Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that manifests as an obsession about the body weight and food. This condition is one of the most frequent eating disorders, and it is also known under the name anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is not a simple eating disorder. This condition is also a severe psychological problem and a hazardous and unhealthy method of coping with emotional problems. People affected by this disorder typically have very low self-esteem, they have a bad self-image, and they see the extreme dieting and thinning as one of the best ways to improve their self-worth. One of the main causes of anorexia, along with biological and psychological factors, is the social pressure and media influences through images of thin models and actors. People suffering from anorexia, in most cases, feel a strong desire to become thin, as they equate success and worth with thinness.
Outcomes of anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is usually mentioned as one of the psychiatric conditions with an extremely high mortality rate. About 6% of people suffering from anorexia will eventually die from starvation or other health complications caused by inadequate nutrition. In most cases, these individuals die from electrolyte imbalances or cardiac arrest. However, people with anorexia nervosa are often clinically depressed, and many of these individuals end their lives by suicide. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa on time, and start with an early treatment. Many successful treatment options can have powerful positive effect on the improvement of the overall prognosis.
Treatment and recovery for anorexia nervosa
Depending on the severity of the case, and when it is first diagnosed, treatment of anorexia may begin by hospitalization of a patient. Hospitalization is usually necessary for patients who have suffered a severe weight loss and whose organs and bodily functions are endangered. The goal of treatment is to correct malnutrition and achieve controlled weight gain. However, this must be done slowly to prevent any kind of relapses, which may happen if a patient is overwhelmed by treatment.
Psychiatric medications usually have no effect in treatment of anorexia nervosa but cognitive behavior therapy, group therapy and family therapy have been very successful. The goal of psychological therapy is to detect underlying issues and treat bad self-image and desire for perfectionism.
With appropriate treatment, about half of patients will completely recover. Some patients may experience occasional relapses, following the weight gain, while about 20% of them remain chronically ill.