What You Should Know About Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder, that makes individuals lose more weight than what is considered healthy for their height and age. It affects men and women of all ages.

This disorder can damage your health and is even life threatening. Let’s find our more about anorexia nervosa and what to do about it.

What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that has 3 key features and 2 types:

Key Features:

  • extreme fear of gaining weight and refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
  • misconstrued body image
  • unable to maintain a healthy body weight

1. Purging type of anorexia – Use of laxatives and inducing vomiting to achieve weight loss.
2. Restricting type of anorexia – The person follows a diet; restricting calories, fasting and excessive exercising.

Physical symptoms

– Excessive weight loss
– Thin appearance
– Fainting or dizziness
– Fatigue
– Low blood pressure
– Insomnia
– Dry mouth
– Loss of body fat
– Yellow or blotchy skin (dry skin and covered with fine hair)
– Slow thinking, poor judgment and memory

Behavioral and Emotional Symptoms:

– Denial of hunger symptoms
– Too much preoccupation with food
– Refusal to eat
– Extreme fear of weight gain
– Irritability
– Social withdrawal
– Depression


Anorexia involves both body and mind, therefore a team approach to treatment is the best. For the medical treatment, this may include doctors, counselors, psychologists and nutritionists. Also the involvement and support of family members can make a big difference in a successful treatment. That and having a team that you can trust and rely on, will make recovery somewhat easier.

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Treating anorexia involves three steps:

– The first step is getting back to the normal healthy weight
– Second step is to start eating more food
– The third step is changing your mindset; how you think about food and yourself.

The above steps can be further explain with the below.

1. Medical treatment

The most important step in the treatment of anorexia, is to address and stabilize any health issues. If the person is distressed or extremely malnourished, hospitalization is needed. Outpatient treatment is only an option, when the individual is not in immediate medical danger.

2. Nutritional treatment

Nutritional treatment is the second step in the treatment of anorexia. This will involve a dietician or nutritionist, that will help teach the individual about proper nutrition and healthy eating. This will include developing and following meal plans, to reach and maintain a normal, healthy weight.

3. Counseling and therapy

The third step for anorexia treatment is counseling. This is proven to be the most crucial step, as the goal is to identify the negative feelings and thoughts that ignite your eating disorder. The goal is to  replace them with the right and healthier beliefs. But the most important goal is to teach you on dealing with stress, difficult emotions and relationship problems, in a productive and not self-destructive way.

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