Anorexia Nervosa (Fear Of Gaining Weight) – Symptoms And Treatment
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which has both physical and emotional implications. Anorexic persons weigh below normal; they self-inflict eating limits – if not starvation, because of the distorted image they see everytime they look in the mirror. Anorexia can even become a chronic disease, not to mention that if it becomes long term, it will lead to severe health damage and eventually death. Even if the causes of anorexia are not yet clear, it is safe to asume that the influences are of biological, psychological and social nature. The increased level of serotonin is believed to lead towards anorexic behaviour such as social isolation and starvation. Recent studies have shown that social factors are to be taken into consideration; peer-pressure, anorexic family member or a huge dissapointment.
Anorexia Nervosa symptoms:
- Self-inflicted eating limits;
- Fear of gaining weight even though the person in cause weighs below normal;
- Avoiding subjects concerning nutrition disorders;
- Hiding food;
- Inducing vomit
- Frail hair, dry skin and fragile nails
- Low blood pressure
- Lack of menstruation
- Edema present on hands and feet
Anorexic persons also develop strange habits:
- Exagerated mastication of food
- Loss of apetite
- Usage of laxatives or induced vomiting in order to lose weight
- Exagerated work-outs
The treatment shall be completed with the help of the personal physician, nutritionist and psychiatrist. The main goals are reestablishment of normal weight, raised self-esteem and an ideal nutritional plan.
Psychological Counseling – Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a good approach in treating anorexia. It helps pacients learn how to change their attitude and behaviour towards food.
Nutritionial advice – it is very important in treating anorexic patient. The dietician helps compose a suitable diet and lures the pacient away from counting all callories towards eating in a relaxed and calm ambient.Providing about 40 kcal/kg/day, can produce weight gains of 1.5 kg/wk during inpatient care. Malnourished patients require nasogastric feedings. Loss of bone mass should be treated with elemental Ca 1200 to 1500 mg/day, vitamin D 600 to 800 IU/day, and, if severe, a bisphosphonate. The goal is to weekly gain weight until it reaches to a normal limit and then maintain it. Nutritional supplements are sometimes included in diets but should not be taken unless recommended strictly by the dietician.