In order to begin discussing anorexia nervosa, first it is important to know what is meant by anorexia. Anorexia is basically a condition in which there is a lack or loss of appetite, sometimes it is related to emotional disturbances in which person experiences an increased desire to lose weight. On the other hand where anorexia nervosa is concerned, basically it is a very complex disorder in which there are usually 3 hallmark findings which are as follows:
- Individual may completely refuse to eat
- They have an increased fear of gaining weight
- Altered body image, an individual doesn’t feel confident about his/her body image.
Those who suffer from anorexia nervosa have extremely low body weight and in spite of it, they give high value in order to peruse ways via which they can control their weight and keep themselves in shape. These strict habits can directly or indirectly affect their daily life activities.
In terms of eating habits, anorexia binge is somehow like bulimia but the only difference in both of the condition is that in anorexia person has usually low body weight but in bulimia, a person is overweight or obese.
Another important consideration when talking about anorexia nervosa is that every time it is not related to food, sometimes it can be a way through which an individual tries to cope with emotional problems. Anorexia nervosa is a very complex condition and it is crucial for individual to understand that it is not going to resolve on its own. Therefore, seeking medical help is very much important to prevent irreversible damage occurring to body. A person who indulges in anorexia nervosa may disguise himself because they don’t want others to know about it. But it is important for us to know the signs and symptoms associated with it so that this serious problem can be highlighted easily. Following are the physical signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa:
- Extreme weight loss which is due to starvation
- Thin appearance
- Cyanosis of fingers which is due to anemia which results due to decrease hemoglobin.
- Thin, dry hairs
- Dryness of skin
- Yellowing of skin
- Cold intolerance
- Peripheral edema
Anorexia nervosa is not a condition that affects an individual only physically. Rather there are certain behavioral and emotional disturbances as well which are as follows:
- No intake of food
- If there is ingestion of food then usually it is compensated by wither taking emetic drugs to induce vomiting or by taking laxatives.
- Person may refuse to eat
- Denial of hunger
- Lack of emotion
- Depressed mood: which can lead to thought related to suicide.
It is well known among a person that if their condition would be highlighted then they may be taken to doctor therefore, they normally do all this under the table. But there are certain characteristics which may guide us to detect such kind of behavior. You need to get vigilant if the following of the symptoms are common among your loved one:
- A person consistently skipping meals
- They make useless excuses to skip the meal
- If there is a consumption of meal then they prefer foods which are very low in fat
- Person weigh him/herself repeatedly
- Regardless of their weight they constantly complain about being fat.
Just like many other eating disorder, there isn’t any definitive cause for anorexia nervosa. Its cause is unknown. However, it can be due to the following conditions:
- Biological factors: some people prefer having perfection in every aspect of life, it is something which is innate and exactly this way they want perfection in their figure and for this they use different means to lose weight.
- Psychological factor: when an individual is extremely driven to seek perfectionism in terms of how their body is looking. It can be also because of the comments they receive from peers and family members.
- Environmental factors: the trend of having a skinny body, and the acceptance of skinny models for modeling is something which can affect the personal choices of individual. There can also be the influence of peer pressure and the comments that once receive.
There are also a few of the risks factor that can make an individual more susceptible to anorexia nervosa. Those risks factors are as follows:
- Being female: females are usually more towards having a slim and attractive body. Therefore, being female is itself a risk factor.
- Young age: when a person is young they give a lot of importance to what others must be thinking about them and these comments can affect the mindset of individual.
- Family history: those individual whose parents indulged in anorexia nervosa are more prone to do so.
- Weight changes: it is related to the comments they receive, like receiving positive comments upon losing some weight and getting negative comments if they have put on some weight.
- Media: media play a very crucial role in setting the mindset of young individual.
In anorexia nervosa basically, an individual starves or use different measures to limit the calorie intake. This can impose serious complication to the health of an individual. If these conditions are not settled then an individual may die due to severe deficiency of nutrients. Few of the common complications of anorexia nervosa are:
- Anemia which is due to deficiency of nutrients.
- Absence of periods in females
- Bone loss
- Kidney problems
When severe malnourishment takes place, every organ is susceptible to damage and there are increased chances of irreversible damage occurring to the body. Therefore, if you know that your loved one is involved in such kind of habits then it is very much crucial to treat them with proper medical treatment.