A brief overview of Anorexia Nervosa
One of the three primary eating disorders is Anorexia Nervosa or Anorexia for short. It is characterized by an intense fear of getting fat and the obsession to lose weight. In the typical case of Anorexia, the individual follows an ongoing pattern of being preoccupied with food and losing what they perceive to be excessive weight. Self-starvation is one of the Anorexia symptoms to be aware of as it can become potentially life-threatening. In fact, approximately 10% of all known cases of Anorexia will turn fatal at some point.
Identifying the symptoms or warning signs
If you notice that the following Anorexia symptoms or warning signs apply to you or a loved one, then it is time to seek out the professional help of an eating wellness center:
You are losing weight too quickly – in many cases, the individual suffering with the disorder will lose up to 25% of their total body weight. Puberty and the college years are usually when an individual has the tendency to develop Anorexia.
Monitor what you are eating – do you cut your food into smaller bites and move more of it around on your plate than what you actually eat? Have you or the person you are concerned with stopped going out with family or friends to eat?
Excessive fasting – in many instances, the individual suffering with the disorder will practice self-starvation to lose the weight quicker. True fasting is more of a cleansing process than anything else. However, excessive fasting indicates that the person has a serious eating disorder.
Excessive exercising – in order to keep the weight off or lose weight, the individual will exercise considerably more than what is healthy and normal. The condition is oftentimes referred to as Anorexia Athletica.
Constant dissatisfaction with appearance – the anorexic individual is never happy with how they look and never feel like they have gotten thin enough. They will change their goals of losing weight once a goal is achieved and weigh themselves constantly.
Confused thinking and an inability to concentrate – you need to eat properly in order to think properly. Thinking becomes clouded and slower when an individual does not eat nutritionally and properly.
Dizziness and fainting – a lack of eating not only depletes energy levels, it results in a low glucose level. This oftentimes leads to the individual suffering with bouts of dizziness and fainting when they become too fatigued or weak.
Changes in the growth of one’s hair – the person who is malnourished will lose their hair. Additionally, a thin layer of hair will grow in addition to the regular body hair in order for the individual to keep warm.
Treatment options for Anorexia
There are a number of anorexia treatment options available that will help the individual overcome their Anorexia symptoms. The following will give you an idea of the different ones that may be employed when an individual enters an eating disorder treatment and recovery center:
Hospitalization – once an individual is suffering from malnutrition and still refuses to eat normally, they will oftentimes be hospitalized in order to help them put the necessary weight back on and enable them to return to a normal, healthy lifestyle. There are a number of specialized clinics and eating wellness centers that deal exclusively with these types of disorders.
Medical and psychological care – when Anorexia symptoms become extremely severe, the best treatment is a combination of medical and psychological formats. The person’s electrolytes, hydration levels, and their vital signs are closely monitored in order to prevent complications from developing. If there is a co-existent psychological condition such as anxiety or depression, the individual will usually be administered anti-depressants to help them deal with this.
Nutritional counseling and therapy – since this is an eating disorder, the individual suffering with Anorexia symptoms will be able to change the way they look at food and restructure their thought processing by undergoing nutritional counseling and therapy. You will learn how to develop healthier eating behavior with the assistance of a licensed dietician who will teach you how to maintain a healthier body weight. They will also help you develop healthier meal plans that target proper weight management.
Complications and difficulties that occur during treatment
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious eating disorder that can oftentimes turn fatal if the individual does not receive the professional help they need. Anemia, gastrointestinal problems, heart problems, and lung issues are some of the more common complications that arise from chronic Anorexia symptoms. In addition to these problems, anxiety, bone loss, depression, heart failure, menstruation stoppage, malnutrition, and OCD’s are also complications that oftentimes arise.
Anorexic individuals who are in denial about their issues will be difficult to approach when it comes to discussing treatment options as they will still insist that nothing is wrong with them. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic revealed that if the treatment of these Anorexia symptoms is stopped abruptly before it has been completed, there is a greater risk of relapse occurring. During stressful times, such as what the individual will experience during treatment, it is important that family members and loved ones support the person.
Most anorexics will deny having an eating and weight problem or try to hide the fact that they are suffering with Anorexia. Just like with alcohol and drug addiction, the most important step is admitting that you have a problem and then getting professional help for it. As an individual concerned about a family member or loved one, your job is to support that person. In other words, care but don’t try to cure.
The person who is exhibiting Anorexia symptoms is not going to have an easy time of overcoming this eating disorder, especially if it has gotten so severe that it could be potentially fatal. Whether it is you or an individual you are concerned with, when the warning signs of Anorexia are present, it is imperative that professional help is received as soon as possible. Please contact Harmony Grove eating wellness center today to speak with one of our caring specialists.