But, new research suggests that there might be a very poetic answer to this particular issue. A number of recent studies have found that a dose of oxytocin — the hormone most commonly associated with love and bonding, and released during sex and childbirth — can help those struggling with anorexia to cultivate a healthier self-image.
We're particularly intrigued by a recent study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, which involved both anorexic individuals and a control group. Each subject was given either a dose of oxytocin or a placebo via a nasal spray and then shown a series of photos of high-calorie foods and people with a range of body types. Among the subjects suffering from anorexia, the researchers found that those who received the oxytocin spent less time scrutinizing the photos of high-calorie foods and people they deemed overweight — a widespread tendency among eating-disordered individuals that can be seen all too clearly in the pro-Ana community.
Of course, more research is necessary, and there is no such thing as a magic cure for a psychological disorder as complex and challenging as anorexia. Still, studies like these suggest that those suffering from eating disorders might soon have one more weapon in their arsenal. (BBC Health)