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Anorexia Symptoms: How to Help Prevent and Treat Eating Disorders

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anorexia-symptoms_txEating disorders are devastating, so knowledge of anorexia symptoms can be essential to help prevent the onset of the beginning stages of unhealthy eating behaviors that may lead to the disorder.  According to Mayo Clinic, anorexia nervosa can pose irreversible health consequences for the sufferer, as well as tear apart relationships in the sufferer’s personal life, so having knowledge of the disease is crucial for a significant quality of life.

Understanding Anorexia Symptoms

Anorexia nervosa is a disease where sufferers are both mentally and physically affected.  Some major indications of anorexia symptoms may include a significant amount of weight loss, abnormal blood counts, fatigue, inability to sleep, feeling faint, inability to concentrate, skin discoloration, hair loss, loss of menstruation, constipation, dry skin, inability to tolerate cold, irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, dehydration, weak bones, and/or swelling body.  Eating disorders take a serious toll on the body, posing detrimental health consequences.  If sufferers continue to act out on eating disordered behaviors, they risk causing irreversible damage to their bodies that could prove fatal.  The good news is with treatment, an anorexic has potential to recover.  With this said, the sooner they make the decision to receive treatment, the greater the chances are for the positive outcome of their recovery.

Disease takes toll

The disease takes more than a physical toll on the individual.  Anorexia is an eating disorder centered on more than food, weight, and body image; it has more to do with control and impractical views that create a block between them functioning freely in society with irrational fears that they’ve attached to weight. Emotional and behavioral anorexia symptoms like these may be noticed more at first.  These types of behaviors may extend to limiting intake of food through extreme diets, crazed exercising, binging and purging, laxative abuse, taking diet pills, obsession with food, perfectionist attitude, denying hunger, numbed feelings, depression, decreased libido and/or suicidal feelings.

Cause of anorexia

There are biological, psychological, and environmental factors pertaining to the causes of anorexia.  It is thought that genetics may be a cause of eating disorders and that Western culture has impacted society’s desire for being thin.  Just as much as the disease takes a physical toll on the body, anorexia negatively impacts the mind.  Many sufferers of the disease have “all-or-nothing” personalities, meaning they deal with perfectionist, obsessive-compulsive, and/or anxious traits.  They may never feel good enough, which are all reasons anorexics may resort to attempting to regain control through means of restricting food intake and trying to control their weight.

Eating disorders are life-threatening mental and physical illnesses that need to be treated.  When an individual has resorted to turning to engaging in unhealthy eating patterns, they pose the risk of becoming susceptible to an eating disorder that can take complete control of their life.  Many people displaying anorexia symptoms turn out to have the disease but tend to not want treatment – at least not in the beginning. Most of the time they are so deep in the disease that their desire to control outweighs any negative consequences, including physical health tolls to their body.  Other anorexia symptoms to watch out for may be that a person is missing meal times, finding reasons for not eating foods, eating certain foods only, chewing and spitting out foods, cooking foods but not eating them, inability to eat around others, unhappy with appearance, self-induced vomiting, and/or baggy clothing.  If these behaviors resemble someone, don’t wait to talk about it but be tactful in the approach by making sure the conversation comes from a concerning and loving standpoint.  Since anorexia nervosa can be a life threatening illness, these individuals should also be encouraged to talk about anything that may be going on in their life or even see a doctor.

If you or someone you know may have anorexia nervosa, seek help immediately and reach out to a professional team, physician, therapist, psychiatrist, support group, and/or 12-step fellowship like Eating Disorders Anonymous or Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous.

For more information about anorexia nervosa and eating disorders, check out National Eating Disorders Awareness to educate yourself on the information by clicking here.

Eating disorders and substance use problems often coincide.  Are you or someone you know suffering from a substance use disorder? Contact The Watershed for help today at 1-800-861-1768.

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