Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder where an individual has an intense fear of gaining weight. In turn, they will limit the food they eat and the caloric intake in order to avoid putting on pounds. Although it may start as dieting, the condition affects the mind and body and it can quickly turn in to something serious. The individual may start to obsess about food and dieting at all times of the day. The condition will usually start during one’s teen years, therefore early treatment is vital to ensure it does not continue on through adulthood. When not treated, the condition can lead to starvation or other serious health problems, which can affect other areas of one’s life. The statistics on anorexia or scary and it is important to know what to look for in friends and family in order to get them timely help.
Causes of Anorexia
There are many factors which may lead to an eating disorder, from family history to social factors and interaction traits. As eating disorders are so complex, it is difficult to pinpoint one thing which leads to the problem. Individuals will find they are more likely to have anorexia if they:
- deal with stressful events in life (from a divorce to losing a job or any difficult family issues)
- other individuals in your family may have eating disorders
- if you are an individual who always wants things to be perfect, this may lead to a distorted perception of your body image
- if your job requires you to stay fit, some people may take it to the extremes due to the fact that they are always in the public eye (from athletes to models)
Regardless of what causes the disorder, making sure the eating disorder is diagnosed and spotted at an early stage is important to getting proper and effective treatment so that further health and psychological problems can be avoided.
Symptoms of Anorexia
Most people with the condition will deny they have a problem. Therefore, family, friends, and loved ones will usually have to intervene for an individual to get help. Some common signs of anorexia include:
- much lower weight than average body frame should be
- individuals are afraid of gaining weight (regardless of what they eat, or how small a meal they consume)
- refusing to stay at a normal, healthy weight
- the individual thinks they are overweight when they are in fact too thin for their body frame.
- Many individuals will also become consumed by the condition and will:
- obsess about foods and dieting at all times of the day;
- limit the caloric intake each day;
- exercise in excessive amounts each day; or,
- vomit or use other laxatives, in order to ensure they do not gain any weight at all.
If a doctor diagnoses a case of anorexia, or any similar eating disorder, they are likely to monitor the body weight, and compare it to someone of the same age (height, gender, and body frame). They will check the lungs, internal organs, and body frame to ensure there has been no damage to the body, and they will run necessary tests to get each individual the proper form of treatment, depending on how bad their condition is personally. The hardest part is getting someone to realize that they have a problem. Their sense of their own body image has become so distorted usually that they will see continue to see themselves as overweight when it is obvious to everyone around them that they may be dangerously thin.
Treatment Options for Anorexia
Whether you choose to speak to a therapist, go in to a nutritionist for help with dieting, or check in to any facilities for help and constant monitoring, there are different options to turn to for help. Getting the right medical attention is key early on in order to ensure you are taking in the proper nutrients and the right amount of calories on a day to day basis, especially if you have to gain weight and be brought up to a normal healthy weight level.
Regardless of how bad the condition has gotten, seeking medical help should be the first step when dealing with anorexia. The sooner one can get the help, the better it is going to be in the long run. Looking for the warning signs, talking to a doctor, and getting the information regarding treatment centers and clinics in your area are some things that can be done to start a person with anorexia on the road to recovery. Seeking professional medical attention and assistance is highly recommended for anyone dealing with any form of eating disorder.