Anorexia nervosa is characterized by abnormally low body-weight, intense fear of increasing weight, and a distorted perception of body weight. People with anorexia attach great importance to controlling their weight and shape, using extreme force, which significantly interferes with work in their lives.
To prevent weight gain or continue failing weight, people with anorexia are usually severely limited in the amount of food they eat. However, they can control calories by vomiting after eating or abusing laxatives, diet aids, diuretics, or enemas. People may also try to lose weight by exercising excessively.
However, people with anorexia generally deal with abnormally low body weight, while bulimia is usually normal above average weight. Regardless of how weight loss is achieved, a person with anorexia has an intense fear of gaining weight.
Anorexia is not really about food. That is an unhealthy way to try to deal with emotional problems. When you have anorexia, you often associate thinness with self-esteem.
Anorexia can be very difficult to overcome. But with treatment, you can get a better idea of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of the severe complications of anorexia.
Symptoms of anorexia nervosa
Physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are connected with hunger. Still, the disorder also includes emotional and behavioral problems related to the unrealistic perception of body weight and highly intense fear of gaining weight or getting fat.
Physical signs and symptoms of anorexia may involve:
- Extreme Weight Loss
- Thin appearance
- Abnormal blood test
- Dizziness or fainting
- Bluish color changes in the fingers
- The hair thins, breaks, or falls. Soft, downy hair covering the body
- Dry or yellowish skin
- Cold intolerance
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Low blood pressure
- Swelling of the hands or feet
Emotional and behavioral symptoms
Behavioral symptoms of anorexia may include any attempts to lose weight:
- Severely restricting food intake through diet or fasting and may include extreme exercise.
- Bingeing and individual-induced vomiting to get rid of the food may include laxatives, enemas, diet aids, or herbal products.
Other emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms associated with anorexia may include:
- Preoccupation with food
- Refusal to eat
- Denial of hunger
- Fear of gaining weight
- Lying about how much food should be eaten
- Flat mood
- Social conclusion
- Reduced interest in sex
- Thoughts of suicide
When to see a doctor
Anorexia, like different eating disorders, can take over your life. Unfortunately, many people do not want to treat anorexia, at least initially. Their desire to stay thin overrides concerns about their health. You have a chosen one you are worried about, call her or talk to your doctor.
If you experience each of the problems listed above or think you may have an eating disorder, get help. If you hide your anorexia from family, try to find a trusted person you can talk to about what is happening.
Causes of Anorexia Nervosa
The exact cause of anorexia is unknown. However, as in many diseases, it is probably a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors:
- Biological – Although it is unclear which genes are involved, maybe genetic changes make some people more susceptible to anorexia. People may have a genetic tendency to perfectionism, sensitivity, and perseverance. All the traits associated with anorexia
- Psychological – Some emotional symptoms provide. Adolescent women may have obsessive-compulsive personality traits that make it easier to stick to strict diets and abstain from food despite hunger. They can have an extreme drive for perfectionism, making them think they’ll never thin enough. They can have high levels of anxiety and limit your diet to reduce it. 1
- Environment – Modern Western culture emphasizes subtlety. Success and is often equated with being thin. Peer pressure can help to nourish the desire to be light, especially among young girls.
Risk factors for anorexia nervosa
Several risk factors increase the risk of anorexia, including:
- Being a woman – Anorexia is more common in girls and ladies. However, boys and men are more likely to develop eating disorders, possibly due to growing social pressures.
- Young age – Anorexia is more common among adolescents. However, people of each generation can develop this eating disorder, although rare in those older than 40. Teenagers may be extra susceptible because of all the changes their bodies are going through in puberty. They may also face increased pressure from peers and be more sensitive to criticism or even casual comments about weight or body shape.
Genetics – Changes in specific genes can make people more susceptible to anorexia.
- Family history – Those with the first-degree relative -. parent, sibling, or child -. that had the disease have a much higher risk of developing anorexia
- Weight changes – When people change their weight – intentionally or unintentionally – these changes can be enhanced by positive comments from others for weight loss or negative remarks about gaining weight. Such changes and words can provoke someone to start a diet to extremes. In addition, fasting and weight loss can change the brain’s workings in vulnerable individuals who may perpetuate the restrictive eating behaviors and make it difficult to return to regular eating habits.
- Transitions – Whether it is a new school, home, or work; The collapse of the relationship, or the death or illness of a chosen one, a change can cause emotional stress and increase the risk of developing anorexia.
- Sports, work, and artistic activities – Athletes, actors, dancers, also models are at higher risk of anorexia. In addition, coaches and parents may inadvertently increase the risk, suggesting that young athletes lose weight.
- The media and society often have a parade of skinny models and actors, such as television and fashion magazines. These pictures may seem to equate thinness with success and popularity. Although whether the media merely reflect social values or drives them is not clear-cut.
Anorexia nervosa Complications
Anorexia can have many complications. In the most critical cases, it can lead to death. Unfortunately, death can occur suddenly – even when someone is not severely depleted. This may result from abnormal heart rhythms about an imbalance of electrolytes – minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium that maintain fluid balance in your body.
Other complications of anorexia involve:
- Heart problems such because mitral valve prolapse, abnormal heart rhythm, or heart failure
- Bone loss, increasing the risk of fractures later in life
- In women, the absence of a period
- In men, testosterone decline
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating or vomiting
- Electrolyte disturbances, such as low blood potassium, sodium, and chloride
- Kidney problem
If people with anorexia becomes malnutrition severely, every organ in the body can be damaged, including the brain, heart, and kidney. This damage can not be completely reversible, even when stored under the control of anorexia.
In addition to the many physical complications, people with anorexia also tend to have other psychiatric disorders. These may include:
- Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Alcohol and substance abuse
Anorexia nervosa Diagnosis
Suppose your doctor suspects that you have anorexia. In that case, they usually perform several tests and exams that can help pinpoint the diagnosis, rule out medical causes for weight loss, and check for any related complications.
These exams and tests generally include the following:
- Physical exam – That may include measuring your height and weight; checking your vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; checking your skin and nails for problems; listen to your heart and lungs, and study your abdomen.
- Laboratory tests – may involve a complete blood count and specialized blood tests to check protein, electrolytes, liver function, kidney, and thyroid gland. Urine can also be done.
- Psychological evaluation – A doctor about mental health provider is likely to ask about your thoughts, feelings, and eating habits. You may too be asked to fill out psychological questionnaires of self-esteem.
- Other studies – X-rays may be taken to check bone density, stress fractures, broken bones, or check for pneumonia or heart problems. An electrocardiogram may be done to look for violations of the heart. Testing may also be done to determine how much energy the body uses, which can help in planning nutritional needs.
Diagnostic criteria for anorexia
Diagnostic and the Analytical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used with mental health providers to diagnose mental health and insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa include:
- Restricting food intake – eat less than necessary to maintain the bodyweight that is at or above the minimum average weight for the age and height of your
- Fear of gaining weight – intense fear of gaining weight or getting fat or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gains, such as vomiting or use of laxatives, even if you are underweight
- Problems with body image – denying the seriousness of having a low body weight, connecting your weight to your self-worth, or who have a distorted view of your appearance or shape
Anorexia nervosa Treatment
If you have anorexia, you may need several treatments. Treatment is usually carried out using a team approach that includes medical professionals, providers, and mental health dietitians, all with experience in eating disorders. Current therapy and nutrition education is of great importance for further recovery.
Here’s a look at what is usually involved in the Treatment of People with anorexia.
Hospitalization and other programs
If your life is at critical risk, you may need treatment in a hospital emergency room for issues such as heart rhythm disorders, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, or mental problems. In addition, hospitalization may be required for medical complications, psychiatric emergencies, severe malnutrition, or the continuing refusal of food. Hospitalization may be a medical or psychiatric ward.
Some clinics specialize in the treatment of people with eating disorders. Some of them may offer day programs and residential programs rather than full admission. In addition, specialized eating disorders programs may offer a more aggressive treatment for more extended periods.
Because of the many complications of anorexia reasons, you may need frequent monitoring of vital signs, hydration level, and electrolytes, as well as the physical conditions associated with them. In severe cases, people with anorexia may first require feeding through a tube placed in the nose and the stomach.
Primary care physicians may be the one who coordinates care with other health professionals involved. Sometimes, though, a provider of mental health, which coordinates assistance.
Restoring a healthy weight
The first goal of treatment is to return to a healthy weight. Unfortunately, you can not recover from an eating disorder without restoring appropriate weight and nutrition education.
Psychologists or other mental health professionals can work with you to develop behavioral strategies to help you get back to a healthy weight. A dietitian can offer guidance, returning to the Laws of food, including providing specific meal plans and calorie requirements to help you achieve your weight goals. Your family will also likely be included in helping you maintain regular eating habits.
These therapies may be helpful:
- Family-based therapy – It is only based on the evidence for the treatment of adolescents with anorexia because the teenager with anorexia are not able to make the right choices about food and health while in the grip of a severe condition, this therapy is mobilizing parents to help the child with refeeding and recovery of weight until the child can not make good choices about health.
- Individual therapy – adults, cognitive-behavioral therapy. In particular, enhanced cognitive-behavioral treatment – has been shown to help. The main goal is to normalize the behavior of circuits and power supply to maintain weight gain. The next goal is to help change distorted thoughts and beliefs that support a restrictive diet. This type of treatment is usually performed once a week or the treatment program, but this may be part of mental hospital treatment in some cases.
No drugs are not approved for the treatment of anorexia because none has been found to work very well. However, antidepressants or other psychotropic medications may help treat other psychiatric disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
Challenges in the treatment of anorexia
One of the biggest problems in treating anorexia is that people may not want treatment. Barriers to treatment may include:
- Think you do not need treatment
- Fearing weight gain
- Not seeing anorexia as a disease but rather a lifestyle choice
People with eating disorders can recover. However, they have an increased risk of relapse in times of severe stress or during triggering situations. Current therapy or regular appointments during times of stress can help you stay healthy.
Lifestyle and home remedies
If you have anorexia, it can be challenging to take care of yourself correctly. In addition to professional treatment, follow these actions:
- Stick to your treatment plan. Don’t skip therapy sessions, and decide not to deviate from the meal plans. They make you uncomfortable.
- Talk with your doctor about the appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation. If you do not eat well, chances are your body is not getting all the nutrients it needs.
- Not isolate yourself from family members also friends who want to see that you get healthy. Understand that they have their best interests at heart.
- Resist the urge to weigh yourself or to check yourself in the mirror often. They can not do anything but fuel your drive to maintain bad habits.
Prevention of Anorexia nervosa
There’s no guaranteed way to prevent anorexia. However, primary care physicians may be in an excellent position to identify early indicators of anorexia and prevent the development of full-blown disease. For example, they may ask questions about the food and the satisfaction with the emergence during routine medical appointments.