Join Date: November 20, 2004
Location: Las Vegas
you need to scroll down past the two quotes to my story!
Signs and symptoms:
She was afraid to eat. She lost 25% of her body weight.
She strove for perfection. Her sexual desires disappeared.
She had angry outbursts. She stopped having her periods.
She felt isolated. She was always cold.
She desired control. She felt weak.
She denied her hunger. Fine hairs grew on her entire body.
She was depressed. She suffered from insomnia.
She had a distorted body image. Her heartbeat was irregular.
She craved attention. She almost died.
The behavioral warning signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa are
Avoidance of eating
Denies feeling hungry
Avoids social gatherings where food is involved
Develops food rituals that allow for eating very little: eats in secrecy, eats foods in a certain order, excessive chewing, rearranges food on the plate, eats unnaturally small amounts of food
Dramatic weight loss
Refuses to maintain the minimal normal body weight for age and height
Denies the serious consequences of low body weight
Obsession with dieting and weight loss
Weighs self several times a day and focuses on the smallest fluctuation in weight
Terrified of gaining weight or being fat
Even when thin, sees self as overweight
Bases self-worth on body weight and body image
Excessive focus on an exercise regimen
How is anorexia different from bulimia?
The classic form of anorexia (restricting type) involves weight loss through self-starvation and excessive exercise. In another form of anorexia, the individual not only cuts calories, but also behaves similarly to the bulimic: bingeing on foods, and then purging. With the symptoms of both anorexia and bulimia, an individual is considered to have anorexia of the Binge-Eating/Purging type.
Who is likely to suffer from anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is more common in females and usually begins in adolescence. Between 1% and 2% of all females develop anorexia. Less than 1% of males develops anorexia nervosa. The disorder is more common in industrialized countries where thinness is a positive cultural trait. A person with a family member who has anorexia is more likely to develop anorexia.
What are the effects of anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa can have severe medical consequences. Because the anorexic individual does not consume enough calories or nutrients to support the maintenance and growth of the body, all body processes slow down, to conserve energy. This slowing down has serious physical, emotional, and behavioral effects.
Loss of menstrual periods
Dry, brittle bones due to significant bone density loss (osteoporosis)
Dry, brittle nails and hair; or hair loss
Lowered resistance to illness
Hypersensitivity to heat and cold
Appears to need less sleep than normal eaters
Digestive problems such as bloating or constipation
Muscle loss and weakness
Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure
Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness
Eventual growth of a downy layer of hair (lanugo) all over the body, including the face (the body is trying to stay warm)
In severe cases: heart trouble, low blood pressure, low heart rate, low body temperature, poor circulation, anemia, stunted growth, and even death
Emotional and Behavioral Effects
Difficulty in concentrating on anything else except weight
Isolation from family and friends
Emotional regression to a child-like state
Feelings of guilt and depression
Dependence upon alcohol or drugs to handle the negative outlook
What causes anorexia?
Research about the causes of anorexia is not definitive, and no one yet knows the exact cause. A combination of biological, social, and psychological factors may cause anorexia.
Some research indicates that higher levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (a brain chemical) make the individual withdraw socially and have less desire for food. However, the higher level of serotonin may be a result of the anorexia, rather than a cause.
Individuals may have a genetic predisposition for anorexia. Individuals with anorexia often have family members with the disorder.
The cultural or social environment may cause or reinforce a propensity toward anorexia. Particular professions (fashion model, horse jockey) and sports (ballet, gymnastics) emphasize thinness and low body weight. Female athletes are particularly prone to being anorexic. Coaches may encourage them to lose weight, and they may notice improved performance with some weight loss. However, the anorexic does not know when to stop losing weight, and, ultimately, hinders performance by not consuming enough calories or nutrients to fuel the body.
Some cultures value thinness as a key element of attractiveness, especially for women. Thus, social pressure is a cause of anorexia.
Families that are overprotective or emphasize overachievement or physical fitness often produce anorexic family members.
Psychological and emotional causes
Some personality traits are associated with anorexia: perfectionism, obsessiveness, approval-seeking, low self-esteem, withdrawal, irritability, and black-or-white (all-or-nothing) thinking.
Major life events may trigger anorexia: life transitions, emotional upsets, or sexual or physical abuse.
Mental health experts think that the feelings of being overwhelmed and powerless in adolescence can bring about a desire to maintain control in some realm of life, such as control of body weight. Being in total control of what enters the mouth can give the adolescent a feeling of powerfulness. Thus, the period of adolescence may cause anorexia to manifest itself.
Other (combination) causes
Relational or early life trauma (sometimes called developmental trauma) affects the brain, which in turn can impact both biology and psychology. Symptoms can include obsessive, compulsive eating disorders like anorexia.
What should you do if you suspect anorexia in yourself or others?
Because anorexia nervosa can result in death, and because so many sufferers deny that they have a problem, it is incumbent upon others to take action. The sooner that someone takes action, the better, because the length of time that a person continues with the disorder is related to the chance of death. The body slowly quits functioning. Early treatment is essential.
What is the treatment for anorexia?
Treatment for anorexia involves both the body and the mind. Early treatment for anorexia involves behavioral techniques, psychotherapy for improved self-esteem, and a variety of approaches including nutritional therapy, massage, and relaxation exercises.
Treatment of anorexics is especially difficult because these individuals are resistant to getting help. More than 95% of anorexics deny that they have a problem and view treatment as an attempt to "make them fat." They believe that their low body weight is the solution, not the problem. This means that those who are close to the anorexic individual must take an active role in getting help. They may need to accompany the anorexic to appointments to make sure that the anorexic's behaviors are adequately described.
When a person with suspected anorexia consults a doctor for diagnosis and treatment, the doctor first makes sure that endocrine, metabolic, and central nervous system disorders do not explain the apparent weight loss. They do a physical exam and take a physical history. In an anorexic individual, the physical problems are usually the result of not eating.
Early treatment is essential. The effects of anorexia on the mind and body are severe. Not only does the anorexic look and feel awful, but also the disorder can be life-threatening. Treatment works best before too much weight is lost. Weight held at a low level for a long time gives a poor prognosis for recovery.
First treatment: restoration of body weight and eating patterns
The first order of treatment is to restore normal body weight and eating patterns. Along with weight gain comes improved body functioning. After the body weight is stabilized, treatment can progress to dealing with the psychological and physical problems that are a result of not eating.
A dietician can be instrumental in guiding the anorexic individual to better eating habits. Sound nutrition can repair the weakened body.
Therapy can address the need for increased self-esteem. Therapy helps the individual to see that they are not really overweight.
Support groups are helpful, but because anorexics deny their problem, they may be unwilling to attend support groups.
Sometimes family therapy is the best approach.
Medications as treatment
Medications do not cure anorexia, but anti-depressant drugs may be prescribed for the depression and anxiety that often accompany anorexia.
Timing of treatment is critical
Left untreated, anorexia can cause irreversible physical damage. In addition, anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any mental disorder: 5-20% of those with anorexia nervosa will die. The period of time of self-starvation is the critical factor for survival. Anorexia is a lifelong illness and relapses are common: 40% of anorexics recover, 30% improve, and 30% have significant problems with anorexia throughout their lives.
Online resources for Anorexia
Anorexia Nervosa, from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, is an excellent, straightforward article about the symptoms, prognosis, and treatment of anorexia.
Anorexia Nervosa, from the U.S. National Eating Disorders Association, gives extensive information about the signs, symptoms, and effects of anorexia.
Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia is an easy-to-understand article from the Nemours Foundation, written for teens. The article discusses symptoms, effects, and treatment.
Additional online resources
Skeletal Effects of Anorexia is a thorough discussion of anorexia's effects on bone loss and its resulting complications. This article is from the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases division of the National Institutes of Health.
Female Athlete Triad, from the Nemours Foundation and written for teens, describes a triad of symptoms that are common in females who are trying to improve their performance in sports. Disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis are the three elements of Female Athlete Triad. The article discusses signs, symptoms, and treatment, as well as what the individual and others can do to halt and remedy the disorder.
Trauma's Many Faces describes a wide range of symptoms caused by inadequate, but not necessarily abusive, primary relationships in early life. These distressing early life events affect the brain and could contribute to anorexia.
Okay you are probably thinking "why is she posting this. Spammer!" well there is a reason. now that i have posted these to articals my question is. could i be anorexic?
I am on medication to help me with a pre-existing seizure disorder. well when i started the medication its like i turned into a balloon, fat started building up in my body. and ive been on the medication for a year now, and i eat when i get hungry, but the problem is, im not hungry that much any more. I used to eat 3 full meals and a snack after school (usually a fruit) and now i get by on a soda at lunch and a grilled cheese sand which when ever my stomach growls wich isn't often.
I went to the Neurologist March 9 and i weighed 179. well i steped on the scale at school today (March 18 ) and i weigh 170 even. both are the exact same scale types made by the same company and they were both calibrated because they were electric. and they both stood on level ground that was hard wood floors.
I haven't been able to sleep lately, doc says its insomnia.
I was diagnosed with Bi Polor a couple of years ago.
I take a blanket to school with me. my body temperature is out of wack.
For some no reason what so ever i will blow in anger at some one i was laughing with 5 seconds ago!
i don't know what to do, the doctors said that i was fine (did test and blood samples and skin samples) and that my body is changing rapidly and that i am going through a fase.
But i cant manage to keep food down. when i eat about 20 mins later i vomit (not force just happens)
I cant run but for a short period of time w/out needing to stop. My lungs are week, i have to take a breath after every other note in band! <unusually because in 7th grade i could play half a song on one breath.
So do you think the docs are wrong and that there is something wrong, or do you think im just normal like the docs say.
This has been going on for quite some time now.
i odn't know what to do. every one says theres nothing wrong!
Send away for a priceless gift, on not subtle, one not on the list send away for a perfect world one not simply so absurd In these times of doing what your told you keep these feelings, no one knows What ever happened to the young man\'s heart Swallowed by pain as he slowly fell apart And I\'m staring down the barrel of a 45 Swimming through the ashes of another life No real reason to accept the way things have changed starring down the barrel of a 45....... <<My Fav song >>