is Anorexia Nervosa?
Nervosa is a serious eating disorder, in which the sufferer believes
they are very fat despite usually being underweight, and in serious
cases even dangerously emaciated. They will go to great lengths
to lose weight, often at considerable risk to their health. In milder
cases, and in the early stages of the condition, Anorexia Nervosa
can be mistaken for a culturally normal concern about putting on
weight. It has been called “the slimmer’s disease”
because some believe that normal dieting in a young person can lead
to their developing Anorexia Nervosa. However, it is not clear whether
this is the case or not, although the condition is more common in
cultures where there is an emphasis on the desirability of thinness.
It is distinguished from a normal concern about weight by the presence
of a marked disturbance of body image, combined with an intense
fear of putting on weight.
rarely follows a one-off trauma, but can follow prolonged abuse.
Often, however, it is not clear what has actually caused someone
to become anorexic. It is most common in younger females, with the
largest number of cases occurring between the ages of 14 and 18,
but can less commonly occur in any age range and can also occur
are the symptoms?
person is intensely afraid to put on weight, starves themselves
to lose weight, and will often exercise excessively and take laxatives.
However, the fear does not usually decrease, and may in fact increase
with weight loss. They are normally secretive about their attempts
to lose weight and family members suffer considerable stress and
worry. There are often significant problems of mood, with depressed
mood and general anxiety. Some people suffer Obsessive-compulsive
symptoms. As well as excessive thinness, in the more advanced stages
there are other physical signs and symptoms, such as menstruation
stopping, and a fine coat of hair growing on the body.
long does it last?
some people suffer one single episode and then recover, the condition
can fluctuate and can become chronic. There can be serious effects
on physical health and in some cases it can even be fatal. Even
after treatment has been effective there is often a danger of relapse.
is the treatment?
milder cases, out patient CBT often combined with anti-depressants
has been found effective. More severe and chronic cases require
specialist in-patient treatment with a multidisciplinary approach
to both mental and physical health.