One of the common features in all cases is that the person is not satisfied with his weight or appearance in any way and that he constantly feels overweight no matter how thin he is. Due to the dissatisfaction with one's weight, forcing oneself into excessively demanding and almost impossible eating habits negatively affects both the physical and mental health of the person, and serious psychological problems that can progress to suicide can be seen. Anorexia is a disease that can be controlled if the right psychological support and diet are provided.
The exact cause of anorexia is not yet known. However, medical experts think that this condition, like many diseases, is a combination of biological, environmental and psychological factors.
Anorexia is most common among adolescent girls and young women. The age of onset is usually between 13 and 20. But people of all ages, including men and children, can suffer from anorexia.
People with anorexia have a distorted perception of their body size and shape and often see themselves as overweight, even when they are underweight or emaciated. They may also have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, leading them to severely restrict their food intake and engage in excessive exercise or other behaviors to control their weight.
1. BIOLOGICAL REASONS
Patients with anorexia nervosa are usually sensitive, ambitious, and perfectionists. Although there are no definitive studies on genetic predisposition, those with a family history of anorexia may be at high risk of developing the disease.
2. PSYCHOLOGICAL REASONS
Malnutrition behaviors in infancy and childhood may pose a risk for the development of anorexia in the future. The disease is more common in young people who are shy, depressed, submissive, and have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. The risk of anorexia nervosa is high in women who have low love bonds with their parents and in women who have been sexually abused in the past.
3. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
The popularity of the thin body in the fashion world affects adolescents, especially negatively. In order to have a weak body, young people start dieting and become obsessed with looking thin. Dancers, ballerinas, models and jockeys have to maintain their weight constantly due to the competition and expectations in their business lives. The risk of eating disorders is high in this occupational group.
Symptoms of Anorexia
The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are related to hunger. Anorexia includes emotional and behavioral problems, including an unrealistic perception of body weight and an extreme fear of gaining weight. Because low body weight is different for each person and not everyone may look extremely thin, the signs and symptoms can be difficult to notice. Also, people with anorexia become experts at hiding their weakness, eating habits, or physical problems over time.
Other than weight loss, physical symptoms of anorexia include loss of body fat and muscle, fine hair in various parts of the body, termination of the menstrual cycle or irregularity, constipation, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems, a weakened immune system, difficulty in regulating body temperature or tolerating cold, lethargy and low energy, burnout, tooth erosion, Insomnia is the most common symptom.
The treatment of anorexia nervosa requires teamwork with the contribution of health personnel such as a specialist psychiatrist, dietitian, psychologist, orthopedics, endocrinologist, physiotherapist and nurse. The participation of the patient and his family in the treatment is very important for the success of the treatment. The physical and mental effects of the patient's gaining an appropriate body weight should be clearly explained. The patient should be convinced and aware of the effects of his illness. If the patient has lost 30% of their required body weight, they are usually hospitalized for treatment and weight gain is kept under control. Psychotherapy sessions can be organized with the family in order to ensure that the individual regains his sense of identity and self-esteem. When the patient reaches the desired weight, he/she can be discharged from the hospital, but it is important to keep it under constant control due to the high rate of recurrence of the disease.
Recovery from anorexia can be a long and challenging process, but with proper treatment and support, many people are able to overcome the disorder and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.