ANOREXIA NERVOSA – CAUSES, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
Dt Silky Mahajan
Jp nagar, Bengaluru Dec 19, 2017
Anorexia Nervosa or simply anorexia is an eating disorder, characterised by an intense fear of gaining weight. It is more prevalent among women and teens or young adults. The individual has a distorted idea of body shape and weight, has abnormal eating patterns and low self-esteem.
Although anorexia is an eating disorder, it is not only about food but is also a coping mechanism against emotional problems.
There are two common types of anorexia:
- Purge: Here the person feels a sense of guilt every time they eat and thus compensate that by vomiting, abusing laxatives or excessively exercising.
- Restrictive: Here the person will drastically limit the consumption of food, limiting it way below their calorie requirements, sometimes starving themselves.
Anorexia could develop as a result of biological factors but most cases occur due to environmental and emotional factors.
- Thinness culture propagated by the media
- Ideal body stereotypes
- Peer pressure
- Past abuse or trauma
- Careers that require weight loss
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Extreme dieting and weight loss
- Fatigue, dizziness and insomnia
- Thinning hair
- Abnormal blood counts
- Bluish discoloration of the fingers
- Absence of menstruation
- Swelling of arms or legs
Anorexia is a complex disorder that involves biological, psychological and environmental factors. It can be effectively treated by a dietician and may also need to involve a therapist at times.
- Anorexia causes serious health issues such as heart problems, kidney, bone diseases, etc., that would need serious medical intervention.
- The person would need to be under the strict guidance of a dietician who will restore the normal weight and assign specific diet and meal plans.
- As mentioned earlier, anorexia is caused due to various underlying issues that need addressing by a therapist. A therapist will help manage past traumatic life events, learn healthier coping skills and further develop the capacity to express and deal with complex emotions.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent anorexia. As it is more common in teens and young adults; parents and family members must be watchful of symptoms and address them before they can develop into a full blown illness.