Anorexia nervosa: pretty scary

November 11, 2011

 anorexia nervosa
 Anorexia nervosa - eating disorders is characterized by weight loss, excessive fear of completeness, a distorted view of their appearance and deep exchange and hormonal disorders. Anorexia nervosa is often accompanied by loss of appetite, cessation of menstruation, increased physical activity, and sometimes increased appetite with artificially induced vomiting after eating, excessive concern with food and its preparation, bouts of binge eating and the desire for weight loss.

Anorexia nervosa is found mostly among adolescent girls. Out of every 18 patients, only one - man. Until the sixties the disease is rare, but its frequency is then inexplicably increased significantly. According to current data, anorexia nervosa affect 1% of teenage girls, but it is possible that these figures are underestimated.

Usually the disease begins in early adolescence, but can sometimes occur for the first time, and much later - after 30 or even 40 years. Until I found the weight loss, anorexia patients are described as soft, enthusiastic, hardworking people without obvious signs of neuropsychiatric disorders. In school, these children have excellent academic performance. Often they are a little plump and because of the ridicule of peers decide to stick to a diet, and when they begin to lose weight, then deny it. Most often it occurs anorexia among models and dancers, especially ballet dancers. Factor stimulating development of the disease, may be a strong psychological shock such as the death of a loved one, trauma-or long-term depression.



Features and distinctive features of a person suffering from anorexia nervosa:

  • The constant desire to reduce weight. If achieving the "ideal weight" does not give the desired sensation (such as satisfaction, acceptance or self-esteem), or there is fear again recover at normal eating, the patient continues to starve on, reaching the planned new weight.
  • Refusal to eat. Refusal to eat may seem overtly or covertly. Often not eating looks like people have already eaten somewhere, sometime, someone, why not have all when he offered - that is, he convinces others that he has eaten or will eat later, but now, with everyone under someone's eye.
  • Excessive physical activity and restlessness. Anorexia patients expose themselves to violent, exhausting physical exercise, they are constantly on the move, trying to load itself as much as possible in various activities related to physical activity. Desire to be constantly in motion leads to insomnia. Vigor und Drang movement decreases with the development of the disease through the recession of physical strength.
  • Ignoring the physical signs of the disease. Patients conceal not only his illness but also fatigue, chills and fatigue. These feelings, as well as hunger, leave behind a sense of emptiness which is filled with a constant concern food.
  • The reluctance to recognize the existence of problems. Even when patients with anorexia bring themselves to exhaustion because of the uncertainty and fear they can not break out of the self-destructive vicious circle of them.


Causes of anorexia nervosa

At the heart of anorexia nervosa, like other eating disorders, psychosocial problems lie, or rather a combination of biological (genetic predisposition), social (environmental impact: Expectations, imitation, diet), individual and family factors. Eating disorders represent an unconscious inner struggle of human individuality, his presentation of himself in society and the problems that often arise from traumatic experiences and models of socialization.

Compliance with strict diets alters the way brain function and metabolism, and the body is under stress. These changes can lead to increased likelihood of developing an eating disorder.

Genetics play a major role in the development of anorexia. Compared with people who do not have such disorders, people with eating disorders often have a history of eating disorders in the family, or cases of obesity and mood disorders (such as anxiety Anxiety - how to distinguish normal from disease?  Anxiety - how to distinguish normal from disease?
   or depression).

The combination of certain personality characteristics (such as reduced self-confidence along with perfectionism) and cultural and social pressure can play a role in anorexia.

For some adolescents anorexia can be a way to cope with stress How to beat stress? Create an oasis  How to beat stress? Create an oasis
   and the challenges of the teenage years. Stressful life events, such as relocation, divorce, or death of a loved one can trigger anorexia.

It is also proved that in certain cases, anorexia is a consequence of a zinc deficiency.


Signs and symptoms

The signs of anorexia taken include the following:

  • Denying sick problems
  • Constant feeling sick own fullness
  • Violations way of eating (eating standing up, split food into small pieces)
  • Sleep disorders
  • Panic recover.
  • Depressive
  • Unjustified anger, resentment
  • Passion for topics related to food: suddenly developed an interest in cooking, collecting recipes, browse cookbooks, cooking and passion for cooking sumptuous meals for family and friends without the participation of the patient's eating habits; interest in the different diets; sudden urge to become a vegetarian
  • Changes in the social and family life: unwillingness to attend the meetings and common meals, cessation of communication with loved ones, and many frequent visits to the bathroom, or excessive exercise outside the home
  • Changes in behavior: irritability and sadness, replacing euphoria; reduced activity

Social fears are confirmed by the inability to share with others the attitude to eating, which causes problems in the immediate vicinity.

Among the physical disorders caused by anorexia:

  • menstrual problems
  • cardiac arrhythmia
  • persistent weakness
  • muscle spasms



  • Disorders of the cardiovascular system - heart arrhythmia (usually bradycardia), often leading to sudden cardiac death (SCD) due to lack of potassium and magnesium and other minerals, and general disruption of electrolytes; bouts of fainting; dizziness; constant feeling of cold due to slow heart rate.
  • Skin disorders: loss of hair; dry skin Dry skin: care and treatment  Dry skin: care and treatment
 , Pale skin; the appearance of fine hair on the face and on the back; edema due to a lack of protein; violation of the structure of the nail.
  • Disorders of the digestive system: convulsive stomach pain; chronic constipation; nausea; edema of the abdominal cavity; functional dyspepsia.
  • Disorders of the endocrine system, such as a lack of thyroid hormones, slowing metabolism, amenorrhea, and the inability to conceive.
  • Other effects: osteoporosis and frequent, painful bone fractures, vertebral, reduction of brain mass.
  • Mental consequences of depression; obsessive compulsive disorder; suicide; inability to concentrate.

Mortality, death in anorexia nervosa to date is 20%. The most common cause of death are malnutrition, metabolic electrolytes. Approximately half of the cases the cause of death is suicide - this again shows that anorexia nervosa occur pronounced emotional disorders. The consciousness of these people is so distorted that they prefer death to weight gain



Anorexia is mainly treated as outpatients. Only with persistent refusal of food and rising food decline (cachexia) resort to hospitalization.

Therapy may include drugs for the correction of iron deficiency, and zinc, as well as antidepressants. The hospital prescribed additional caloric when stubborn refusal to eat - parenteral nutrition (intravenous).

Because anorexia nervosa Anorexia nervosa - symptoms and effects on the body  Anorexia nervosa - symptoms and effects on the body
   has a significant impact on the human psyche, to his way of thinking and behavior, recovery is extremely difficult, even if the patient provide the necessary assistance. (In rare cases, the recovery becomes completely impossible.) For this reason, the program of rehabilitation of patients with anorexia need to include not only the restoration of normal weight and return to a healthy eating style, but also psychotherapy, which should include changing patterns of thinking and behavior at a given disorder. Throughout the course of treatment should be carried out individual therapy and, preferably, family therapy.

Approximate duration of the active phase of treatment - from three to six months. Expected results - moderate or significant reduction of symptoms, partial or complete recovery of weight. Fully recover less than half of the patients, although almost all can work. A rare complication of therapy - obesity (2% of patients).

Article Tags:
  • anorexia