ANOREXIA

Noelia Sánchez Sánchez, 1st Bat A

What is it?

Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by a low weight, fear of gaining weight, a strong desire to be thin, and food restriction. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are underweight. If asked they usually deny they have a problem with low weight. Often they weigh themselves frequently, eat only small amounts, and only eat certain foods. Some will exercise excessively, force themselves to vomit, or use laxatives to produce weight loss.

Types

There are two types of anorexia. In the restricting type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by restricting calories (following drastic diets, fasting, and exercising to excess). In the purging type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics.

Causes

There are no simple answers to the causes of anorexia and other eating disorders. Anorexia is a complex condition that arises from a combination of many social, emotional, and biological factors. Although our culture’s idealization of thinness plays a powerful role, there are many other contributing factors, including your family environment, emotional difficulties, low self-esteem, and traumatic experiences you may have gone through in the past.

Symptoms

The earliest warning signs of anorexia (anorexia nervosa) can be very difficult to distinguish from normal eating or dieting behavior. Anorexia symptoms may also be concealed, attributed to other health conditions or dismissed as side effects of prescription drugs.


However, eating disorder treatment professionals can distinguish symptoms of anorexia from other medical conditions by identifying physical signs such as:


  • extreme weight loss
  • thin appearance
  • abnormal blood counts
  • fatigue
  • dizziness or fainting
  • brittle nails
  • hair that thins, breaks or falls out
  • absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • development of fine hair on the extremities (lanugo)
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • intolerance of cold
  • irregular heart rhythms
And many others...

Effects

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Treatment

Since anorexia involves both mind and body, a team approach to treatment is often best. Those who may be involved in anorexia treatment include medical doctors, psychologists, counselors, and dieticians. The participation and support of family members also makes a big difference in treatment success. Having a team around you that you can trust and rely on will make recovery easier.


Treating anorexia involves three steps:


-Getting back to a healthy weight.

-Starting to eat more food.

-Changing how you think about yourself and food.