Diseases

Get to know more about Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa or anorexia is a eating disorder that makes a person experience hunger or excessive weight loss. Extreme weight loss in people with anorexia nervosa can cause health problems until the most severe impact is death.
People with anorexia nervosa or anorexia often feel hungry but still refuse to eat. They have excessive fear of being fat and feeling themselves fat even though they are still in the ‘normal’ category.
People with anorexia will try to improve the ‘shortcomings’ they feel by restricting food intake strictly and exercising excessively to lose weight.
In order to maintain a lean body shape, people with anorexia will greatly limit their eating portions to a minimum or use appetite suppressants to laxatives . Fear of increasing body weight will continue to haunt people with anorexia even though their weight has decreased a lot.

Who Has Anorexia?

Eating disorders such as anorexia are more common in women than men. The risk for eating disorders is greater in film players, models, dancers, and athletes where appearance or weight is very important.
People with anorexia tend to have very high achievements, both in school, sports, work, and other activities. They tend to be perfectionists with symptoms of obsessive, anxious, or depressed. Anorexia nervosa usually begins to appear during puberty, but it can also be in other age groups.

Causes of Anorexia

Until now, the exact cause of anorexia is unknown. However, research shows that a combination of types of personality, emotions, and certain thought patterns, as well as biological and environmental factors influence this disorder.
People with anorexia often use food and diet as a way to achieve a sense of self-control when they feel depressed with their lives. Feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, anxiety, anger, or loneliness can also affect the occurrence of this disorder.
Keep in mind, people with anorexia may have romance problems or have been ridiculed because of their body shape or weight. The opinions of friends and society that emaciation and physical appearance are associated with beauty can also have an effect on anorexia.
Meanwhile, hormonal changes regulate the way the body and mind control mood, appetite, mindset, and memory, so they can cause eating disorders. In fact, it was found the fact that anorexia tends to be reduced because of genetic factors.

Anorexia Symptoms

Symptoms of anorexia usually include emotional and physical symptoms. The following are some symptoms that can be recognized, including:
  • Rapid weight loss in a few weeks or several months.
  • Continue the diet or continue to limit eating even though the body is thin or the weight is very low.
  • Have excessive interest in food, calories , nutrition, or cooking.
  • Excessive fear will gain weight.
  • Strange eating habits, such as eating secretly.
  • Feel fat, even though your weight is below your ideal body weight.
  • Can’t realistically assess his own weight.
  • Try hard to always look perfect and always look for your own shortcomings.
  • Effect of body weight or body shape on unnatural self-esteem.
  • Depression, anxiety, or irritability.
  • Irregular menstruation.
  • Use of diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics.
  • Often falls ill.
  • Wear loose clothing to hide extreme weight loss.
  • Sports are done compulsively.
  • Feeling worthless or hopeless.
  • Withdrawal from social life.
  • Physical symptoms that occur over time, including: not resistant to cold temperatures, easily damaged nails and hair, dry or yellowing skin, anemia, constipation, joint swelling, tooth decay, and growth of thin hairs throughout the body.
If not treated, anorexia can result in:
  • Organ damage, especially the heart, brain and kidneys.
  • Decreased blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate.
  • Hair loss.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Bone loss ( osteoporosis ).
  • Disorders of fluid and electrolyte balance.
  • Death due to starvation or suicide.

Ways to Overcome Anorexia

Emergency care may be needed in the event of dehydration, malnutrition, kidney failure, or a heart rhythm disorder that can be life threatening.
Even so, the treatment of anorexia is difficult because most sufferers avoid that they suffer from this disorder. Like other eating disorders, anorexia requires a comprehensive therapeutic plan tailored to the needs of the sufferer.
The goal of treatment is to return the patient to his ideal body west, overcome emotional problems such as low self-esteem, improve mindset, and create long-term behavioral changes. Treatment methods include:
  • Individual counseling that focuses on changing people’s mindset and behavior.
  • Drugs. Stopped antidepressant drugs can help overcome anxiety and depression associated with this disorder.
  • Nutrition Consultation. The goal is to teach about healthy food and ideal body weight, restore eating patterns to the normal direction, and teach the importance of nutrition for the body and consumption of a balanced diet.
  • Ask your doctor for advice about vitamin and mineral supplements that are suitable for your body condition. If you experience a poor diet, chances are that your body is not getting the essential nutrients needed.
  • Avoid people, activities or places that can trigger you to be thin. Also, avoid seeing pictures of thin people in magazines, social media or someone you are ideal. Try not to talk about diet to anyone because it can disrupt your intention to recover from anorexia.
  • Group or family therapy. It is expected that people with eating disorders will get support and can discuss their feelings and concerns openly with other people who have the same experience and problems.
  • Inpatient. As explained above, hospitalization may be needed to overcome excessive weight loss which results in malnutrition and serious complications, such as heart problems, major depression , and suicidal ideation.
Anorexia will worsen if not treated immediately. The sooner diagnosed and treated, the better the results. Although it can be treated, anorexia has a high risk of recurrence.
Healing from anorexia usually requires long-term monitoring and a strong commitment from the sufferer. Family support and the closest people can help sufferers to undergo treatment thoroughly.
Please note, not all cases of anorexia can be prevented, therefore treatment with therapy must be done as early as possible. In addition, teaching and encouraging healthy eating patterns and a realistic attitude towards food and body shape also help to prevent eating disorders or avoid the worsening of anorexia suffered.

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