Anorexia nervosa is a severe emotional eating disorder characterised by a preoccupation with food, weight, and appearance. Anorexics go to extremes to avoid gaining weight, such as starving oneself or exercising excessively. Anorexia nervosa is frequently a psychological disorder that appears in an undesirable and harmful way to cope with emotional problems, control issues, and perfectionism. Females are more likely than guys to suffer from anorexia nervosa.
Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexics have a distorted perception of their own bodies and frequently believe they are obese when they are actually very slim. They may be terrified of gaining weight and will go to great lengths to avoid it. Anorexics often restrict their calorie intake by forcing themselves to vomit after meals. Anorexia can also cause the following symptoms:
- Extreme calorie restriction.
- Refusal to consume food.
- Hunger is denied.
- Eating only a few foods in tiny amounts.
- Hair is thinning or breaking.
- More hair growth on the body.
- Menstrual cycle is not present.
- An obsession with food.
- Excessive physical activity.
- Skin that is parched.
- Withdrawal from social situations.
Anorexia may be accompanied by other psychological disorders such as sadness, anxiety, or compulsive behaviour. Anorexics are more likely to overuse stimulants, laxatives, and diet aids than non-anorexics.
Anorexia Nervosa Causes
Anorexia has no established aetiology, however it is thought to be caused by a mix of biological, psychological, environmental, and cultural variables. Especially in young females, media and peer pressure might impact an intense desire to be skinny. Anorexia can develop as a result of life changes or stressful events, and mental illnesses like melancholy or anxiety can also contribute to the condition’s development.
Anorexia Nervosa Diagnosis
If anorexia nervosa is suspected, the doctor will do a thorough physical examination as well as other diagnostic testing to rule out any other possible causes. Tests to examine electrolyte and protein levels, as well as liver and kidney function, may be conducted, and may include:
- Blood testing
In addition, the patient will be probed about his or her thoughts, feelings, and eating habits during a complete psychological evaluation.
Anorexia treatment aims to help the patient regain a healthy weight. The patient may be admitted to a hospital if their life is in risk. People with anorexia may require a feeding tube to supply nutrition to their bodies in severe cases. A team of health specialists, including doctors, nutritionists, psychiatrists, and therapists, is often used to treat anorexia nervosa. If the disorder has caused harm to the body, medical treatment may be required. Nutritional counselling can aid in the development of healthy eating habits, while psychological therapy can aid in the treatment of mental illnesse. To avoid relapses, anorexia frequently necessitates long-term therapy, which might be a lifelong process.
Patients with anorexia nervosa must seek medical help as soon as possible before their condition worsens. Anorexia, if left untreated, can lead to anaemia, bone loss, heart, kidney, and lung problems, as well as mortality.
Dr. Rameez Shaikh (MBBS, MD, MIPS) is a consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist in Nagpur and works at Mind & Mood Clinic. He believes that faith-based treatment, encompassing spiritual, physical, and mental health, will provide you with the long-lasting knowledge and tool to find happiness and wholeness again. In his spare time, he’s an aspiring singer and writer.