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Definition,Major Types , Signs and Symptoms and Treatment Methods of Anorexia Nervosa


Date Posted: 10/12/2017 10:59:52 PM

Posted By: Mgithu  Membership Level: Bronze  Total Points: 32

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia refers to self-starvation and lack of appetite. Anorexia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder defined by an extremely low body mass index, illogical fear of weight gain, a distorted self-image, extreme and needless weight loss, a fixation of a thin figure being the ideal body and unusual eating habits. An individual with anorexia strives to keep his or her weight as low as possible. It is a condition that mostly affects women although cases of anorexic men have become common in the recent years.

Major Types of Anorexia

There are two major types of anorexia; the binge or purge type and the restrictive type. People who suffer from the binge or purge type of anorexia result to vomiting after consuming food due to an overwhelming feeling of guilt they feel towards eating. Most of these individuals will result in excessive exercise and abuse of laxatives as a way of compensating for eating. In the restrictive type of anorexia, individuals go to extreme measures to limit the amount of food they eat. An individual suffering from the restrictive type of anorexia characteristically ingests limited amounts of food that hardly meet the calorie requirements of the body leading to starvation. Anorexia patients in both categories of the disorder exhibit similar symptoms such as an irrational fear of weight gain and abnormal eating patterns.

Causes of Anorexia

Multiple factors, both biological and environmental play a part in the development of anorexia nervosa. Some of the environmental factors that can lead to anorexia are peer pressure from friends and workmates, constant promotion of the thinness culture by the media, careers such as modeling and ballet that encourage thinness and weight loss and severely traumatizing experiences in childhood such as sexual abuse. Biological causes of anorexia include nutritional deficiencies, genetics, and irregular hormone functions.


and Symptoms of Anorexia

Anorexic people are likely to engage in chronic dieting and obsession with the calorie and fat content of food despite the fact that they are hazardously underweight. The individuals also tend to have fixations with food recipes and cooking. They may cook great meals for other people but refrain from partaking in the food. Even when they do, they engage in ritualistic patterns such as eating alone, hiding food or cutting it into tiny pieces while eating. Anorexic people are also likely to develop depression or become isolated and withdrawn. Another symptom of anorexia is thinning or loss of hair or the development of lanugo on the face and body. The individuals also report having a sensation of feeling cold, especially in extreme cases.

Treatment of Anorexia

Due to its complex nature as an eating disorder, treatment of anorexia should be handled by a team of professional doctors, therapists, and dieticians. The highest priority when treating anorexia should be given to addressing the health issues that may have resulted from malnutrition. An example of such problems is an unstable heartbeat. The anorexic individual should then be educated about healthy eating habits, and efforts should be made to ensure that the patient regains weight through a supervised and tailored meal plan. Therapists should be involved in helping the patient recognize and address underlying issues that may be the cause of their anorexic condition. The anorexic individuals should receive help in coping with and healing from trauma as well as developing the capacity for expressing and dealing with emotions.

Anorexia and Dieting

Anorexia and dieting share many similarities; both involve a conscious effort to limit the amount of food taken to limit weight gain. However, the restrictive eating practices in anorexia have far more devastating consequences than those of dieting. Another difference is that in dieting, the individual aims at controlling weight gain while in anorexia, the control is usually an attempt to control one's emotions and life, bring order in a chaotic environment or escape from traumatic events.

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