Many people have mental health issues that take a toll on their daily lives. One of the deadliest psychological illness is an eating disorder, which is an umbrella term that describes a group of conditions. They could lead to physical symptoms since the affected person does not consume the needed nutrients vital for survival.
The most common type of eating disorder is anorexia nervosa. This condition could be life-threatening if the person did not get treatment at an anorexia treatment facility during the early stage of the condition.
Anorexia by the Numbers
The number of teens experiencing anorexia has been continuously increasing over the past few years. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), about 0.3 to 0.4 percent of young women and 0.1 percent of young men suffer from anorexia.
Anorexia also has the highest death rate of any mental illness, and about four percent of those with the condition die from complications caused by the disease.
What Is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia Nervosa or anorexia is an eating disorder wherein the patient loses weight, has problems maintaining proper body weight for height, age, and stature, and distorted body image. Additionally, people with this eating disorder have an intense fear of gaining weight, and as a result, they become too thin that the body suffers from complications.
The common signs and symptoms of anorexia include the following
- Chronic restrictive eating or dieting
- Amenorrhea or absence of menses
- Continued obsession with food and recipes
- Obsession with calories and fat content of food
- Rapid weight loss or being very underweight
- Cold sensation
- Thinning of hair
- Lanugo development
- Avoidance of social events
Symptoms may vary among patients.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Anorexia?
Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, from teens to older adults. They often appear during adolescent years or young adulthood. The possible risk factors are genetic, behavioral, biological, social, and psychological.
Specific risk factors, however, include
- Being more worried about body shape and weight
- Having an anxiety disorder in the past,
- Eating problems during childhood
- Having a negative self-image
- Having particular cultural ideas about beauty and health
- Trying to look perfect
The ideal body shapes society imposes affect how patients look at their bodies. In an attempt to meet such a standard, most people start losing weight in an unhealthy manner.
Treating Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is a complex condition since doctors need to focus on both the psychological and physical health of the patient. It’s important to seek medical treatment early to prevent the risk of having physical complications.
The main treatment options include psychotherapy, medications, nutritional counseling, and medical monitoring. One of the most promising treatment options is psychotherapy, a treatment option wherein the parents of the teen with anorexia assume responsibility for feeding their child. The procedure has helped many people gain weight and improved eating habits.
People with anorexia usually have other mental health issues such as anxiety disorder and depression. Evidence shows that medicines, like antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics can help treat eating disorders.
Anorexia is a difficult-to-treat mental health issue. Patients with anorexia struggle to perform activities of daily living. Aside from conventional therapies, it’s also important to learn how to treat eating disorders appropriately.