Getting too fat or fear of gaining weight, this is what worries a person suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. It is this fear that makes him or her do two extreme things: not eat enough and exercise too much. A person anorexia nervosa also has a distorted image oh his or her body. Even if the body is thin or too thin already, the person believes otherwise. What he or she sees in the mirror is a fat body, even if in reality his or her body is already very thin.
What Is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia Nervosa is defined by medical experts primarily as an eating disorder. Doctors say that this disorder affects the mind and the body of the person with anorexia nervosa. Since this type of condition also affects the mind, it is also considered a mental illness. Research suggests that of all the mental illnesses, anorexia nervosa has the highest number of death cases. In fact, statistics shows that out of all reported anorexia nervosa cases, 5% to 20% of the patients eventually die from it. For this very reason, anorexia nervosa is a serious illness that needs proper medical intervention.
How Anorexia Nervosa Develops
This eating disorder or condition generally starts during the teenage years. Normally, it begins as a simple extra conscientiousness of one’s own body. Most teenagers are very conscious about how they look, and this is just normal. However, for some teenagers, things take a dangerous turn and become more than just normal desire to look good, and things start to get out of control. Teenagers suffering from anorexia nervosa may begin to do crash diets, just so they will attain their desired weight or size. Since the condition is not normal, the dieting turns into an obsession. In extreme cases, people with anorexia nervosa suffer from multiple organ failures as a result of starvation. In the process of starving the body, major organs suffer such as the kidney, the heart, and the bones. The heart, for instance, because it does not get the nourishment it needs, slowly loses muscle mass. This loss in muscle mass makes it too weak to pump blood. Because of the inability of the heart to function, all other bodily functions are affected. When not treated, anorexia nervosa can be fatal.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For
The warning sign to watch out for is when a person believes that he or she is fat even though in truth it is the contrary. Another thing to watch out for is when a person is very thin and weighs very much below the normal. People with anorexia are also obsessed with exercise, and they exercise a lot. One more thing to watch out for in people you suspect to have anorexia is when they use laxatives and/or diuretics in order to control their weight.
Can Anorexia Be Treated?
Yes, but only with proper medical intervention. For this reason it is very important for the person with the condition to consult a doctor. One challenge though for the people who may have friends or family members with anorexia, normally the patients or the people with this condition deny that they have a problem. This is because their brains are telling them differently (precisely why this is considered also as a mental illness more than an eating disorder). Don’t be discouraged; continue to offer your help and offer to accompany them to the doctor. Hopefully they will say yes because then and only then will they be helped properly by the experts.