The rapid weight loss is often associated with an abnormal fear and/or fascination with food and an obsession with body size and weight. People who suffer from anorexia nervosa have the desire to become thinner and thinner to the point where their life is in danger.
What is Anorexia Nervosa
Sometimes women who are very outgoing and successful in their social and professional lives need help to stop anorexic behavior. Anorexia often happens to women who suffer from low self-esteem. A variety of factors makes these women want to be dangerously thin while also causing them to experience a drastic misperception of their body size as well as distorted sensations of hunger and satiety.
While anorexic people can be overachievers, they often exhibit unusual amounts of anxiety, causing difficulty in decision-making. An anorexic people will often want to cook and control others’ eating while restricting her food intake. The anorexia sufferer may isolate more and more by eating alone and being moody and/or hostile. If the erratic behavior is mentioned by family or friends, the anorexic may isolate even more.
Causes of Anorexia Nervosa
People are very different with regard to her anorexic eating and the factors that contributed to the development of they eating disorder.
The exact cause of anorexia nervosa isn’t known. People who develop anorexia may have a negative body image. They may be focused on being “perfect.” They may be looking for ways to control their lives. Other factors like biology, environment, and psychology are believed to play a role.
Genetics and hormones might have an effect on the development of anorexia nervosa. Some evidence suggests a link between anorexia and serotonin, a chemical produced in the brain.
Pressure from society to look thin may also contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa. Unrealistic body images from media outlets like magazines and television can greatly influence young people and spark the desire to be thin.
Someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might be more predisposed to maintaining the strict diet and exercise regimen that those with anorexia nervosa often maintain. That’s because people with OCD are prone to obsessions and compulsions.
Physical Symptoms and Signs of Anorexia:
– Substantial self-induced weight loss or failure to gain normally, resulting in less than 85% of healthy growth
– Amenorrhea (loss of menses) for three months
– Interruption of normal growth
– Decreased libido
– Thinning hair
– Dry skin and dry or chapped lips- Poor circulation, brittle fingernails, and frequent/easy bruising
Psychological Symptoms of Anorexia:
– Irrational (morbid) fear of fatness coupled with an intense drive for thinness
– Body image distortion and excessive reliance on weight or shape for self-esteem
– Exhibiting symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
– Low self opinion/low self-esteem- Exhibiting symptoms of depression
Interpersonal/Relationship Symptoms of Anorexia:
– Secretive eating habits
– Problems getting along with family members/long-time friends- Angry when confronted about food or weight
Behavioral Symptoms and Signs of Anorexia
– Excessive/unhealthy exercise
– Prone to fainting spells due to malnutrition
– Self-harm (“cutting” or even suicide attempts)
Who is “At Risk” for Anorexia?
Any man or woman of any age can develop anorexia nervosa, but the fact is that:
– There is no “typical anorexic girl”
– There are numerous exceptions to every rule – eating disorder recovery centers have seen more instances of men suffering from anorexia in recent years.
The studies we’ve conducted point to anorexia being especially common in young women between the ages of 18 and 25. This demographic represents approximately 40% of all the cases of anorexia we’ve treated. Eating disorder recovery centers have seen anorexia in seniors as well, and it is possible for anorexia nervosa to develop in older men and women for the first time well into their 40s, 50s, or even 60s.
Anorexia Recovery & Treatment
Comprehensive treatment program that includes:
– One-on-one therapy
– Group therapy
– Body image groups
– Nutritional education
– Assistance with preparing and consuming meals in a group
– 12-Step support groups
– Highly monitored and structured living arrangements- Supervised group outings to restaurants.
There are also physical fitness requirements and outdoor activities that build self-esteem and teach the people how to “have fun, feel good about yourself, AND follow a healthy diet regimen.”