What is Anorexia Nervosa? What are the Symptoms? How Is It Treated?
There are thousands of factors affecting people today. People are generally influenced by their environment in many ways, including clothing, eating, drinking, and speaking. Fashion trends can be given as an example of this. Most people's wardrobes are overflowing. This is the main reason for unnecessary and costly clothes, jewelry, and shoes bought to keep fashion. At the same time, the clothes presented under the name of fashion do not appeal to everyone. People over a certain weight become depressed because they cannot keep up with most fashion trends and resort to methods such as dangerous weight-loss diets, not eating or drinking to keep up with the trend. A disease that arises due to psychological and environmental factors stands out: Anorexia Nervosa.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological disorder that has the potential to be seen in every human being. This disorder, which is seen in adolescence, is the nightmare of parents of young individuals. This disorder, usually seen between the ages of 12-20, is more common in women than men. One out of every thousand women has this psychological disorder. They usually fall below the average weight limit abnormally because they see themselves as overweight and try to lose weight. They refuse to eat, lock themselves in their rooms at mealtimes, and often feel guilty after eating. Young people do not eat because of the anxiety of gaining weight; if this goes further, it can lead to their death.
What Are the Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?
Individuals with anorexia see themselves as overweight and ugly compared to other people. Every time they look in the mirror, they want to lose weight with the thought that they are fat even though they are not. Weight loss pills are taken without a doctor's permission, diets and days without food are the apparent causes of this disease. People usually try not to eat carbohydrate foods. Even if their family forces them, they refuse to eat and stay hungry. After a while, the body's appetite mechanism breaks down, and they never feel hungry. If they eat, they try to vomit immediately or get the food out of the body by using drugs such as laxatives. Tooth decay due to stomach acid, deformities in the fingers, and wounds on the skin are among these symptoms. They see eating as a crime. In women, due to these conditions, amenorrhea occurs. A bluish discoloration is observed on the nails. Especially after eating, they try to lose weight by doing heavy exercises and making movements that will harm their body. These symptoms are sufficient to diagnose Anorexia.
What Causes Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia has no specific, direct cause. Although it varies from person to person, not eating is generally affected by the body changes in adolescence. The disease, which progresses with a combination of environmental and psychological causes, causes excellent problems when not treated.
1) Environmental Factors
The attitudes and behaviors of the people who make up the person's environment are essential for the patient. When the person's friends and family members express their negative opinions about him, the person will be affected in a negative way psychologically. Especially making fun of one's weight during the day is one of the biggest reasons for the emergence of this disease. In addition to these reasons, they follow fashion obsessively and want to keep up with every fashion trend. The popularity of the thin body in the fashion world mainly affects women and drives them to unbalanced and dangerous weight loss methods.
2) Psychological Causes
People with this disorder have many symptoms such as shyness, submission to everything, and social phobia. Situations such as the family's pressure on the child to eat and the child's resentment to eat are very common and one of the leading causes of this disorder. This disorder is also seen in people who do not have a good relationship with their parents or have been abused at a young age.
3) Biological Causes
People with this disease are perfectionists. Because she believes that looking so flawless is more important than anything else, that’s why genetic predisposition comes first. The fact that anyone in the family has anorexia or has the disease affects other individuals to be born.
How Is Anorexia Nervosa Diagnosed?
Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder that the person may realize himself but will not accept that he has this disease. For this reason, the people around and family must make the diagnosis first. Family members should learn about this disease and talk to that person as soon as they notice these symptoms in their family or people around them. This disease also comes with many problems, not just weight loss. E.g., Sexual reluctance, being away from social life, constant unhappiness, nausea, severe depression, disliking oneself, low blood pressure, and being sensitive to weather events are the most significant diagnostic symptoms. A doctor should be consulted when symptoms like constipation, sensitivity to cold, and low blood pressure are seen as biological diagnoses. Low potassium due to vomiting and diuretic drugs also damage the heart and cause heart rhythm disturbances. Many problems arise due to weight loss, such as the muscles’ inability to keep the body in balance and work due to insufficient nutrients. In such cases, the clinical and psychological diagnosis of the patient is made by the doctors.
How Is Anorexia Nervosa Treated?
Anorexia treatment is a complicated and lengthy process. More than 50% of people receiving treatment develop symptoms such as depression. The disease is treated with health personnel such as psychiatrists, dietitians, psychologists, orthopedics, and physiotherapy. The support of the patient himself and his family is critical here. The need for the patient to gain a certain weight should be explained to that person professionally and adequately. The patient should be persuaded, and the effects of this discomfort, what problems may arise in the future should be mentioned, and the patient should be informed. If the patient has fallen below 30% of the required weight, he is hospitalized, and necessary procedures are performed. When the treatment is completed with the doctor’s approval, the person returns to his everyday life after being discharged from the hospital. However, since this discomfort is repetitive, the person needs to be kept under control.
What is the Difference Between Bulimia and Anorexia?
There are apparent differences between Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Many people confuse these two diseases with each other. Patients and their relatives should be informed about the differences between these two disorders.
In anorexia, the patient does not consider himself sick. The weight is well below average, and people observe visible changes in the person’s body. Anorexia Nervosa has little or no response to medications given for treatment. This results in delayed treatment.
In this disorder, the person is aware that he is sick and needs to be treated as soon as possible. At this point, there is an essential difference between them and anorexia patients. In bulimia, although the person is not very thin, he sees himself as weak, and this time he resorts to unbalanced weight gain. At the same time, since it is a complex disease to be noticed by the people around, its diagnosis is made late. It is seen through biological causes such as digestive system disorders due to vomiting. Bulimia Nervosa reacts quickly to medications given to cure the disease. This is because the patient looks at the treatment positively, and it is not a dangerous disease as anorexia.