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Understanding The Characteristics Of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia has received a lot of publicity in recent years, but how can you tell if someone you love is suffering from the disease? It's often very difficult to find, simply because it tends to be accompanied by other symptoms as well. For example, the patient may show signs of anxiety, stress or depression. To an outside observer, the person may appear to be experiencing a relatively normal decline, when in fact they are secretly struggling with something more serious. So what can you do to determine if anorexia is a problem for your loved one?

It is most common for anorexia nervosa for diagnosis in young women, but the reality is that anyone can be affected. It is a serious eating disorder, and is carried by patients with unhealthy fears of gaining weight. They react by starting to limit the amount of food they eat, to prevent weight gain. An obsessive need to control the food they eat, coupled with an unhealthy body image, points to anorexia.

Once a person experiences anorexia, they gain very low weight. They may show significant fear of being obese, or just gain some weight. They often describe their bodies in distorted terms, making it clear they have no realistic body image. They will often complain about being obese, though everyone will comment on how thin they really are. Lack of weight and sustenance often leads to increased fatigue, as well as headaches or lack of energy. They may also be sick more often, because their immune system is weak. Therefore, they often catch colds and fevers, have digestive problems and other common ailments.

Anorexia's unhealthy relationship with food shows itself in many ways. Often they complain of digestive problems to avoid food. They often fight to eat or spend time eating, even if they only choose food in the first place. They generally refuse to attend social gatherings where there is plenty of food available. Some physical features of anorexia include:

  • Very pale

  • Not naturally thin

  • It's not healthy in general

  • Lose weight fast

  • Eyes are dull

  • Hair is thin and drab

  • Extreme mood swings

  • Signs of anxiety or depression

  • Be reclusive
  • Changes in personality can be quite noticeable in someone with anorexia; they often change from happy, outgoing and energetic people to negative, depressed and obsessive characters.

    Another clue to look for is the use of diet pills. Mostly anorexia patients will use over the counter diet to improve respiratory and bowel movements. They can also use diet pills to suppress their appetite. Others will develop an obsessive exercise routine. Their wardrobe often consists of loose, loose clothing to disguise their body shape. They may even advance to a level where they refuse to eat in front of others.

    It's important to try and keep your communication channel open, but at the same time you need to tell them what you suspect. Make sure you talk to them in a sympathetic and non-confrontational way. Explain that you love them, but you care about their health. Try and do everything you can to get patients to seek medical advice and attention right away, as anorexia is really a serious condition that can lead to major health complications, and in severe cases, death.


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