What is Anorexia Nervosa? Symptoms and Treatment

Anorexia nervosa is known as the restriction of energy intake compared to the body’s energy needs.

This is considered in the category of nutrition and eating disorders. It is a very serious psychological disorder characterized by low body weight, fear of gaining weight, or imaginary disturbances experienced by the body due to the limitation of energy intake.

Accepting and maintaining treatment is very rare in the present population. Medical interventions are necessary as this also brings serious health problems.

Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

  • The most obvious of the physical symptoms is excessive weight loss. The person has suffered too much weight loss and his body mass index should be well below the normal range.
  • Body mass index (BMI) is a determining factor in diagnosis.
  • Anemia, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, fainting, and weakness, a distinct bluish color in the color of the nails, bone melting and sleep disorders are the most common symptoms.

Persons with symptoms of anorexia nervosa should seek support from a health facility.

The increase in physical symptoms may reach the dimensions that endanger the person’s life.

They should seek help from health centers and professional persons if they observe physical symptoms .

Since anorexia neurosis is a mental disorder, it has a serious impact on emotional and cognitive processes. Emotional and cognitive symptoms are also important in determining diagnostic criteria. These symptoms are constant attention to food, ignoring the feeling of hunger, fear of gaining weight, depressive mood, and social withdrawal.

If these emotional symptoms are present, cognitive behavioral therapy is the most reccomended solution.One shouldn’t forget that traumatic events, which seem to be independent from each other, can affect people’s lives differently. In other words, the chance of correcting the disorder is very low before diagnosing eating disorder. In addition, the person’s distorted body perception should change and the person should realize that this perception is not true.

Anorexia neurosis occurs during adolescence and may persist for life in some patients. Just like in personality disorders, it is very difficult to start treatment and bring continuity. People with anorexia nervosa generally do not admit that it is a disorder. This makes the treatment process difficult.

The risk group is usually women and adolescents. However, people such as ballerinas, dancers and models who always have to look physically attractive have a higher risk of eating disorders. These people think that they always have to look weak due to their profession. Eating disorders frequently occur in people who feel compelled to comply with the perception of beauty imposed by popular culture.

Causes of Anorexia Nervosa

The third most common disorder among young people is anorexia neurosa.

In anorexia, a person faces physical problems. However, the complexities and misperceptions experienced in the cognitive and emotional context are more important.

The effect of genetic factors on anorexia neurosis is not known. The studies conducted in this context are currently not comprehensive enough to provide clear results. However, the incidence of anorexia neurosis is higher in people with a high perfectionist desire to be perfect. This can be applied to be related to genetic factors.

Environmental factors are very important in eating disorders.

Especially during adolescence, critical expectations regarding the body perception of the person may arise. In modern societies, the idea that the skinny is beautiful is very common. With this illusion, the person can easily start an unhealthy diet. Moreover, the idea of ​​attenuation that affects mental processes can turn into a permanent thought. This persistence can lead to an uncontrollable desire to lose weight and fear of gaining weight.

Being healthy is not important, for them it is important to be thin.

These people believe that the weaker they are, the more beautiful they are. Even the negative reactions they receive from the environment can be a reward for them. They never admit that they are thin enough when they look at themselves in the mirror because of the body perception they create in their minds.

Psychological factors are the major causes of anorexia neurosis.

In anorexia neurosis that begins during puberty, there may be an obsession with weight loss due to the person’s desire to be accepted. In adolescence, friendship relationships begin to become complex and people tend to turn towards many wrong behaviors in order to be accepted. The incidence of eating disorders increases in individuals with problems in family life.

It is possible to encounter individuals with traumatic events experienced in the family such as abuse, harassment, violence and who have eating disorders after this traumatic event. Particularly in case of domestic abuse, the confusion the person enters is very large. The reason for eating disorders can be unconscious, self-harm, shame and guilt.

Diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa

The most important factor in the diagnostic criteria of anorexia nervosa is that there is no organic cause of weight loss. It is not possible to talk about anorexia if there is a weight loss due to a disease and satisfaction of the person. In addition to physical appearance, various emotional symptoms such as negative tendencies experienced by the person, decrease in self-esteem, loss of sexual desire should be accompanied. Physical findings such as low heart rate, a significant slowdown in the digestion of the stomach and constipation are supportive for diagnosis. Changes in the menstural cycle occur due to weight loss. Drugs that cause weight loss cause conditions such as cardiac arrhythmia and potassium deficiency are determinants for diagnosis.

Anorexia Nervosa Treatment Process

The treatment of anorexia nervosa is a long and challenging psychological disorder. Individuals’ willingness to start treatment is very low. These people usually apply to health institutions because of the health problems they have. Since malnutrition is damaging to the body, the body’s first reactions direct them to health care facilities.

Anorexia individuals are fragile both physically and emotionally.. Therefore, it is very important for the person to establish a secure connection with his / her doctor.

 Whenever the individual starts to trust his / her doctor, he / she will start to respond to the treatment.

 Even the patient being supervised in the hospital prevents the response to treatment if there is no trust relationship. The doctor should maintain a continuous relationship with the patient and the patient’s immediate environment. Thus, it will be possible to complete the process correctly and fluently as they will have a guide in the treatment process.

Anorexia nervosa is usually associated with depression. Therapist should listen to the patient’s story in detail and the most appropriate treatment should be prepared individually. Treatment of eating disorders should be multifaceted. Nutritionists, psychiatrists and psychologists should conduct a joint study on the subject. Both the patient and his / her environment should motivate each other to complete the diet program prepared by the nutritionist.

Thanks to the medications that the psychiatrist will offer to the patient, one can get away from depression and moody mood. In addition, he / she can feel positive and generate positive thoughts about treatment. ,

With the support of psychologists, emotional conflicts, conflicts, and concerns can resolved one by one.

The sustainability of the treatment increases with the resolution of conflicts that the person experiences consciously or unconsciously. This increases the chances of success in a collaborative treatment process.

The longer the anorexia neurosis, the more damage the person creates.

In case of long-term inadequate nutrient intake, serious problems may occur in metabolism.

If the patient falls below her normal weight in less than 3 months, inpatient treatment is the best option.

The most important issue in the treatment of anorexia neurosis is to provide continuity. Treatment can continue for months. In this case, the team working with the patient should be motivating and have a positive attitude. As it is not easy to ensure continuity for the patient, there is a constant need for high motivation with an external factor.


About the Author
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Marilyn Walker
Marilyn Walker
I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.
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