Anorexia Nervosa - Health Center

Anorexia Nervosa

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa - Overview

It has emerged out to be one of the biggest human weaknesses; we wish to want to be someone that we are not. We seek towards looking a tad bit different than we are currently. This weakness inhabits us all, but when this preoccupation with being thin starts controlling the way we think, eat, act or even live, then it emerges out to be one of the biggest problems a person could face – it emerges out as an eating disorder.

Anorexia is synonymous with a disorder that takes control of a person by forcing in a desire to lose weight. This desire emerges out as one of the biggest driving force in the life of that person. Anorexia today has emerged to be one of the major eating disorder that is affecting young men and women all over the world. Anorexia in its advanced stages can emerge out to be life threatening for people, but if it is diagnosed in the early stages, then the treatment for it can be easily availed and implemented.

Getting Familiarized with Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder. This we are familiar with. However, this disorder comes with three key features that lead to its diagnosis.

They are as follows:
1. An increasing refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
2. An intense fear of gaining excessive weight
3. Fear of a distorted body image

A person suffering from Anorexia Nervosa suffers from a dread of gaining weight and becoming fat, often becoming disgusted with the body. Eating or mealtimes come out to be one of the most stressful times in the life of a person suffering from this disease. People suffering from this disease often think about dieting and food all day long and have a very limited social life. They are unable to find time for the activities that used to entertain them earlier and kept them preoccupied. Life in all becomes a goal of maintaining a low body weight and taking extreme measures in order to maintain a thin body figure.

Another problem that people suffering from anorexia deal with is denial. They often deny suffering from this disease, even though when they have been intimated that this disease may prove to be serious and potentially fatal in its advanced stages. Fortunately, in most of the cases, the recovery can be attained. When a patient is provided with the right treatment, along with support and care from the nearest ones, then the self destructive pattern woven by the people suffering from this disease can be easily broken and they can once again retain the same vitality and health as before.

Classifications of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa has been basically been divided into two types:

1. Restricting Type: In Restricting type anorexia, the person suffering attains the wanted weight loss by restricting the amount of calories. This can be attained by the drastic diet patterns, constant fasting as well as exercising in excess in order to reduce the weight.

2. Purging Type: In Purging type anorexia, a person suffering attains the reduced weight loss by using drastic means such as vomiting, use of laxatives as well as diuretics.

At its core, Anorexia is not about food or even weight loss. Eating disorders such as anorexia are even more complicated than this. The deprivation of food and inability to eat is a superficial sign of something even deeper – such as loneliness, insecurity, peer pressure, loss of control, depression or something even more. Anorexia also has emerged to be one of the simplest ways of distracting oneself from the difficult emotions which a person is not able to DEAL with. However, the impetus a person receives from depriving oneself from food is short lived and is unable to repair the negative self image which a person has created for himself. People suffering from anorexia attempt to control their life and emotions. Their self esteem is basically created on their weight and how thin they actually are.

Symptoms to Know If You are Anorexic!

People living with Anorexia Nervosa are very adept at hiding their habits. That is one of the major reasons why their family and friends are not able to detect the early visible signs of this disease. Often, when they are confronted regarding their condition, they may point out vague reasons and would wave against. But as their conditions move ahead gravely, it becomes very tough for the people as well as their family members deny the visible outcomes and progression of the disease. With the progression of the disease, the sufferers get preoccupied with their weight as well as the way that they look.

The following are some of the major symptoms of people suffering from Anorexia Nervosa:

1. Excessive Dieting: People suffering from Anorexia keep on dieting despite of being thin. They are prone to follow a severely restricted diet. They restrict themselves to eating only a low calorie diet and restrict eating junk foods which are otherwise rich in carbohydrates and fats.

2. Obsessive Food Misconceptions: People tend to develop an obsessive habit regarding the food that they are going to consume. They start reading food labels before consuming anything, measure as well as weight the portions of food consumed and even go to the extent of maintaining a food diary in order to keep a track of their consumption.

3. Pretensions: People suffering from Anorexia Nervosa also tend to lie about eating. They can be often found to be lying, hiding or even throwing away their food in order to avoid the food that they have to consume. Also, they tend to make excuses in order to avoid eating meals.

4. Food preoccupation: The preoccupations developed regarding food is immense with people who suffer from Anorexia. Constantly, these people think about food and are bent on making food for others and collecting recipes; however, when it comes to consuming food themselves, they are averse to it.

5. Food Rituals: One of the major traits of people suffering from Anorexia is that they stick to different food rituals such as refusing to eat publicly with others. Their weird rituals may include biting on food, chewing slowly, consuming little portions of food and so on.

Bodily Symptoms:

The bodily symptoms of people suffering from Anorexia Nervosa include the following:

1. Drastic weight loss with no apparent disease related symptoms.
2. Feeling fat in general are feeling that certain parts of their body appear fat, such as stomach, hips or even the thighs.
3. A general fixation on the body image – obsession with weight as well as dramatic responses over tiny fluctuations in their body weight.
4. Critical of appearance – standing for too long in front of a mirror and looking for reasons to criticize oneself over the body appearance.
5. Denial over thinness – Denying the fact that their body is too thin and that they are malnourished. This may also include concealing their problem by drinking a lot of water or wearing oversized clothes.

Symptoms For Purging Anorexia:

The symptoms for Purging Anorexia are different from the normal Anorexia. The symptoms are as follows:
1. Use of laxatives, diet pills and diuretics along with water pills, herbal suppressants as well as other stimulants in order reduce the weight.
2. Inducing vomiting: One of the major symptoms is sudden disappearance after the meals. People suffering from Anorexia are known to induce vomiting after consuming their meals. They may end up using mints and mouthwash in order to hide.
3. Excessive exercising: Following an extensive exercise regime in order to burn extra calories is another one of the major symptoms of people suffering from anorexia. People are so obsessive about their exercises that they do not care for the illness or the bad weather too. A drive to work out extensively in order to reduce their weight emerges as one of the major forces driving the people.

Causes of Anorexia

The causes of anorexia are many and diverse. Out of the many causes, the following have emerged as the major reasons:

Psychological Causes: People suffering from Anorexia often emerge to be perfectionists or overachievers. They have an innate ability to excel in everything that they do and often lay a deep commitment over pleasing others around them. However, this external facade envelops their helplessness and a feeling of worthlessness. While they are so critical of themselves, they view themselves as a complete failure.
Family and other social pressures: Sometimes the cultural pressures of being thin are added along with the family as well as the peer pressure. Families in which the parents are increasingly controlling and who put a great emphasis on the reduction of weight and the outwardly looks to contribute to the generation of anorexia amongst teens. Not only that, often parents criticizing the body of their children. Other stressful life events such as puberty, emotional breakup or even changing cities may also be one of the causes that trigger anorexia.

Biological Causal Factors: There has been proved a genetic Co relation to the occurrence of Anorexia. A person with a family history of Anorexia is 10 to 20 times more likely to develop the same condition. Also, scientific research has confirmed that people suffering from Anorexia have a higher level of cortisone, the hormone related to stress and lower levels of serotonin, which is associated with the feeling of well being.

Treatment of Anorexia

Anorexia has come out to be a disease of the body and mind. Thus, the treatment of the same includes medical doctors, psychologists, counselors as well as dieticians. The treatment of anorexia involves three major steps:

1. Regaining back the weight
2. Eating regularly
3. Changing the perceptions


1. Medical Treatment: The medical treatment for anorexia needs to address as well as recondition the health issues. In some of the severe cases, hospitalization is needed; because the patients have left no desire to live anymore. They are hospitalized for a time period until they gain a critically needed weight. Outpatient treatment is meted out to the patients who are not in a grave danger of losing their life.

2. Nutrition Treatment: Nutritional counselling is another most sought treatment for anorexia. A dietician is the one who informs and educates a patient about the need and importance of healthy eating. This goes on to help the person develop a comprehensive meal plan, including the number of calories required per day.

3. Counselling and other therapies: counselling is very critical for the treatment of anorexia. Counselling helps in the identification of the negative thoughts and then replaces them with healthier thoughts. It also teaches the person to DEAL with emotions, negative feelings of self harm and worthlessness. Stress management is another one of the key aims of Counselling.

Anorexia can prove fatal if not treated at the right time. With the right amount of love, attention and medical help, a person can return back to the normal lifestyle.

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