People who are too concerned about their body weight and shape that they eat too little food may be suffering from anorexia nervosa. It’s an eating disorder that’s seriously detrimental to health. In fact, it’s a mental disorder with the highest mortality rate, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Anorexia nervosa treatment centers stress that proper treatment is necessary to manage the symptoms and avoid its complications.
What is It?
Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders in the U.S. Both male and female can suffer from this condition, although it’s most common in teenagers or people in young adulthood stage.
Those who have anorexia often see themselves as overweight, when in fact, they are already underweight. As a result, they eat very little amounts of food or even starve themselves, and exercise excessively.
Signs and Symptoms
Below are the physical symptoms of anorexia:
- Underweight, poor weight gain or extreme weight loss
- Brittle nails and hair strands
- Missed periods
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Thin appearance
- Depression and anxiety
Treatment should begin as soon as possible to correct all nutritional imbalances and treat the mental disorder. When left untreated, an anorexic person could suffer from multi-organ failure, brain damage, heart problems and stroke.
Treatment centers provide a variety of methods to manage its symptoms. Psychotherapy is proven an effective approach to treating anorexia. This could be a family-based therapy, wherein the parents or family members will be responsible in feeding the patient. To help the patient overcome inaccurate bodyweight and shape perceptions, a cognitive behavioral therapy may also be introduced.
Medications approved by the FDA may also be used, especially if there’s a co-occurring condition like anxiety or depression. It’s important to note, though, that anorexia nervosa patients also need nutritional counseling and close monitoring for the treatment to be successful.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious disorder that could cost a patient his or her life. Treatment is important so that a person could overcome the distorted perception on body weight and physical appearance and improve eating habits.