What is Anorexia Nervosa?
It’s an eating disorder in which a person refuses to eat adequately in spite of hunger. The weight loss is continuous and can lead to death. The illness usually begins with a normal weight-loss diet.
In this illness, the body perception is distorted. A person always sees self as "fat", even when weight is normal or much less than that.
Who are most affected?
Female adolescents and young adults.
Risk increases with:
- Peer pressure to be thin.
- History of slight overweight.
- Perfectionist, compulsive or overachieving personalities.
- Psychological stress.
- Athletes, ballet dancers, cheerleaders.
How does it Progress - Treatable if the patient recognizes the emotional disturbance, wants help and cooperates in treatment.
Without treatment, this can cause permanent disability or even death. Persons with anorexia nervosa have a high rate of attempted suicide due to low self-esteem.
In long term cases, therapy may continue over several years. Relapses are common, especially when stressful situations occur.
How to Treat it?
- The goal of treatment is for the patient to establish healthy eating patterns to regain normal weight. The patient can accomplish this with behavior-modification training supervised by a qualified professional.
- Diet - A controlled refeeding program will be established. Vitamin and mineral supplements may be prescribed.
- Medications- Appetite stimulants and mood stabilizing medication is given.