What is anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder with physical and emotional implications. Those suffering from Anorexia are afraid of the extra pounds they might gain by eating in a pathological way and consequently, they rather accept to stay hungry than to eat. Thus, with the desire not to gain body fat in excess, anorexic people become obsessed with the image of their body, they become very slim, and have a negative obsession regarding the concept of ‘food’.
Obsession with food and weight can lead to strange eating rituals or the refusal to eat in front of other people. It is not uncommon for anorexic people to prepare rich meals for family and friends but they refuse to eat.
Moreover, anorexia is a lethal psychiatric disorder, with an increased risk of death of four times higher than any major depression risk. And the risk increases if people are diagnosed with anorexia around the age of 20.
Still shrouded in mystery, the causes of anorexia develop from a combination of psychological, biological, and social factors. It starts as an innocuous food diet, but it progressively worsens to excessive and harmful weight loss process.
Social attitude towards physical appearance, family influence, genetic factors, and neurochemical factors contribute to anorexia.
Generally, people with anorexia have high levels of serotonin in the body that can lead to reduced appetite and social withdrawal, but there is nothing clinically proven from this point of view.
Anorexia can be developed by those who have had or already have such a case in the family, of physical or mental illness (depression, various forms of addiction). More people with such disorders come from families that are very strict, very critical, they want problems to be properly resolved, and are very protective.
There are also events that can cause anorexia, such as a divorce, the death of a loved one, or change of residence.
There are also diseases that can cause anorexia:
- Diseases of the digestive tract (bile stones or bile stones, ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Hormonal Disorders (Addison’s Disease)
- Encephalic diseases (stroke, trauma, dementia)
- Chronic inflammatory disease)
- Loss of taste
- Depression or anxiety
Also, different types of medicines can cause anorexia.
Symptoms of anorexia embody a grueling lifestyle:
- Imposing drastic limits on the amount of food allowed
- Intense fear of fattening
- Lower weight than normal weight and, despite this, distorted perception of the body
- Provocation of vomiting, which develops the destruction of the dental enamel
- Cutting food into very small portions
- Eating only certain foods
- Use of diuretics, laxatives, or medications that reduce appetite in order to lose even more weight
- A really extreme physical exercise program
- Refusal to eat with other people
- Avoiding discussions related to eating disorders
Anorexia is a disease that betrays itself, being very easy to be detected. In addition to the low body weight, you can see obvious signs such as fragile hair, dry skin, and brittle nails.
Symptoms that may also occur include
- abdominal pain
- confusion and slow thinking
- muscles weakness
- loss of the muscle mass
Edema in the hands and feet or purple coloration of the skin at the extremities (arms and legs) due to inefficient circulation are other signs of anorexia.
Moreover, the anorexic people becomes yellowish-orange on the skin, especially in the palms and hands, the breasts are diminished and there is a feeling of cold and low-temperature intolerance, anorexic people having a lower body temperature than normal.
Anorexia also involves disorders of the digestive system such constipation and slow stomach emptying.
In this situation, the heart is also affected by low blood pressure and bradycardia. In anorexic people, the heart beats lesser than 60 BPM (beats per minute).
On the emotional level, signs of anorexia are manifested by the lack of respect for oneself, feeling of helplessness, fear of being fat, suicidal thoughts (especially in adolescents, being concerned about death and its implications).
Anorexic people are nervous, retreat to loneliness, introvert, perfectionist, take good grades at school, and are good athletes.
To regain a normal body weight is the main objective in the anorexia treatment, especially in severe cases.
In the most cases, anorexic people are treated at home by psychiatrists in collaboration with clinical psychologists and nutritionists.
The psychotherapy of the patients with anorexia is difficult due to their lack of motivation. For this reason, it is recommended that the psychotherapy be performed by professionals familiar with the specific problems implied by Anorexia.
Also, there are some natural dietary supplements that are used to improve the lives of anorexic people and even to heal them.
- The vitamin B complex – plays an important role in the normal functioning of the muscles and the nervous and degenerative system, in the physical development, and in the health of the skin, nails, and hair. Because it prevents the development of mental and neurological disorders by reducing the effect of stress on the nervous system, vitamin B complex dietary supplements can be of real benefit to anorexic persons.
- Rhodiola Rosea – because of its ability to keep stress and depression at a distance, dietary supplements based on this plant help to fight against anorexia.
- Noni – because of its serotonin and scopoletin content it is recognized for its effectiveness in eliminating depression, anxiety, and obsessive-phobic disorders.