Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, intense fear of eating and gaining weight, and a distorted perception of weight and body image. Anorexia is one of the mental health and eating disorders with the highest fatality rate; 10% of those suffering from anorexia die due to the progression of their disease. Anorexia can occur in both men and women but is most commonly found in women, with one in 200 American women suffering from the disease. Understanding the disease and getting your loved one treatment for their condition is a matter of life or death. Anorexia is not something you should face alone, and individuals need a support system to help them get better.
There is immense social pressure for girls and women to look and feel a certain way about themselves in today’s society. More and more, these unrealistic beauty standards plague the minds of individuals from all different walks of life, eventually causing major and, in many cases, fatal consequences.
Those with anorexia lose weight and maintain low body mass in different ways. Some people put severe restrictions on their diet, and others will exercise excessively. If you think someone you know may be suffering from anorexia nervosa, symptoms may look like:
Other behavioral patterns associated with anorexia include:
Adapted from NCPG/SOGS and DSM-5
Responses should be based on behavior over the past 90 days
NOTE: Addiction is progressive, chronic and 100% recoverable when treated.
Disclaimer: This screening is not designed to make a diagnosis or take the place of a professional diagnosis
consultation. Use this brief screening tool to help determine if further action is recommended.
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The exact cause of anorexia nervosa isn’t known. It is consistent that in patients with anorexia, issues surrounding sense of self, body image, and being too focused on being “perfect” are all present. Factors like biology, environment and mental health are thought to play a role.
Some evidence suggests that there is a link between serotonin production and anorexia. Genetics and hormones may also play a role in the development of the disorder.
Pressure from sports, society and parental figures, and support system may play a role in the development of anorexia. Experiencing sexual trauma, neglect, abuse, or bullying may also be a risk factor in individuals developing the disorder.
Individuals struggling with a mental health disorder may be at higher risk for suffering from anorexia at the same time or later on in life. Individuals with OCD tend to be more predisposed to behaviors consistent with anorexia because they are prone to obsessions and compulsions.
If you notice that someone you care about is struggling with anorexia, it is vital to help them get help. Those suffering from the disorder are at high risk for mortality and need adequate care and treatment. Eating disorder treatment programs can work for both men and women of any age, providing them with nurturing, wraparound care to meet their individual needs. Recovery can be a challenging and frightening process for many, but there is hope on the other side. If you have questions about finding the right kind of care for yourself or someone you know, call Heather today for help.