Eating disorders, anorexia

Other names: Anorexia nervosa

DEFINITION

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of body weight. Individuals with Anorexia often engage in extreme efforts to control their weight and shape, which can significantly interfere with their daily activities. Treatment is essential to overcome Anorexia and its serious complications.

SYMPTOMS

Physical signs of Anorexia include extreme weight loss, thin appearance, fatigue, abnormal blood counts, and irregular heart rhythms. Emotional and behavioral symptoms may involve preoccupation with food, denial of hunger, fear of gaining weight, and social withdrawal.

CAUSES

The exact cause of Anorexia nervosa is unknown but likely involves a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. Genetic predisposition, psychological traits like perfectionism and anxiety, and societal emphasis on thinness can contribute to the development of Anorexia.

RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for Anorexia include being female, young age, genetics, family history of the disorder, weight changes, life transitions, involvement in sports or artistic activities, and societal influences promoting thinness.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of Anorexia include heart problems, bone loss, gastrointestinal issues, electrolyte abnormalities, kidney problems, and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Severe malnutrition can damage every organ in the body.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

Before your appointment with a healthcare provider regarding Anorexia nervosa, make a list of symptoms you're experiencing, personal information including recent stresses or life changes, medications you're taking, and questions to ask your doctor about tests and treatments.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing Anorexia involves physical exams to check vital signs and lab tests to assess blood counts and organ function. Psychological evaluations are also done. Meeting specific criteria in the DSM-5 is necessary for an official diagnosis.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment for Anorexia includes hospitalization for severe cases, restoration of a healthy weight through therapy and nutrition education, psychotherapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy or family-based therapy, medical care for complications, and sometimes medication for associated mental health conditions.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

Preventing Anorexia involves early identification by healthcare providers through routine appointments. Encouraging healthier behaviors and discussing concerns with loved ones who show signs of low self-esteem or extreme dieting habits can be beneficial.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

Complementary treatments like acupuncture or yoga may help reduce anxiety in individuals with Eating disorders. Consult with a healthcare provider before trying alternative medicine to understand potential risks and benefits.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Coping with Anorexia requires effective strategies and emotional support from healthcare professionals, family members, and friends. Seeking advice on coping mechanisms from therapists is crucial for successful treatment.

QUESTIONS

  1. What is Anorexia nervosa?

An eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight and intense fear of gaining weight.

  1. What are some physical symptoms of Anorexia?

Extreme weight loss

Thin appearance

Abnormal blood counts

Irregular heart rhythms

  1. What are some risk factors for developing Anorexia?

Being female

Young age

Genetics

Family history

Societal influences promoting thinness

  1. How is Anorexia diagnosed?

Through physical exams, lab tests checking blood counts and organ function, psychological evaluations based on DSM-5 criteria.

  1. What are some complications of Anorexia?

Heart problems

Bone loss

Gastrointestinal issues

Mental health disorders

  1. What treatments are commonly involved in managing Anorexia?

Hospitalization for severe cases

Restoration of healthy weight through therapy and nutrition education

Psychotherapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy

  1. How can one prevent the development of full-blown Anorexia?

Early identification by healthcare providers during routine appointments

  1. What complementary treatments may help reduce anxiety in individuals with Eating disorders?

Acupuncture

Yoga

  1. Who should individuals seek support from when coping with Anorexia?

Healthcare professionals

Family members

Friends

  1. Why is seeking advice on coping mechanisms important for individuals with Anorexia?

It is crucial for successful treatment and recovery from the disorder.