Anorexia Nervosa

Psychological Disorder

Characteristics

Anorexia nervosa is people who intentionally starve themselves and experience hunger pain. It involves extreme weight loss that is less than normal. People with this disorder look emaciated, but still have the belief that they are overweight, even if they are bone-thin. Many individuals with this disorder will have a fear of gaining weight.

Causes and Risk Factors

People with this disorder have a distorted perception of body weight. This can be dangerous for them in the long-term. This disorder is unhealthy as it is not an ideal way to deal with emotional problems or coping. Many will restrict food intake, which can affect their physical health.

Prevelance

Anorexia nervosa is commonly found in young people who are going through puberty or a major physical change with their body. With this disorder, women will lose menstrual periods and men can become potent.

Diagnosis

The first sign is when an individual is experiencing a fear of weight gain. When noticed they can get a physical exam or psychological evaluation, which each will determine what next steps will need to be taken.

There are two types of anorexia nervosa.

  • restricting type: person who restricts their food intake on their own and does not engage in binge-eating or purging behavior
  • binge-eating/purging type: the person that self-induces vomiting or misuses laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.

Treatment by Professionals

The first step is usually hospitalization, due to the common symptoms of lack of nutrition and dehydration. Therapy is always an ideal way of treatment as well. There are two types of therapy available as well. One option is family-based therapy, where there will be interaction with family members to establish the issues at hand. Next would be, individual therapy. This type would be to discover more personal issues that may have causes this disorder to begin.

There is no medication for this disorder. Antidepressants can help, depending on the patient situation.

Facts

  • Anorexia is the third most common long-term illness among teenagers.
  • Anorexia is the most common cause of death (up to 12 times higher than any other condition) among young women ages 15 to 24.

Sources

Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) Symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/anorexia-anorexia-nervosa-symptoms/


Anorexia nervosa. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia/basics/definition/CON-20033002