What is anorexia?
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological and possibly life-threatening eating disorder.
Women and men who suffer from anorexia nervosa exemplify a fixation with a thin figure and abnormal eating patterns. Anorexia nervosa is interchangeable with the term anorexia, which refers to self-starvation and lack of appetite.
Anorexia has two types but we do not want to go into details. We just point out about the causes of this eating disorder.
Causes of anorexia
Examples of environmental factors that would contribute to the occurrence of this eating disorder are:
The effects of the thinness culture in media, that constantly reinforce thin people as ideal stereotypes
Professions and careers that promote being thin and weight loss, such as ballet and modeling
Family and childhood traumas: childhood sexual abuse, severe trauma
Peer pressure among friends and co-workers to be thin.
Examples of biological factors include:
Irregular hormone functions
Genetics (the tie between anorexia and one’s genes is still being heavily researched, but we know that genetics is a part of the story).
Signs and symptoms
An individual suffering from anorexia nervosa may reveal one or several signs and symptoms such as:
Chronic dieting despite being hazardously underweight
Obsession with calories and fat contents of food
Engaging in ritualistic eating patterns, such as cutting food into tiny pieces, eating alone, and/or hiding food
Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking; the individual may cook intricate meals for others but refrain from partaking
Amenorrhea: an abnormal absence of menstruation, or loss of 3 consecutive menstrual cycles
Depression or lethargic stage
Development of lanugo: soft, fine hair that grows on face and body
Reported sensation of feeling cold, particularly in extremities
Loss or thinning of hair
Avoidance of social functions, family, and friends. May become isolated and withdrawn
Medical: The highest priority in the treatment of anorexia nervosa is addressing any serious health issues that may have resulted from malnutrition, such as an unstable heartbeat.
Nutritional: This component encompasses weight restoration, implementation and supervision of a tailored meal plan, and education about normal eating patterns.
Therapy: The goal of this part of treatment is to recognize underlying issues associated with the eating disorder, address and heal from traumatic life events, learn healthier coping skills and further develop the capacity to express and deal with emotions.