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Anorexia Nervosa || An eating disorder

Anorexia Nervosa :

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. In anorexia nervosa people have intense fear of gaining weight which causes them to try to maintain a very low weight. Anorexia usually starts in the teen years.Eating disorders are conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake which can harm or damage an individual's physical and mental health. They can even be life threatening.

Anorexia nervosa - eating disorder - meraki

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder - include extreme emotions, attitude and behaviours surrounding weight and food issues. Therefore, eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life threatening consequences for females and males.

Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder. People who have anorexia nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight which cause them to try to maintain a very low weight. It's much more common in females than males. Early treatment can be very effective. But if not treated early, anorexia can become a lifelong problem.


Anorexia nervosa is often preceded by a traumatic event and is usually accompanied by other emotional problems. So, anorexia is a life threatening condition that can result in death from starvation, heart failure, electrolyte imbalance or suicide. For some people, anorexia is a chronic disease, one that lasts for lifetime.

Causes of Anorexia Nervosa :

causes of anorexia nervosa - eating disorder - meraki
No one knows exactly e what causes and anorexia. Medical experts agree that several factors work together in a complex fashion to lead to the eating disorder. These may include :
  1. Biological :
  2. Abnormalities in brain chemistry, serotonin, a brain chemical that is involved in depression, may play a role.
  3. Psychological :
  4. Sever trauma or emotional stress (such as the death of a loved one for sexual abuse) during puberty or pre-puberty.
  5. Cultural Pressure :
  6. There is a cultural emphasis on thinness which is especially pervasive in western society. There is an unrealistic stereotype of what constitutes beauty and the ideal body type as portrayed by the media, fashion and entertainment industries. So the cultural pressure on men and women to be perfect is an important predisposing factor for the development of eating disorders.
  7. Peer pressure :
  8. Dieting is reported to being influenced by peer behaviour, with many of those individuals on a diet report that their friends also were dieting. The number of friends dieting and the number of friends who pressured them to diet also played a significant role in their own choices.
  9. Personality traits :
  10. There are various childhood personality traits associated with the development of eating disorders. During adolescence these traits may become intensified due to a variety of physiological and cultural influences such as the hormonal changes associated with puberty.
  11. Child maltreatment :
  12. Child abuse which encompasses physical, psychological and sexual abuse, as well as neglect has been shown by innumerable studies to be a precipitating factor in a wide variety of psychiatric disorders, including eating disorders.
  13. Social Isolation :
  14. Social isolation has been shown to have a deleterious effect on an individual's physical and emotional well-being. Experiencing a big life change, such as moving or going to a new school.
  15. Parental influence :
  16. Parental influence has been shown to be an intrinsic component in the development of eating behaviours of children. This influence is manifested and shaped by a variety of diverse factors such as familial genetic predisposition, dietary choices as dictated by the cultural or ethnic preferences.
  17. Family history :
  18. About one fifth of people with anorexia nervosa have a relative with an eating disorder.


Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia nervosa


Signs of anorexia nervosa - eating disorder - meraki
Physical Signs :
  1. Excessive weight loss
  2. Scanty or absent menstrual periods in women
  3. Thinning hair
  4. Dry skin
  5. Brittle nails
  6. Cold sore swollen hands and feet
  7. Bloated or upset stomach
  8. Downy hair covering the body
  9. Low blood pressure
  10. Fatigue
  11. abnormal heart rhythms
  12. Osteoporosis

Psychological and Behavioural Signs :
  1. Distorted self perception insisting they are overweight when they are thin.
  2. To being preoccupied with food.
  3. Refusing to eat.
  4. Inability to remember things.
  5. Refusing to acknowledge the seriousness of the illness.
  6. Obsessive compulsive behaviour.
  7. Depression


Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

The most successful treatment is a combination of physiotherapy, family therapy and medication. a combination of treatments can give the person the medical, psychological and practical support they need. Following things can be help in treating anorexia nervosa :
treatment of anorexia nervosa - eating disorder - meraki
  1. Lifestyle change :
  2. Treating anorexia nervosa involves major Lifestyle changes :
    1. Establishing regular eating habits and healthy diet and sticking with your treatment and meal plans.
    2. Developing a support system for help with stress and emotional issues.
    3. Ignoring the urge to weigh yourself or check your appearance constantly.
    4. Cutting back on exercise if obsessive exercise has been part of the disease.
  3. Medication :
  4. There are no medications specifically approved to treat anorexia nervosa. However, antidepressants are often prescribed to treat depression that may accompany anorexia nervosa.
  5. Nutrition and Dietary Supplements :
  6. Getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet or through supplements can correct the problem. Use quality protein sources, avoid refined sugars such as Candy and soft drinks.
  7. Herbs :
  8. Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body's system. Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum), fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), milk thistle (Silybum marianum) catnip (Nepeta spp.).
  9. Family Therapy :
  10. Involving friends, family members and other in the treatment may be helpful.

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