Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a psychological eating disorder in which a person restricts their calories intake in extreme fear of gaining weight, considering the fact that they are already underweight. Such individuals are extensively concerned about their weight and have a strong fear of becoming fat. This is because they usually equate their weight with their self-worth.
They think that their fat body image might decrease their self-worth among others and people may start judging them in negative ways. Such mentality develops a huge fear in those people and causes them to make a life-threatening lifestyle choice by avoiding foods, skipping meals, starving for long and even purging all the food out after a meal. To mention, AN is named as a mental condition which has the highest mortality rate .
The effort of people with AN is not limited to avoiding foods. They perform excessive exercises in a fear of not gaining weight which directly interferes with their health. AN is basically an act of self-starvation and a body-obsessed disorder. Some people with AN also develops a habit of counting the calories in foods without any known intention of eating them.
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According to the National Eating Disorder Association, there are around 70 million people worldwide who are suffering from AN and among these, the count of women is ten times more than a man as the prior is more sensitive to criticism related to their body shape. Also, one out of every 200 women is diagnosed with this eating disorder and, sadly, the symptoms among females usually develops when they are just teenagers.Types Of Anorexia Nervosa
Ther are two types of AN.
The three main causes of AN are as follows:
1. Environmental: In the present scenario, modern western culture is given very high importance. This culture often equates thinness with the self-worth and demotivates people who don't fit in their 'good body' criteria. Due to such social and cultural pressures, people often lose their self-esteem and develop AN. Other social factors contributing to AN are as follows:
2. Psychological: Low self-esteem is the main cause of psychological AN . Such people often feel that they are worthless among others and thus, try to lose their body weight extensively to make their place among the crowd. Losing weight actually gives them a feeling of achievement and they think that being appreciated by others due to their good body shape will improve their self-worth. Other psychological factors adding up to the cause of AN are as follows:
3. Biological: There are several studies going on to find out which gene is involved for developing AN but it is believed that people who have a family history of eating disorders and depression are more prone to developing AN. Due to unknown changes in their gene, their brain functions and hormone levels are affected which are responsible for causing anxiety, controlling appetite, giving out sense to be a perfectionist and perseverance, all traits being associated with AN.
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There's a combination of symptoms associated with AN. They are either physical, psychological/emotional or behavioural.1. Physical
A proper diet is key to prevent all diseases but when people start avoiding food to stay thin, a lot of health issues develop. Several risk factors develop later due to AN. They are as follows:
AN is diagnosed through the following.
Other tests include ECG to check for the irregularity in heartbeats and CT scan to check for signs of kidney and stomach abnormalities.Treatment Of Anorexia Nervosa
Treatment of AN does not take place in a single go. It requires a team of medical experts; doctors, psychologists and dieticians who are experts in treating this food disorder by therapy, as the treatment for AN is only available for the risks associated with the condition like kidney failure, irregular heartbeat, etc. To mention, people with AN can recover but the therapy is time-taking as it requires a medical expert to completely change their belief on foods which they had for a long period.
1. Psychological treatment: It involves the following:
2. Emergency treatments: This type of treatment takes place when the patient lands in immediate danger due to AN. For example, they may become unconscious due to low diet, dehydration, heart rhythm disturbance and electrolyte imbalances.
3. Medications: To treat some of its symptoms like antidepressants for anxiety and medications to treat abdominal painTips To Deal With Anorexia Nervosa