Bach Flower Remedies for Eating Disorders
Background and definitions from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) website:
“There is a commonly held view that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are actually serious and often fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors. Obsessions with food, body weight, and shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder and affect approximately eight million Americans.
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a significant and persistent reduction in food intake leading to extremely low body weight in the context of age, sex, and physical health; a relentless pursuit of thinness; a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight; and extremely disturbed eating behavior. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight, even when they are starved or severely malnourished. Overall, the rate of anorexia in the US was reported to be 0.6%. It was three times more common in women than in men. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders.
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating (eating large amounts of food in a short time, along with the sense of a loss of control) followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, or diuretics), fasting, and/or excessive exercise. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia can fall within the normal range for their weight. But like people with anorexia, they often fear gaining weight, want desperately to lose weight, and are intensely unhappy with their body size and shape. Overall, 0.3% of the US population was diagnosed with Bulimia from 2001-2003. It was five times more prevalent in women than in men.
Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating episodes during which a person feels a loss of control and marked distress over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, binge eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise or fasting. As a result, people with binge eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Overall, 1.2 % of the US population was diagnosed with binge-eating disorder from 2001-2003. It was twice as common in women as in men.
More than half (56.2%) of respondents with anorexia nervosa, 94.5% with bulimia nervosa, and 78.9% with binge eating disorder met criteria for at least one of the core disorders listed in DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). All three eating disorders had the highest comorbidity with any anxiety disorder.”
-excerpted from various pages on the NIMH website
Several Bach Flower Remedies may be helpful to address some of the root causes of eating disorders. Since there are numerous emotions that may be contributing to the problems, someone may need any combination of the following remedies:
- Crab Apple helps with body image, body shame, and low self-esteem.
- Cherry Plum helps with a fear of losing control. Over-eating is a form of losing control.
- White Chestnut helps with obsessive thinking, whether thinking about food or thinking about one’s appearance.
- Star of Bethlehem helps process traumatic events, whether recent or from the distant past.
- Rock Water helps moderate people’s rigid or unrealistic standards of perfection.
- Aspen helps eradicate feelings of anxiety, or a sense of impending doom.
- Elm helps eliminate feelings of overwhelm, which many people feel as anxiety.
- Gentian helps people overcome feeling down after a setback.
- Gorse helps people overcome feelings of hopelessness and suicidal tendencies.
- Sweet Chestnut helps people cope with grief.
There are 39 Bach Flower Remedies, in all. They can work on every emotion imaginable, from depression to apathy. It is best to seek out a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP), a professional who is trained to ask the right questions to formulate the ideal blend for your specific needs.
I am available for phone consultations nationwide at 415-420-7800, [email protected], or www.CarlAndersonBFRP.com. If you prefer to work with a BFRP in your local area, you can consult the international registry at the following link: www.bachcentre.com/found/ref/usa.php.
Alternatively, you can purchase individual remedies and Rescue Remedy through my website www.CarlAndersonBFRP.com. Rescue Remedy is also readily available in most health food stores, food cooperatives, and anyplace where homeopathy is sold. It is a blend of Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Clematis, Rock Rose, and Impatiens.
©2018 Carl Anderson