Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is a medical condition that affects teenagers and young adults globally. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide. People with anorexia have a distorted social life, which can affect their general well-being. This post will discuss more of anorexia symptoms and signs, causes, and how to treat it.
Satori Health is a mental health treatment center in the San Fernando Valley. Contact us today to learn more about available treatment options.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted self-image, and a severe reduction in the amount of food consumed. People with anorexia have an intense desire to lose weight and a distorted perception of their body weight and shape. As a result, they often limit the amount of food they eat, engage in excessive exercise, or use other methods to lose weight. This can lead to malnutrition, weakness, and other serious health problems, including heart, digestion, kidney problems, brittle bones, and even death. The condition is more prevalent in young women but can affect people of any gender, age, race, or ethnicity. Anorexia has physical and psychological symptoms, including low body weight, malnutrition, fatigue, irritability, and depression.
What Are the Signs of Anorexia?
One of the significant signs of anorexia is starvation. There are also some behavioral and emotional issues associated with anorexia that give the individual an unrealistic perception of body shape and weight. It may be complicated to identify anorexia symptoms because low body weight differs for each person. Some common anorexia symptoms and signs include:
- Extreme weight loss: The person may weigh much less than is healthy for their age and height.
- Food restriction: People may limit their food intake, eat tiny portions, or avoid certain food groups (such as carbohydrates).
- Intense fear of gaining weight: The person may have an intense fear of gaining weight, even when they are underweight.
- Body dysmorphia: The person may have a distorted body image and see themselves as overweight, even when they are not.
- Ritualistic eating behaviors: The person may engage in ritualistic behaviors around food, such as counting calories, cutting food into small pieces, or hiding food.
- Irregular or absent menstrual cycles: Women with anorexia may stop having periods due to low body fat levels.
- Fatigue and weakness: The person may feel tired and weak due to the lack of nutrients in their diet.
- Depression and anxiety: The person may experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, which the stress of their eating disorder can exacerbate.
- Social withdrawal: The person may become isolated and withdraw from friends and family, due to shame about their eating habits.
These symptoms and signs of anorexia can vary in severity, and it is essential to seek medical help if you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from anorexia.
The exact causes of this medical condition are unknown. However, biological, psychological, and environmental factors can cause anorexia. Those who tend toward perfectionism are often at a higher risk of developing anorexia. Peer pressure and Western culture may fuel the desire to stick to a particular diet to remain thin.
How to Treat Anorexia
Anorexia is a serious mental illness that requires professional treatment. The treatment approach for anorexia usually involves a combination of the following:
- Psychological therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family-based therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy are some of the most effective forms of psychological therapy for treating anorexia. These therapies help individuals understand and change the negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their eating disorders.
- Nutrition education and support: People with anorexia often have a distorted body image and a fear of gaining weight. A registered dietitian or nutritionist can help them develop a healthy relationship with food and learn about balanced nutrition.
- Medical intervention: People with anorexia may require medical treatment to address physical complications, such as electrolyte imbalances, heart problems, and malnutrition.
- Medication: In some cases, psychiatric medications may be prescribed to treat anorexia and related conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
How to Find Eating Disorder and Anorexia Treatment in Los Angeles
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, including anorexia, it is vital to seek professional help. Many specialized eating disorder treatment centers offer comprehensive care, including therapy, nutrition education, and medical monitoring. A doctor can diagnose an eating disorder and recommend appropriate treatment options. Sometimes, they can refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist.
At Satori Health, we provide a safe and supportive environment for people with eating disorders to share their experiences and receive encouragement and advice from others. We offer individualized care as everybody’s severity level differs, evidence-based therapies, and behavioral treatment to treat anorexia and other mental illnesses.
With proper treatment, recovery is possible. Remember that recovery requires commitment, patience, and support from loved ones and healthcare professionals like us.Contact us today to learn more about our Los Angeles mental health treatment programs.