Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa or anorexia in simple terms is a disorder of eating associated with the avoidance to maintain a normal body weight with constant fear of getting additional pounds.  It is oftentimes accompanied with a false image of self that is reinforced by the media and specific biases.  This affects how the person perceives his or her body, diet, and consumption.  Those who have this condition feel the pangs of hunger, but they only eat a small serving of food.  The average amount of calories people with anorexia nervosa would take is around 600-800 each day, but there are instances when they allow themselves to starve completely.  This is a serious medical disorder to which many have lost their lives to.

Anorexia is common in adolescence, particularly in teenage girls.  Both sexes can be affected regardless of how old they are, what race they belong to, what their socio-cultural backgrounds are, or how wealthy they may be.  However, anorexia nervosa affects more females, to up to ten times, than males.  Most of them also belong in society's upper class.

Those suffering from anorexia nervosa can easily be identified because of specific signs and symptoms.  Cases differ individually depending on the duration and length of starvation.  Some may not even be that obvious and are addressed when it is almost too late.

Persons who suffer from anorexia nervosa develop abrupt loss in their weights.  They develop lanugo, fine hairs that grow in the face and in other parts of the body.  They are vigilant when it comes to fatty foods or high caloric beverages.  They may cook extravagant meals but avoid joining in to eat.  Though they are already very skinny, they see themselves as overweight and would insist on dieting.  There is that fear of getting fat or gaining weight most of the time.  If ever they do eat, common ritualistic behaviors would include cutting of the food into small pieces, refusal to eat with others, and hiding or throwing away of food.  They would also hide their bodies in baggy and loose outfits, especially if they feel they are about to be confronted with issues about food and weight. 

Since people with anorexia nervosa are already malnourished, the first step in its treatment is to restore normal weight through proper intake, vitamins, mineral supplements, and more.  Further problems in other organs of the body have to be controlled as well. When this is done, the psychological aspect of the disorder is addressed.  This is performed through specific medications, therapy, and counseling.  The family is also involved in this especially if they are one of the reasons why the person has developed it.  Lastly, specific behaviors have to be controlled.  They are supervised while they are eating to make sure that they consume their meals and do not throw it away. Their thoughts are also corrected particularly their perceptions about their bodies, their food, and their image as a whole.  It is rare for anorexia to redevelop after being treated.

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Quotes from the team at Phobias:

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