Among all of the psychological disorders and mental illnesses, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate, killing an estimated 10 percent of individuals within 10 years of the onset of the disorder. It is widely believed that the media and fashion industry’s portrayal of women plays a significant role in the cause of eating disorders. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The development of an eating disorder is unique to each individual; however, simply put, these disorders have similar root causes which tend to gravitate around their relationships, and in all too many cases, result from some form of abuse within those relationships; an abuse of a individual’s boundaries, or an abuse that is psychological, physical or sexual. The stress and anxiety associated with this can often cause an individual to develop an eating disorder as a coping mechanism to gain a sense of control in their lives.
Katharina Sulzbacher, psychotherapist and owner of the Weidenhof Therapy Centre, says, “They want to be thin to be able to control something in their lives… the fear of being left alone or the fear of not being able to manage what is ahead of [them] is uncontrollable and they cannot approach it. What they can control is how big their food intake is, how many calories, how much they weigh. In therapy, this is called projection. You take something and project it onto something else. You think that will solve the problem, but it won’t.”
The Weidenhof Therapy Centre is dedicated to the recovery process of patients with eating and personality disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating, Obesity, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression and many others. The centre treats and houses both male and female patients of any age, with an understanding that while there are many individual causes for these disorders, their root causes surrounding boundaries, relationships and abuse are consistent among the majority of patients. The recovery is arduous and can take years to accomplish, with a minimum stay of 6 months.
Borderline is an in-depth reportage focusing on the recovery process of eating and personality disorders at the Weidenhof Therapy Centre, located outside Klagenfurt, Austria.
(Image captions pending a back-end software update, should hopefully be very soon!)