Anorexia

By Sydney and Rebekah

Causes of Eating Disorters?

Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing behavioral, biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and social factors. While eating disorders may first appear to be solely about food and weight preoccupations, those suffering from them often try to use food and the control of food to cope with feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem overwhelming. For some, dieting, bingeing and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life. Ultimately, though, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem and sense of competence and control. Some physiological factors are things along the lines of low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy or lack of control in life, depression, anxiety, anger, stress or loneliness.

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia by definition is a lack or loss of appetite for food (as a medical condition) it is an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. This disorder causes people to obsess about their weight and what they eat. It is characterized by a distorted body image, with an unwarranted fear of being overweight. People who are diagnosed with anorexia try to maintain a below-normal weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise to much. In worse case medical treatment may be needed in order restore a normal weight. talking with therapist can help with self-esteem and behavior changes. This disorder can effect people ages 3 to over 60 but mostly affects people ages 14 through 60, and can also affect both men and women but is seen more commonly in women.

Symptoms of Anorexia

Behavioral: hyperactivity, social isolation, binge eating, compulsive behavior, or impulsivity.

Weight: weight loss, weighing too little, or extreme weight loss and thinness.

Psychological: depression, anxiety, or fear.

Gastrointestinal: vomiting or constipation.

Menstrual: irregular menstruation or absence of menstruation.

Mood: apprehension or guilt.

Developmental: slow growth or delayed puberty.

Whole body: water-electrolyte imbalance, fainting, osteoporosis, feeling cold, low body temperature, dehydration, fatigue, low blood pressure, or dizziness.

Also common: dry skin, brittle nails, laxative abuse, dry hair, headache, slow heart rate, dieting, bruising, or sensitivity to cold.

Long-Term Effects

Although anorexia is a psychological disease, it behaves more like a physical disease, namely cancer. A cancer cell may begin its life in the breast, brain or bone; but given enough time, it will metastasize throughout the body with a singular goal of destroying all healthy tissue it encounters.Similarly, anorexia may start with a simple diet and associated weight loss. But, once this disease gets a firm grip on its subject, it too metastasizes – and it doesn’t stop at merely ravaging a woman’s body. Instead, it strives to destroy her mind, spirit, relationships, future, and ultimately, her life. Sadly, it is often successful on every front. Anorexia kills people. In fact, this disease enjoys the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Initially, the health consequences related to anorexia are noticeable: emaciated appearance, dry skin and hair, bluish fingertips, etc. Unfortunately, the long-term and far more severe medical issues cannot be seen on the surface. The brain actually shrinks due to lack of nutrition with a commensurate lowering of IQ. The skeletal system is damaged, especially if the anorexia occurs in adolescents before the bones are fully developed. Nearly 90% of women with anorexia experience osteopenia (loss of bone calcium) and 40% have osteoporosis (more advanced loss of bone density). This bone loss is usually permanent. Because the entire hormonal system is compromised by starvation, infertility often results and can be permanent. Perhaps the most endangered organ in the body is the heart. In fact, the most common cause of death in anorexics is heart disease. Much of this is related to muscle deterioration. As the body strives to maintain life, it starts consuming its own muscle; in effect, it starts eating itself. The heart is not immune. Excellent, life-changing treatment is available. If you, or someone you know, struggles with anorexia, please get help immediately.

Sources of Help

Prescription

SSRI: Fluoxetine (Prozac), Citalopram (Celexa)

Other treatments: Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

Also common

Therapies: Family therapy, Group psychotherapy, Brief psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, Behavior therapy, Support group, Interpersonal psychotherapy, Counseling psychology, Dialectical behavior therapy, Cognitive behavioral therapy.

Specialists

Nutritionist: Specializes in food and diet.

Psychiatrist: Treats mental disorders.

Primary care provider (PCP): Prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases.

Clinical psychologist: Treats psychological disorders.

Psychoanalyst: Uses psychotherapy to treat mental disorders.