National Eating Disorders Association

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Treating Anorexia With Psychoanalysis

Hi, I am new here, too!

I am 55 (gulp!) and STILL dealing with this ED! I was inpatient at a treatment center, feeding tube, 16 years ago. Transitioned to day treatment, then to outpatient. Competitive bodybuilding got me on track with the need to eat in order to fuel muscles, and after 24 trophies, even winning over younger women when i was 50, I stopped competing due to money. We had a second daughter in college, our first daughter was getting married, and we chose to prioritize those events over my hobby. That re-triggered my decline, followed by sudden flashbacks of childhood sexual trauma . Together, those 2 events threw me so far back into anorexia! I tried trauma group therapy, intensive outpatient therapy, but to no avail. Worried about my health; my husband and our daughters are SCARED. Finally i was referred to A NEW THERAPIST, AND MET HER THIS WEEK. SHE DOES PSYCHOANALYSIS. Has anyone ever done it? My research indicates it is a lengthy undertaking, and can be one of those therapies where i may come home angry one time, frustrated, not so kind to my family, may "get worse before improving"....all of these things cause me anxiety. However, I am curious and cautiously optimistic. Our younger daughter (22 1/2) made me promise to stick it out regardless of how hard it becomes, and to elicit support from close friends who will not let me quit.

Any feedback is appreciated!!!



I'm sorry you feel like you're slipping back. Relapse is just a part of life however and you CAN beat this. You are strong. I'm not a professional body builder by any means but I do enjoy weight lifting and it helps me a lot. Is there maybe a nearby gym where you could train just for fun since that helped you before? I'm glad you are working hard for recovery. You deserve it. Hugs

Hey Cathleen!

You are the definition of a fighter. I applaud you on all your successes throughout your bodybuilding career. There is a lot to say about the dedication and passion people put into such an interesting sport. You are a fighter, a champion. Against all odds, you will prevail. You've proved this to yourself with your sport successes. You know the ingredients to overcome your ED lie within you. Relapsing is difficult, this is true. Working toward recovery is a journey, filled with hills, holes and dark corners, but recovery is possible. Believe in yourself the way you have for years already. It seems like you have a fantastic support group at home (and here too!) that will prove to be very helpful when times get tough or even when things are going amazingly! I love your spirit. If bodybuilding has taught you anything, maybe it's that rest and recovery is as important (if not more so) than the hard work you put in. We all believe in you.
As always,

treating anorexia with psychoanalysis

You both are SO INCREDIBLY supportive and positive! I hope recovery is going as smoothly as possible for you.

Since i work in the same gym (teaching aerobics and personal training) where i work out, I am ALWAYS surrounded by the mirrors and the stares from people I have known for years as well as new faces ... yes, we get them every January like every other gym in the world! Most of the newcomers are gone by Valentine's Day, though! LOL I have worked here for 28 1/2 years so everyone knows me, many know my history with Bodybuilding (my plaque and picture is on the wall in the main hallway, the St. louis Jewish sports Hall of Fame....highly coveted lifetime achievement honor) and with ED. I used to get stares for how muscular I was; now, sadly, it is not because of that but more of the typical "what happened to her? She used to look so different. She must be sick again" look.

Whatever....I am maybe as good as i am going to get??? I start psychoanalysis tomorrow and am cautiously optimistic, scared, anxious...all the things one would except when embarking upon a new treatment path. Since i am a scientist by education (B.S. in Microbiology) and a freelance science/fitness/wellness author, I love doing research as i am writing for magazines. So, of course i did a ton of research on psychoanalysis. All it did was prove to me how my very early years were key in ED's development, frighteningly similar to what i see in the literature and professional scientific journals. It almost mad eye want to cry.

As a group, those of us with an ED do tend to be highly motivated, bright, people pleasers, often makes me wonder how we all can be so very accomplished while living with such a powerful hindrance as "ED-head" constantly resonating in our brains, reminding us ED is in control and that without him we are worthless!!!! My hearty congratulations to all of my fellow sufferers and survivors on all of your individual and collective triumphs! Some days I think I am faking the success, making it one day, one moment, at a time.

Maybe psychoanalysis will enlighten me and serve to show me the underlying issues that are at the very heart and core of my anorexia-filled life. I do not know anyone who has gone thru this treatment, so it is hard for me to assess the success rate of it.

More than words can express, I appreciate and am grateful for your support, input, reflections, suggestions, etc. I am also happy to be on the supportive end, for anything you need or are going through too!!!


I hope tommorow goes well

I understand the gym thing with all the mirrors around. I hate it because I don't like seeing my reflection and it makes me self conscious. I know it's hard, but I hope you don't let others' stares drag you down in any way. They've only read the front cover of your book, not the chapters inside. I've done some research on what leads to eating disorders and self harm too and I'm scared by realizing how naive I was when engaging in certain behaviors without knowing what it would lead to. But we are survivors are fighters. I hope you have an amazing day tomorrow. Sending prayers and hugs!

Awesome Insights, Thank You

This is what I have desperately needed: a support network! Been dangling on a precipice for a long long time. You all are so insightful, honest and refreshing. I thank you for the prayers, advice, openness, and encouragement. Therapy is good, as she puts it, psychotherapy from the point of view of one trained only in psychoanalysis, not cognitive behavior therapy or dialectical behavior therapy. Whole new ball of wax for me but I am determined to see it through.

There must be such freedom in shedding the snake skin of self-harm, ED, and all manner of abusing oneself. Congrats and revel in the clarity! Yes, it is true, people judge me like a book by its cover; only real friends know the tip of my "real' iceberg...well, as much of that iceberg that even I know at this point! Hoping to get to know myself throughout this therapeutic process. SO SICK of mirrors!

It is frightening as well as enlightening to look back into early life and see what shaped us, pushed us over the edge. From what i read, society and media and being rail-thin (nature) is not as much to blame as nurture; a physiological predisposition to an eating disorder actually is present within the DNA...encoded close to the gene for OCD and Depression. The widely-renowned Dr. Kim McCallum shared that with me years ago. That doesn't mean, however, that we cannot be taught to overcome....

Thank you all again, and keep going on each of your own journeys to the other side of the dark mountain! I believe G-d's rays of light can touch us even over there....!


I have heard about that too

I read that those with anorexic tendencies actually have genetics that cause them to feel less hungry. While those with bulimia and binge eating disorder are also born with genetics which cause them to feel like they need to eat more to fill themselves up. I wish I had known this when I was younger. I started binge eating as early as seven but hid it from everyone. I just assumed I was a normal little girl who loved food and everyone did it. I always felt ashamed though and after my brother died it got so much worse. I'm glad I hadn't started purging back then though or God knows where I'd be now. I'm glad you are excited about being free. I am too. I'm on day five of no bulimia. The longest I've made it is six days but I'm gonna make it to at least a week. I promised myself. Sending hugs. I hope therapy keeps going well. God bless you.

Congrats, Cassie

Way to WILL make the week! Rooting for you!


Working on day six...:)


It is SO awesome on your recovery, and it's almost the WEEKEND! You're doing a lot of hard work. I hope you find a way to celebrate :). We arec all working so hard at recovery that I think sometimes we don't aknowledge that progress, which is a shame. Take time out for you. You deserve and are worthy of it.

Congrats, Cassie!

It MUST feel so fabulous being YOU right now! We are all behind you, wanting everything good life has in do deserve it!

I wish i could say i made it a week.

Tommorow starts day one. I messed up today and yesterday. Time to try again... (:

We are Here

Cassie, rather than think of it as "messing up", remind yourself that you made it longer than ever before! Such a success!! Empowerment, all the way. Now that you know 6 days is achievable successfully, it will spur you on for this next week. Reach out always!!!


Thank you

Remember you can do this too!


Thank you!!! xoxo


Cassie, how is it going?

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