Anorexia Nervosa – Symptoms, causes and how to cope with it
Today, when being skinny means that you’re beautiful and gorgeous, it is very hard to not to be preoccupied with your weight. In almost all fashion magazines and television advertisements, we always see the skinny and beautiful models, and the worst part is that these skinny bodies are approved by many other women.
While the world struggles with the obesity problem, many women suffer from the opposite – anorexia.
Important! If you think that you or a loved one suffers from anorexia, please consult your doctor immediately!
What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia is a serious, often chronic eating disorder. People who suffer from anorexia are preoccupied with food, their weight and the shape of their body. They try to maintain a really low body weight, which is below the normal range for their age and height.
To prevent gaining weight or to continue slimming, people who have anorexia starve themselves or they continuously exercise until they’re completely exhausted.
Anorexia is more represented among women than among men. Most often it starts to appear in adolescents, but this is not a general rule. Adults can also suffer from anorexia.
Symptoms of anorexia nervosa
Some people with anorexia lose weight by limiting themselves of how much food they consume. Others are turning to exhaustive exercise, and others are trying to reduce their weight by doing various treatments with laxatives or vomiting.
The symptoms that you can see in person who suffers from anorexia can be physical and emotional or behavioral.
Physical signs of anorexia nervosa:
- Extreme weight loss
- Tiredness and weakness
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Absence of menstruation
- Dry skin
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
Emotional and behavioral signs of anorexia nervosa:
- Refusing to eat
- Denies hunger
- Exercises to exhaustion
- Constantly looking in the mirror and stands on the scale
- Doesn’t show much emotion
- Has a hard time to concentrate
- Preoccupied with food
Causes of anorexia nervosa
Besides feeling too much pressure from the modern way of life, anorexia can also be caused by other reasons.
Biological causes. Research shows that some people might have a genetic predisposition to anorexia. If a girl has a sister or brother, who suffers from anorexia, the likelihood that she’ll suffer by this disorder is increased by 10 to 20 times.
Psychological causes. Often, people with anorexia are perfectionists and they can achieve many things in their life. They usually do everything that they parents tell them to do and tend to try to make people around them happy. Although they tend do things flawlessly on the outside, inside they feel desperate, helpless and are very critical about themselves.
Pressure from family. If the parents pay too much attention to appearance, stick to regular diets or criticize their children about their weight, it may contribute to the development of anorexia.
Social pressure. If the person participates in sports that require certain looks, like gymnastics or ballet, the pressure from the environment, sometimes it can develop into anorexia. The same happens with many women doing modeling.
Tips on how to cope with anorexia
If someone close to you (or you) is suffering from anorexia, you should seek a professional support and help. She/He will most likely reject and deny that there’s a problem, so you should be patient. In any case, you shouldn’t be aggressive and intrusive, and don’t repeat to her/him that she/he would die if she/he don’t eat. It is better to explain them that you’re extremely worried and you want to help them to be healthy and happy.
If you suffer from anorexia, follow these tips:
Follow the treatment plan. Go to all therapies and eat all the meals, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Talk with your doctor and take your multivitamin supplements. If you suffer from anorexia, you’re probably lacking a certain vitamins and minerals and you should take them as a supplements. Talk to your doctor about this.
Don’t isolate yourself. Maintain a close contact with your family and people who love you and want to help you.
Avoid looking in the mirror or checking your weight on the scale. This will just take you a few steps back because you’ll most likely want to continue with your unhealthy lifestyle.