Anorexia Nervosa - Causes, Signs and Treatment

By: Peter sams

Anorexia nervosa is a kind of reverse addiction: an addiction to not eating. And like many addicts, anorexics deny having a problem. They see themselves as healthy, but others see the terrible damage to body and mind that anorexia causes. Like addiction, though, anorexia can be confronted and reversed. Most anorexics, if helped in a timely fashion, overcome their condition and regain their health.
Anorexia Nervosa Causes
A variety of psychological, genetic, biological, developmental, and societal factors may contribute to developing this syndrome. Anorexia nervosa may be encouraged because of our society's emphasis on thinness, especially in women.
&bullYou may have some genetic risk toward developing it.
&bullSome evidence suggests differences in brain chemicals in those who develop anorexia.
&bull A combination of certain personality traits (such as low self-confidence along with perfectionism) and cultural and social pressures can play a part in anorexia.
&bull For some teens, anorexia may be a way of coping with stress and the challenges of the teen years. Stressful life events, such as moving, divorce, or the death of a loved one, can trigger anorexia.
One of the problems in determining which traits may cause anorexia nervosa is that the weight loss itself causes certain psychological disturbances to develop.

These may include depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, obsessive thinking, feelings of inadequacy, social withdrawal, and personality changes. Thus, some of the traits that occur in anorexia nervosa may be a result, rather than a cause, of the disorder.
Warning signs of anorexia
If you think that your loved one might be in danger from anorexia, here are some warning signs to watch out for.
&bullIs she losing a lot of weight? Has she fallen 7 pounds below the normal weight range for someone of her height?
&bullIs she becoming an obsessive calorie-counter? Does she eat only very low-calorie foods, like salad and fruit?
&bullIs she becoming secretive or evasive about her eating habits? Does she eat out of sight or in private?
Possible Causes of Eating Disorders
Not every person with an eating disorder will have all of these contributing factors. However, the following are suspected contributors to eating disorders.
&bullPressures from family or friends to be thin
&bullPressure to be thin as depicted in pop culture on magazines and movies
&bullPoor self-image and self-confidence
&bullBelief that being thin will make them more popular or appealing
Treatment
Psychological counseling.

A counselor will help you develop your own plan to use new coping and stress management skills and prevent relapse. Your counselor can help you at those times when it is hard to stick to healthy ways of thinking about food and your body. Family therapy can also help your family members support your recovery.

Psychotherapy
&bullIndividual psychotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for anorexia nervosa, especially for people who are beyond adolescence and who are not living at home. Individual therapy provides a safe place to learn how to identify concerns, solve problems, overcome fears, and test new skills.
Nutritional therapy
A dietitian offers guidance on a healthy diet. A dietitian can provide specific meal plans and calorie requirements to help meet weight goals. In severe cases, people with anorexia may require feeding through a tube that's placed in their nose and goes to the stomach (nasogastric tube).

Eating Disorders
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