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Extreme hunger and anorexia nervosa might seem contradictory at first glance, but they can

coexist and even interact in complex ways. Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health

disorder characterised by an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image,leading to extreme restriction of food intake and often excessive exercise. Despite severe

caloric deficits, individuals with anorexia may experience intense hunger due to their body's

physiological response to starvation.

The body's natural response to prolonged food restriction is to increase hunger signals, as it

tries to prompt the individual to seek out nourishment to survive. This heightened hunger can

feel overwhelming and uncontrollable, leading to cycles of binge eating followed by attempts

to compensate through further restriction or purging behaviors. This pattern can contribute

to the maintenance and exacerbation of the disorder.

Additionally, the psychological aspects of anorexia, such as feelings of guilt, shame, and a

desire for control, can further complicate the relationship with food and hunger. Individuals

may struggle with conflicting emotions around their hunger, feeling both terrified of it and

desperate to satisfy it.

Treatment for anorexia nervosa often involves a multidisciplinary approach, including

therapy to address the underlying psychological factors driving the disorder, nutritional

counselling to establish healthier eating habits, and medical monitoring to address any

physical complications resulting from malnutrition.

Stepping Stones with Helen can support you to address both the mental and physical aspects

of eating disorder to provide nutritional counselling behavioural change.

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