Anorexia Nervosa: Looking Beyond The Surface

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Anorexia Nervosa: Looking Beyond The Surface


Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder which is based on people that are terrified of becoming fat. But it is far more complicated than a simple urge to lose weight.

What to look for

Fear of becoming fat, even when emaciated; distorted body image; excessive dieting and exercising; significant weight loss. Constipation;  increase in facial and body hair; loss of some head hair.  Suppression of sexual desire;  abnormal food preoccupations, such as counting all calories or obsessively studying cookbooks. Cessation of menstrual periods. Dry, sallow skin. Chronic insomnia; hands and feet cold at normal room temperature. They have bad school results; the committing of anti-social behaviour - stealing, becoming noticeably withdrawn and destroying things.  People with Anorexia Nervosa starve themselves as a result of the fear of gaining weight, which results in vital weight loss… in addition to malnutrition; anaemia; brittle bones; irregular heartbeat; under-nourishment and many other problems. Anorexia is very dangerous, and people should seek professional help as soon as possible. Inspired treatment will usually keep the condition from growing, but some cases are very resistant to treatment and may require hospitalization. Nevertheless its aim is on food, anorexia is a sickness of the mind. Often it begins with a somewhat normal desire to lose a few kilograms, but it soon becomes obsessive. Food intake is gradually minimized until eating is almost rejected. The victim becomes obsessed with their body image and often sees himself/herself as fat even though he/she is not overweight. Ironically, they ritualize food arrangement and consumption, and become obsessed with recipes and cooking, yet will not eat the food. they may change fasting with periodic binging and purging (see Bulimia), particularly when  trying to regain normal eating habits. 

Anorexics tend to come from families that have high requirements of success, and they are often perfectionists, driven in many aspects of their life, especially in school. Rejection often leads to their intense focus on staying thin. Anorexics may typically refuse to admit that there is anything wrong, and become defensive or angry at expressions of concern by others.


Whereas some studies have unfolded that genes can play an influencing role in anorexia, most researchers believe that personal factors are the key. Anorexics tend to have low self-esteem and feel unworthy of love. In teens, such feelings may be intensified by sexual changes, fear of growing up, religious messages that describe that thin is beautiful, and strains or pressures within the family. Drastic fasting may be an anorexic's way of attempting to strain control over their life.

When to seek further professional advice

If your child or any person close to you engages in any of the symptoms referred above it is vitally important that you seek medical advice immediately.

Alternative/Natural Treatments

Alternative therapies may help people with some of the symptoms for anorexia, and can serve as useful alterations to treatments that address nutrition and the emotional roots of the disorder. It is thought that sufferers of this illness have zinc deficiencies and this may be worth getting your doctor to look into.

Traditional Treatment

Families of anorexics should call for medical assistance right away in order to improve the weight to a safer level. Then therapy, normal medical supervising, and nutritional counselling should be the other part of any treatment program for anorexia. Close agreement among all health professionals involved is important. All these professionals should be experienced specifically in treating people with eating disorders. Hospitalization is normally required if the patient has lost more than 25 percent of their normal body weight. A system of urging the patient to eat is mostly set into place as the patient will refuse eating at all costs. Psychotherapy is the main approach to attempt to comprehend the causes of the person's problems and difficulties. Supplements of zinc sulfate will aid any zinc shortages. Other nutritional supplements, antidepressants, appetite enhancers, and anti-anxiety drugs are often prescribed as well.

The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.

Author - Body and Mind

Published - 2013-01-17