Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight. This disorder results in often unhealthy and dangerous weight loss. It can affect women and men of all ages but the ratio of adolescence women is greater than men.

The affected person places a high value on controlling his weight and shape, using extreme efforts that tend to significantly interfere with his life.

Anorexia Nervosa

This disorder commonly involves mental challenges such as exaggerated fear of becoming overweight or obese and unrealistic body image. In US 30 million men and women are affected by eating disorder. If you want to know more about this disorder then this article will provide you symptoms, causes and its treatment, so read the article till the end.

Symptoms Of Anorexia

An person suffering from anorexia nervosa may have several or few signs and symptoms and some of them are given below.

Symptoms Of Anorexia

  • Ritualistic eating patterns, eating alone, and hiding food, cutting food into tiny pieces.
  • Rapidly losing weight,msignificantly underweight and emaciated.
  • Amenorrhea which is loss of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles.
  • Obsession with calories and fat contents of food.
  • Depression or lethargic stage.
  • Soft, fine hair that grows on face and body.
  • Fixation on body image.
  • Using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics.
  • Loss or thinning of hair
  • Reported sensation of feeling cold, particularly in extremities.
  • Fixation on body image.
  • Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking.
  • Pretending to eat or lying about.
  • Compulsive exercising.
  • Abnormal blood counts.
  • Obsessed with weight, body shape, or clothing size.
  • Harshly critical of appearance.
  • Chronic restrictive eating or dieting, beyond the norm.
  • Throwing up after eating.
  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers.
  • Fatigue, exhaustion.
  • not making expected developmental weight gains.
  • Insomnia.
  • Severe loss of muscle mass.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Hair that thins, breaks or falls out.
  • Dry skin.
  • Bloated or upset stomach and constipation.
  • Hypothermia, or low body temperature, and cold hands and feet.
  • Swollen hands and feet.

Causes Of Anorexia

Causes Of Anorexia Nervosa

Given below are some of the risk factors that can be associated with it:

  • Having difficulty handling stress.
  • Being susceptible to depression and anxiety.
  • Having a negative self-image.
  • Being excessively worried, afraid, or doubtful about the future.
  • Having had an anxiety disorder during childhood.
  • Having a high level of emotional restraint or control over their own behavior and expression.
  • Professions and careers that promote being thin such as, ballet and modeling.
  • Being perfectionist and overly concerned about rules.
  • Having eating problems during early childhood or infancy.
  • Childhood traumatic events, childhood sexual abuse, severe trauma.
  • Being bullied.
  • Holding specific ideas regarding beauty and health, which may be influenced by culture or society.
  • Genetics.
  • The effects of media which constantly reinforce thin people as ideal stereotypes.
  • Peer pressure among friends and co-workers to be thin or be sexy.
  • Family or other relationship problems.
  • Irregular hormone functions.
  • A fear or exams and pressure to succeed.


Consequences Of Anorexia Nervosa

If anorexia is not treated on time the affected person may face serious complications:

  • Isolation i.e the person affected by this disease is more likely to move away from social contact because the physical and psychological problems that he suffers directly affect his mood.
  • In females, absence of a period.
  • Anemia.
  • Heart problems, such as mitral valve prolapse, abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure.
  • Electrolyte abnormalities, such as low blood potassium, sodium and chloride.
  • Loss of muscle.
  • Bone loss, increasing the risk of fractures.
  • In males, decreased testosterone.
  • Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating or nausea.
  • Sleep disorders i.e. there are alterations and decrease in the hours of sleep.
  • Electrolyte abnormalities, such as low blood potassium, sodium and chloride.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Sleep disorders i.e. there are alterations and decrease in the hours of sleep.
  • Low self-esteem.

Treatment Of Anorexia Nervosa

Treatment Of Anorexia Nervousa

The treatment for anorexia nervosa requires an inclusive plan where professionals from different disciplines must step in. The objective of the treatment is to return the person a healthy weight, correcting the malnutrition that presents and treating their emotional problems.

Generally, the treatment involves a combination of the following strategies:

  • Psychotherapy: It is necessary that the patient initiate a psychological treatment.
  • Talk Therapy: This encourages communication of conflicts and insight into problems.
  • Cognitive Therapy: comprises altering dysfunctional thought patterns.
  • Family Therapy: It educates the family about the disorder including diagnosing its presence as well as to cope with the issues that have created in the family because of depressive disorder. Also, its main objective is to educate the family, how to deal with the affected person and how you can help him to overcome this.
  • Medication: Sometimes, medication is also used in the treatment although, no medication is specifically indicated for Anorexia nervosa. It helps the people who experience certain symptoms like severe depression or anxiety.
  • Clinical hypnosis: It is also used which involves intense relaxation, concentration and focused attention to achieve an altered state of consciousness. This allows a person with anorexa nervosa to explore thoughts, emotions and memories that may be hidden from his/her conscious mind. In this condition, the therapist may be able to talk to about his personality and give tips and tricks to overcome it.
  • Nutrition and medical assistance: It is mandatory that the person receives a diet, depending on their individual condition and can begin a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Hospitalization: Depending on the circumstances in which the person is and how advanced this disease is, it is necessary to be hospitalized to treat malnutrition and other serious physical and mental health complications.
Note: If a person with anorexia becomes severely malnourished, every organ in the body can be damaged, including the brain, heart and kidneys. This damage may not be fully reversible, even when the anorexia is under control.

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