Anorexia Nervosa

Avoiding, eating the required quantities of food and hence associated weight loss that is not healthy and is excessive. It is common among people who fear unwanted weight gain which is unnecessary in most cases. Anorexia nervosa might be caused by too much exercise, excessive restriction of diet, etc.

Symptoms

  • Individuals who are underweight fear becoming obese.
  • Who have an abnormal body shape and do not comprehend the gravity of weight loss.
  • Menstrual cycles not occurring for 3 months.
  • Victims might not eat at all or if forced to eat, vomit all the food forcefully.
  • Unnecessary use of water pills, diet pills, laxatives, etc.
  • Feeling depressed.
  • Yellowish coloration of skin covered by hair.
  • Delirium, lack of judgment.
  • Dryness of the mouth.
  • Weakness of the bones.
  • Feeling cold when it is not very cold.
  • Atrophy in several areas of the body and
  • Loss of fat in the body.

Causes:

The exact causes of the disorder have not been identified as of yet. However, it has been attributed to several factors that might cause the condition like

  • Hormones
  • Genetic Factors
  • Social conditions

The risk factors include:

  • Imposing strict rules on themselves.
  • Over attentive to details like weight, shape appearance, etc.
  • Problems related to eating during childhood.
  • Anxiety disorders as a child.
  • Thinking low of one’s appearance.

Prevalence: The disorder is highly prevalent in women especially among the women belonging to a family that gives more importance to self-respect. It can also occur in men.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis involves a set of tests that confirm the disorder by testing for diseases like Addison’s, celiac, and inflammatory bowel disorders all of which might be responsible for the loss of weight.

If the patient is tested to be negative then the tests to find the cause of the weight loss and the extent of damage caused by weight loss are found out. They include:

  • Levels of Albumin.
  • Bone density check.
  • Complete Blood Count.
  • Kidney tests.
  • Liver functioning tests.
  • Protein levels check.
  • Thyroid function tests.
  • Analysis of urine sample.

Treatment:

Treatment of the patients is really a tough job, as the individuals do not realize that they have a disorder. Also, they do not approach the doctor until the condition of the disease is worse.

The Psychosocial treatment includes:

  • Improving social interaction.
  • Decreasing unnecessary exercise.
  • Following proper diet time-tables.
  • CBT.

Proper psychological support has proven time and time again to be beneficial in disorder treatment and recovery. Visit Estadt Psychological Services to find the right professional for you.

The somatic treatment includes drugs to aid in depression or anxiety and no reliable drugs to treat weight loss are available.

  • Antidepressants.
  • Olanzapine.
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

In severe cases, hospitalization might be required to treat malnutrition and weakness.

Prevention:

Identifying the change in the individual and helping them understand the complications, talk therapy, healthy maintenance of weight, and diet are useful in the prevention of the disease. This might not be possible in all cases as early identification is difficult.

Statistics:

40% of the cases diagnosed in recent times are girls between the ages of 14-20.

Almost 1% of the women in the world have anorexia nervosa and they are majorly from the urban lifestyles

90% of the anorexia cases occur in women.

 

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