can be a great way to not only deal with anger, but to learn to put words together with feelings. This means that instead of holding anger in until it's overwhelming, or directing it inwards, an anorexic person can learn to express why they are angry with a person or situation. This is helpful if it is done without harsh language or blaming; just stating exactly what is angering the person and how they would like to cope with it. This method allows others to step in and give the anorexic person a hand in dealing with their emotions if they would like some help.

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    In learning how to cope with anger and anorexia, many people find that the strong emotions associated with the disorder are easier to manage. Although mood swings are common in eating disorders, they are very unpleasant. Dealing with them at home and with a professional can aid in the recovery from anorexia's emotional symptoms.

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    References

    Support Line Problems: Anorexia - http://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/anorexia.php

    WomensHealth.gov: Anorexia Nervosa - http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/anorexia-nervosa.cfm


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