Anorexia is a lifelong illness

Eating as a lifelong weak point

Linz - Christmas and the usual feast mean difficult times for people with eating disorders. This was pointed out by the Medical Director of the State Neurological Clinic, Werner Schöny, in a press conference on Tuesday in Linz. The number of those affected is large: 30 percent of the girls would exhibit abnormal eating behavior, such as being thin, vomiting or eating addiction.

facts and figures

2,500 of the 15 to 20 year olds in Austria are suffering from anorexia, said the senior physician at the Center for Psychosomatics, Hertha Mayr. In the group of 20 to 30-year-olds there are 6,500 people with an eating-vomiting addiction (bulimia). "Around 200,000 women develop an eating disorder once in their life," Mayr continued. The number of boys is also increasing - but not so drastically. In addition to genetic factors, triggers for eating disorders can also be family problems, traumatic experiences and crises in personality and identity development. In addition, there are socio-cultural factors such as the ideal of slimness conveyed in the mass media.

Improvement, but weak point

"Permanent improvement" occurs in two thirds of the patients after treatment, Mayr explained. "Even when the acute ailment is overcome, food can remain a lifelong weak point," she stressed. In around 30 percent, the eating disorder is chronic. The disease would be fatal for 10 to 15 percent of anorexic people.

In the State Neurological Clinic in Linz around 120 patients with eating disorders who suffer from anorexia, bulimia or eating addiction are treated every year, explained Schöny. It takes courage to get involved in therapy. After a two-week acclimatization phase, a treatment plan would be drawn up. The stay lasts an average of six to eight weeks.

It is particularly important that one is more aware of psychosomatic illnesses in general medicine, said Schöny. This does not only apply to the issue of eating disorders. However, there is already a trend that more and more doctors want to deal with the various complaints of their patients within the framework of a holistic understanding of the disease. (APA)