The 20-year-old, who ate nothing but potato chips since the age of 5, had her first meal, a pizza, after seeking hypnosis therapy to forget her fear of food
London: Hanna Little has eaten chips every day since she was just five because she was sick whenever she tried to eat other foods, leaving her terrified of every meal. The 20-year-old suffers from severe Selective Eating Disorder (SED) that completely controlled her life, until now.
Hanna Little finally decided enough was enough when she had to quit her factory job because she kept passing out due to her limited diet. But she was thrilled when, after just one hypnotherapy session, she was able to eat her first proper meal a pizza. Representation pic/thinkstock
Little, from Truro in Cornwall, suffered anxiety attacks at the thought of eating new foods and could never eat with friends, having to check menus before she ate out anywhere. She said, “Refusing foods started when I developed colic as a baby. I’ve had SED for as long as I can remember. I never really knew what scared me about new food.
Different foods terrified me, it made me physically sick and anxious and I never knew how I would react. I would go to parties, picnics and barbecues with my friends but I would never be able to eat anything. I think I can eat chips because they’re just plain — it was the idea of different flavours mixing together which really freaked me out.”
Hanna finally decided enough was enough when she had to quit her factory job because she kept passing out due to her limited diet. But she was thrilled when, after just one hypnotherapy session, she was able to eat her first proper meal – pizza – in more than a decade.
Psychologist and clinical hypnotist Felix Economakis from The Heath therapy clinic in North London, treated her. Economakis said, “SED is usually caused by a trauma associated with food - it is often something that has happened as a baby that the patient has no conscious memory of.
The fear of food stems from this trauma and the anxiety associated with it. By unlocking the subconscious I can get the patient to process the past and learn to let go of the fear de-traumatising the experience.”