Addiction is a recognised mental health problem, but most people assume that it refers only to those who are addicted to substances such as alcohol or drugs. In reality, it is possible to become addicted to almost anything. If something has become a destructive force that negatively impacts on a persons life, it can be classed as an addiction. Addiction occurs when an individual loses control over his or her actions and is compelled to do something even though doing so will cause harm.
Food addiction and eating disorders are also classed as mental health problems, and a growing number of people in the UK are struggling with some type of eating disorder. Anorexia is one of the more well-known eating disorders and those affected tend to become obsessed with restricting the amount of food they eat. Anorexics often become severely ill because their weight drops to dangerous levels, and there are many physical and mental health problems associated with this condition.
Aroosha Nekonam is a recovering anorexic who at one point was so frail and weak that doctors told her she would need a wheelchair. She was so underweight that simple activities such as walking were putting a massive strain on her heart.
Miss Nekonam admits that even with this warning, she was fighting a mental battle because she did not know whether to believe the doctors. She said, I had a little voice saying, They’re lying, they’re just trying to undo your work.
Thankfully, Miss Nekonam has made an amazing recovery and is now looking forward to entering her first bodybuilding contest. She has decided to tell her story to show other anorexics that it is possible to recover from this devastating illness.
She said that she wanted to get well for her family and found it hard to forgive herself for what she had put them through. She added, I couldn’t have got through this without them. Anorexia is an illness that thrives on silence and isolation, so it’s vital people talk about it and not suffer in silence.
Miss Nekonams illness began as a result of a number of issues left her struggling with low self-esteem. She said that she had developed an interest in being fit and healthy eating, but this then became an obsession. She said that every pound lost felt like a win as she began to use food and exercise as a way to regain control of her life.
As well as restricting her food, she began to exercise excessively. She said, I’ve never hated before, but at that time, I hated myself. Starving myself was my answer to everything because, in my eyes, it was the only thing I was good at.
Mental Health Issue
Miss Nekonam is keen to point out that anorexia has nothing to do with vanity and said that although she knew her dramatic weight loss was not healthy, she could not stop what she was doing.
Her mother knew that something was not right and took her to see a psychiatrist, but like most addicts, Miss Nekonam was in denial and refused to admit that she had a problem. However, with the support of her family, she managed to come to terms with her illness and worked hard with a psychiatrist and dietician to get stronger and healthier.
She is now fitter and healthier than ever and wants to share her story in a bid to inspire others. She wants those with eating disorders to reach out and get help, reiterating that early intervention is key.