What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa which called “anorexia” is an eating disorder. People with anorexia have a high fear of gaining weight. Anorexia affects both body and mind.
It starts with diet and then it can get out of control. You start thinking about food, diet, and weight all the time. You have a distorted body shape. People say you’re too thin, but when you look in the mirror you see a fat person.
Anorexia usually begins at a young age. It’s more common in women than in men. Early diagnosis and treatment are much more effective. But if it is untreated, it becomes a lifelong problem. Untreated anorexia can lead to the death rate of starvation and diseases such as osteoporosis, kidney damage, and heart disease. Some people die of these problems.
Causes of Anorexia Nervosa
Eating disorders are complex disorders in which doctors cannot determine the exact cause. This can be caused by family history, social factors, and personality traits. Anorexia probably occurs from a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors.
Biological Causes: Patients with anorexia nervosa usually have a sensitive, determined and perfectionist personality. Although there are no confirmed studies of genetic predisposition, the risk of developing the disease may be high in patients with a family history of anorexia.
Psychological Causes: Malnutrition in babyhood and childhood can be a risk for the development of anorexia in the future. The disease is more common in young people with shy, depressed, submissive, obsessive-compulsive personality disorders. There is a high risk of anorexia nervosa in those with low love ties with their parents and women who have been sexually abused in the past.
Stressful life events such as divorce, moving from home, changing schools, losing someone you love are also risk factors of the disease.
Environmental Causes: The popularity of the thin body in the fashion world affects adolescents especially negatively. In order to have a thin body, young people start dieting and become obsessed with looking thin. Dancers, ballerinas, mannequins, jockeys must keep their weight constantly due to competition and expectations in business life. People in this occupational group have a high risk of eating disorders.
- They are weaker than normal or healthy
- Being too afraid of gaining weight
- Refusing to stay at normal weight
- Even if they’re too skinny, they think they’re overweight
- Obsession with food, weight, and diet
- Excessive limits on the amount of food
- Even if they are sick, they exercise a lot
- Using laxatives or diuretics to prevent weight gain
Personality characteristics of people who are prone to anorexia:
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty expressing negative emotions such as anger, sadness or fear
- Difficulty in dealing with conflicts
- Perfectionism or the effort to be the best in everything they do
- The need to be controlled
- Need for attention
- Problematic relationship with parents
- High expectations of the family
Everyone with anorexia should be treated. If you have any of the symptoms of anorexia, ask for help. Early diagnosis and treatment make it very easy to battle with anorexia. Treatment helps you reach your healthy weight, feel better and healthier eating habits.
Due to anorexia is both a physical and emotional problem, patient should go to a doctor, dietitian, and mental health counselor. If your weight is extremely low, you should be treated in a hospital.
If you are not physically in a life-threatening condition, your treatment will probably be:
Medical treatment: If malnutrition and excessive hunger are starting to wear out your body, medical treatment should be a priority. Your doctor will treat medical conditions caused by anorexia, such as osteoporosis, heart disease or depression. As you begin to heal, your doctor will continue to monitor your height and weight.
Nutritional counseling: A certified dietitian will help you gain weight in a healthy way. You will gain a healthy eating habit and you will have a better understanding of a balanced diet.
In young people with anorexia, it is useful for the family to be included in the treatment. Family therapy helps parents support their children both emotionally and physically. Family, group therapies or individual therapies are all effective.