Anorexia nervosa is definitely one of the most frequent eating disorders. People suffering from this disorder have a huge fear of gaining weight, rapidly lose weight by not eating enough and may eventually become way to skinny. The effects of anorexia nervosa are detrimental for the entire body and if left untreated there is even a chance of a lethal outcome.
Causes of Anorexia Nervosa
All eating disorders are complex and in many cases even experts simply cannot identify the underlying cause. There may be a mixture of family history, social factors as well as personal traits responsible for the disorder. The risk of developing anorexia nervosa increases if the patient has a family member who is also suffering from an eating disorder. Furthermore, anorexia nervosa affects more people who have a job or do sports that stress body size such as modeling, ballet and gymnastics. People who try to be perfect all the time, never feel good enough or worry a lot are more susceptible to this eating disorder. And finally, anorexia nervosa is common among people whit stressful life events (divorce, moving to a new town or school, losing a loved one etc.).
It is estimated that anorexia affects approximately 1% of the population and that it is frequent among teenagers. The disorder predominantly affects women.
Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa
All people suffering from anorexia strongly deny they have a problem. They simply cannot accept the fact that there is a problem and this is why the treatment may be very hard. The family, friends and the loved ones are people who first turn to a doctor for help.
People with anorexia usually weight much less than what would be considered as healthy or normal. Furthermore, they are afraid of gaining weight and they refuse to stay at a normal weight. One of the typical signs of anorexia is the thought of being overweight even though the person is actually very thin.
Additionally, people suffering from anorexia nervosa become focused on controlling their weight, they become obsessed with food, weight and dieting. The intake of food is strictly limited. Such people also exercise a lot. There is also a frequent abuse of laxatives or diuretics. And finally, several more typical signs of anorexia nervosa are pulling away from family and friends, making excuses for not eating around other people and lying about eating habits.
Such patients develop a whole variety of physical symptoms and signs associated with prolonged starvation. They include weakness, tiredness and fainting, hair thinning, dry skin, brittle nails, menstrual cessation, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, swelling of the feet and hands etc. If one is close to a person who has some of the previously mentioned symptoms or signs he/she should consult a doctor as soon as possible and force the anorexic person to go for consultation. The doctor will chose the most convenient treatment and start the therapy.