ZHION.COM - September 1, 2011
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What is anorexia nervosa? Anorexia symptoms
A person with anorexia nervosa, often called anorexia, has an intense fear of gaining weight. Someone
with anorexia thinks about food a lot and limits the food she or he eats, even though she or he is too thin.
Anorexia is more than just a problem with food. It's a way of using food or starving oneself to feel more in
control of life and to ease tension, anger, and anxiety. Most people with anorexia are female. An anorexic:
* Has a low body weight for her or his height
* Resists keeping a normal body weight
* Has an intense fear of gaining weight
* Thinks she or he is fat even when very thin
* Misses 3 menstrual periods in a row (for girls/women who have started having their periods)
What causes anorexia?
There is no single known cause of anorexia. Eating disorders are real, treatable medical illnesses with
causes in both the body and the mind. Some of these things may play a part:
* Culture. Women in the U.S. are under constant pressure to fit a certain ideal of beauty. Seeing images of
flawless, thin females everywhere makes it hard for women to feel good about their bodies. More and
more, women are also feeling pressure to have a perfect body.
* Families. If you have a mother or sister with anorexia, you are more likely to develop the disorder.
Parents who think looks are important, diet themselves, or criticize their children's bodies are more likely to
have a child with anorexia.
* Life changes or stressful events. Traumatic events (like rape) as well as stressful things (like starting a
new job), can lead to the onset of anorexia.
* Personality traits. Someone with anorexia may not like her or himself, hate the way she or he looks, or
feel hopeless. She or he often sets hard-to-reach goals for her or himself and tries to be perfect in every
* Biology. Genes, hormones, and chemicals in the brain may be factors in developing anorexia.
What are signs of anorexia? anorexia symptoms
Someone with anorexia may look very thin. She or he may use extreme measures to lose weight by:
* Making her or himself throw up
* Taking pills to urinate or have a bowel movement
* Taking diet pills
* Not eating or eating very little
* Exercising a lot, even in bad weather or when hurt or tired
* Weighing food and counting calories
* Eating very small amounts of only certain foods
* Moving food around the plate instead of eating it
Someone with anorexia may also have a distorted body image, shown by thinking she or he is fat, wearing
baggy clothes, weighing her or himself many times a day, and fearing weight gain.
Anorexia can also cause someone to not act like her or himself. She or he may talk about weight and food
all the time, not eat in front of others, be moody or sad, or not want to go out with friends. People with
anorexia may also have other psychiatric and physical illnesses, including:
* Obsessive behavior
* Substance abuse
* Issues with the heart and/or brain
* Problems with physical development
Can someone with anorexia get better?
Yes. Someone with anorexia can get better. A health care team of doctors, nutritionists, and therapists will
help the patient get better. They will:
* Help bring the person back to a normal weight
* Treat any psychological issues related to anorexia
* Help the person get rid of any actions or thoughts that cause the eating disorder
These three steps will prevent "relapse" (relapse means to get sick again, after feeling well for a while).
Some research suggests that the use of medicines — such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood
stabilizers — may sometimes work for anorexic patients. It is thought that these medicines help the mood
and anxiety symptoms that often co-exist with anorexia. Other recent studies, however, suggest that
antidepressants may not stop some patients with anorexia from relapsing. Also, no medicine has shown to
work 100 percent of the time during the important first step of restoring a patient to healthy weight. So, it is
not clear if and how medications can help anorexic patients get better, but research is still happening.
Some forms of psychotherapy can help make the psychological reasons for anorexia better.
Psychotherapy is sometimes known as "talk therapy." It uses different ways of communicating to change a
patient's thoughts or behavior. This kind of therapy can be useful for treating eating disorders in young
patients who have not had anorexia for a long time.
Individual counseling can help someone with anorexia. If the patient is young, counseling may involve the
whole family. Support groups may also be a part of treatment. In support groups, patients, and families
meet and share what they've been through.
Some researchers point out that prescribing medicines and using psychotherapy designed just for
anorexic patients works better at treating anorexia than just psychotherapy alone. Whether or not a
treatment works, though, depends on the person involved and his or her situation. Unfortunately, no one
kind of psychotherapy always works for treating adults with anorexia.
Herbs / Supplements that may help anorexia: