Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is an eating disorder and also a psychological illness. The cause of anorexia has not been expertly established but self-esteem and body image plays a huge part in this condition. Anorexia affects females far more than males and is common in adolescent females between the ages of 14 and 21. The socioeconomic class that is most affected by anorexia tends to be the middle and upper ranges and Caucasians are more affected than minorities.

The anorexic sufferer has a continuing cycle of obstructive eating and that may also include excessive exercising and the misuse of diet pills to encourage appetite suppression. Laxatives as well as diuretics and enemas may also be used extensively to lessen body weight. The end result is near starvation. Anorexia is a control issue and an obsession, as well as an addictive behavior.

Risks and Complications

Experts in the study of anorexia claim that people for whom thinness is desirable or a professional requirement are at high risk for eating disorders. These people include gymnasts, wrestlers and jockeys as well as models, dancers and actors.

Young women with anorexia often display obsessive behaviors and may become fanatical about food. Food disorders are similar to other addictions as young women try to desperately control their food consumption and weight.

Adolescents and young girls in college are at risk for slowing growth and development and extreme dieting and weight loss leads to a fatal degree of malnutrition.

With severe anorexia there are complications of heart rhythm disturbances and digestive abnormalities. There is also bone density loose, anemia and hormonal imbalances. Many young women who are anorexic complain of fatigue and a low threshold of energy.

Health care professionals present the facts about the danger of anorexia and other eating disorders through education and trying to make the public aware of this condition.


To fully treat someone with anorexia you need to gather all the information you can from those around her/him who many give you tips about what is actually going on. There are medications that can help, but these just treat the symptoms and ignore the mental anguish that may be the underlying cause of this eating disorder.

Treating anorexia focuses on more than just weight loss and gain and involves the individual; family and group psychotherapies and nutritional counseling to bring the patient back from the brink of malnutrition.

The best form of treatment for anorexia has been found to be family therapy. The family needs to aggressively take part in helping their little one accomplish a more healthy weight and attitude.


The prognosis or outcome of anorexia nervosa is highly variable. There are some who will make a full recovery while others will have a pattern of weight gain and relapse. Health problems will probably be an issue and deteriorating mental activities is definitely possible.

Anorexia is an addictive behavior. Every day efforts to control the urge to relapse are needed and most treatments are given on a long term basis.

There is increased research in understanding the causes and treatments for anorexia nervosa and foundations are seeking funding for this disorder. However, at this point in time the best medicine is love and understanding, and a bit of magic.



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