What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Eating disorders are all too common and, unfortunately, are on the rise. Disorders such as anorexia are the most commonly recognized and can lead to devastating consequences. Those who suffer from eating disorders can experience serious health complications, loss of jobs, relationships, and even in extreme cases, death. If you or a loved one is suffering from anorexia, it is important to seek treatment early. Let’s take a more in-depth look at anorexia.
Anorexia is also known by its full name, anorexia nervosa and is one of the most commonly occurring eating disorders. Those who suffer from this devastating disorder essentially starve their bodies of fuel by cutting calories. This is combined with an unrealistic perception of a healthy weight and the fear of becoming fat. For individuals who are anorexic, they never feel like they’ve lost enough weight and obsessively keep trying to lose more and more.
Even though anorexia manifests as an issue with body weight, it is actually an extreme coping mechanism for severe emotional problems. Individuals are not able to control the way they feel, but they can take control of what they eat and the way their body looks. However, with an unrealistic perception of body weight, it is taken too far and can cause serious health problems.
Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia affects a person’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Common symptoms include:
- Exaggerated weight loss
- An unhealthy and emaciated physical appearance
- Thin, unhealthy looking hair
- Poor dental health
- poor (yellowish) skin tone
- Extreme fatigue
- Low blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Excessive exercise
Individuals who do not receive proper treatment can experience one or more of these symptoms which can result in permanent damage to the body or even death.
Recognizing Someone Who is Suffering From Anorexia
It may seem simple to know when a loved one is suffering from anorexia. However, it’s not always that obvious. Those who suffer from the disorder can go to great lengths to cover up what they are going through. Here are signs to look out for:
- Wearing excessive layers of clothing
- Exercising to excess
- Constantly stepping on a scale or measuring parts of the body such as the waistline
- Refusing to eat in front of anyone
- Obsession over food, such as only eating certain foods, measuring foods, and spitting out food on a regular basis
- Complaining about being fat
Other symptoms include being irritable, withdrawn, and even having trouble sleeping.
What Causes Anorexia?
Unfortunately, an exact cause of anorexia has not been established. What is known is that there is a genetic component that puts individuals at an inherent risk of developing the eating disorder (It does not mean they will develop it). In addition to a genetic component, there are environmental and biological factors that play a role in the occurrence of anorexia.
Treatment for Anorexia
Medical intervention is often necessary for those who suffer from anorexia. If you or a loved one suffer from it, taking the first steps to get treatment for anorexia can be the most difficult. There are five levels of care, based on the severity of the disorder.
- Level one: Outpatient – Patients are defined as medically stable, having an 85 percent healthy body weight, generally healthy with the ability to gain weight with very little intervention or coaxing.
- Level two: Intensive Outpatient – Patients are defined as medically stable, self-sufficient, fairly motivated to gain weight.
- Level three: Partial Hospitalization – Patients are in need of full-time outpatient care, medically stable, lacks the motivation to gain weight, experiences excessive compulsive urges to purge.
- Level four: Residential Treatment – Patients are medically stable for the most part, has trouble gaining weight without structure, lacks family support, needs constant supervision to ensure proper consumption of calories.
- Level five: Inpatient Treatment – Patients have medical issues as a result of the disorder, need constant supervision to ensure adequate consumption of food, and may or may not have suicidal thoughts or actions.
Those who suffer from anorexia may be resistant to treatment at first. It is difficult and embarrassing to admit that you are struggling and need help. If you have a loved one who is suffering from the disorder, continue to provide support while urging your loved one to seek treatment for anorexia.
Why Choose Fairwinds Anorexia Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida
Fairwinds Treatment Center is one of the top eating disorder treatment centers in the world. Our specialists, Dr. Khal El-Yousef and Dr. Pauline Powers, understand the complexities of these ailments and the underlying psychological conditions that cause them, and implement clinically backed methods to help adult men and women and adolescent boys and girls uncover and overcome the root causes of their disorders, even while assisting in their physical recovery.
Dr. Pauline Powers is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading researcher, educator and trainer in the continually evolving field of eating disorder treatment, and has 40 years of experience fighting this fight. She currently sits on the Scientific Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Screening Program and the Editorial Board of the Eating Disorders Review and has also served as the founding President of the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), President of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and founding member of the Eating Disorders Research Society.
To treat anorexia we strive to help patients do the following:
- Accept their body the way it is regardless of their shape or size
- Live in the moment without constantly judging their weight and the type of or how much food they eat
- Integrate therapeutic experiential, nutritional and mindful experiences to improve quality of life
- Live without comparing oneself to others
- Improve communication between patients and their loved ones to help them along their quest to live a life without disordered eating.
If you or your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, there is no time to waste. Contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today by phone or via our online form to start the journey toward treatment and recovery.