Anorexia Treatment and Recovery

They say, as the humans develop in a respective field, more trouble arise for them to counter. So is with the field of medical, with each ephemeral day we hear about some new fangled yet very atypical medical terms. We are not familiar with those terms, but this does not mean that it is a new illness discovered; in fact it is lack of information and knowledge that we are completely unaware of the disease. One such disease which has emerged as a stern quandary in last two decades is anorexia nervosa. Probably most of the people are not familiar with what does this mean. The main reason due to which we are not eloquent how fatal or somber anorexia nervosa is the fact that it is regarded as a fashion in fact of being considered as a serious disorder.


Anorexia nervosa is fundamentally the disorder whereby an individual resists consuming food, due to the fear of getting fat or gaining extra weight. This might be a bolt from the blue for some people but this is what is happening these days. It is assumed that this disorder started from Europe and has now spread to most parts f the world. A simpler term to define clearly, anorexia nervosa is “Self Starvation”. People suffering from anorexia are more than just “slimness obsessed individuals”. This is because the obscenity turns into a major problem. The word anorexia comes from Greek language which mean “to loose appetite”. However, this is solely not true as the “loosing of appetite” only appears after a long time. In start it is just the urge or obscenity of an individual to remain slim.

In general the physicians and doctors, normally use 4 simple points to discover is an individual is passing through the disorder of anorexia nervosa or not. The four key points are:

• Fear/Obsession: The first point to decide whether an individual is a victim of anorexia nervosa is to see if they have a fear of growing fat, even though they are not maintaining the average weight required for that age and body.
• Meeting Standards: The next point which helps to decide about anorexia nervosa is to determine if the individual is marinating 15% less then average weight required for the respective body, shape and age.
• Vague Intuition: The next point is to see if the individual thinks that his body is not in proper shape, or if they recognize a single or few parts of their body out of shape.
• Menstrual Cycles: Perhaps the easiest or the most vital point which can help a physician to know if a woman is passing through anorexia nervosa is the disturbance in woman’s menstrual cycles. Usually these women miss at least three of their menstrual cycles. They only get the cycles going if they take hormones.


In end, it is clear that anorexia nervosa is more of a “prized disease”. Women, especially in U.S.A and Europe prefer to stay slim as a part of beauty standards. However, one should know that even if you are passing through anorexia nervosa, there still are enormous chances that you can recover 100% and live a normal life again.
 

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women, and extremely disturbed eating behavior. Some people with anorexia lose weight by dieting and exercising excessively; others lose weight by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas.

Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight, even when they are starved or are clearly malnourished. Eating, food and weight control become obsessions. A person with anorexia typically weighs herself or himself repeatedly, portions food carefully, and eats only very small quantities of only certain foods. Some who have anorexia recover with treatment after only one episode. Others get well but have relapses. Still others have a more chronic form of anorexia, in which their health deteriorates over many years as they battle the illness.

According to some studies, people with anorexia are up to ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness compared to those without the disorder. The most common complications that lead to death are cardiac arrest, and electrolyte and fluid imbalances. Suicide also can result.

Many people with anorexia also have coexisting psychiatric and physical illnesses, including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, substance abuse, cardiovascular and neurological complications, and impaired physical development.

Other symptoms may develop over time, including:

* thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
* brittle hair and nails
* dry and yellowish skin
* growth of fine hair over body (e.g., lanugo)
* mild anemia, and muscle weakness and loss
* severe constipation
* low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
* drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
* lethargy

TREATING ANOREXIA involves three components:

1. restoring the person to a healthy weight;
2. treating the psychological issues related to the eating disorder; and
3. reducing or eliminating behaviors or thoughts that lead to disordered eating, and preventing relapse.

Some research suggests that the use of medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers, may be modestly effective in treating patients with anorexia by helping to resolve mood and anxiety symptoms that often co-exist with anorexia. Recent studies, however, have suggested that antidepressants may not be effective in preventing some patients with anorexia from relapsing. In addition, no medication has shown to be effective during the critical first phase of restoring a patient to healthy weight. Overall, it is unclear if and how medications can help patients conquer anorexia, but research is ongoing.

Different forms of psychotherapy, including individual, group and family-based, can help address the psychological reasons for the illness. Some studies suggest that family-based therapies in which parents assume responsibility for feeding their afflicted adolescent are the most effective in helping a person with anorexia gain weight and improve eating habits and moods.

Shown to be effective in case studies and clinical trials, this particular approach is discussed in some guidelines and studies for treating eating disorders in younger, nonchronic patients.

Others have noted that a combined approach of medical attention and supportive psychotherapy designed specifically for anorexia patients is more effective than just psychotherapy. But the effectiveness of a treatment depends on the person involved and his or her situation. Unfortunately, no specific psychotherapy appears to be consistently effective for treating adults with anorexia. However, research into novel treatment and prevention approaches is showing some promise. One study suggests that an online intervention program may prevent some at-risk women from developing an eating disorder.

This publication is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from NIMH. We encourage you to reproduce it and use it in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated.

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