is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is an illness that usually occurs in teenage
girls, but it can also occur in teenage boys, and adult
women and men. People with anorexia are obsessed with being
thin. They lose a lot of weight and are terrified of gaining
weight. They believe they are fat even though they are very
thin. Anorexia isn't just a problem with food or weight.
It's an attempt to use food and weight to deal with emotional
is the difference between anorexia and bulimia?
People with anorexia starve themselves, avoid high-calorie
foods and exercise constantly. People with bulimia eat huge
amounts of food, but they throw up soon after eating, or
take laxatives or diuretics (water pills) to keep from gaining
weight. People with bulimia don't usually lose as much weight
as people with anorexia.
do people get anorexia?
The reason some people get anorexia isn't known. People
with anorexia may believe they would be happier and more
successful if they were thin. They want everything in their
lives to be perfect. People who have this disorder are usually
good students. They are involved in many school and community
activities. They blame themselves if they don't get perfect
grades, or if other things in life are not perfect.
are the problems caused by anorexia?
Girls with anorexia usually stop having menstrual periods.
People with anorexia have dry skin and thinning hair on
the head. They may have a growth of fine hair all over their
body. They may feel cold all the time, and they may get
sick often. People with anorexia are often in a bad mood.
They have a hard time concentrating and are always thinking
about food. It is not true that anorexics are never hungry.
Actually, they are always hungry. Feeling hunger gives them
a feeling of control over their lives and their bodies.
It makes them feel like they are good at something--they
are good at losing weight. People with severe anorexia may
be at risk of death from starvation.
is the treatment for anorexia?
Treatment of anorexia is difficult, because people with
anorexia believe there is nothing wrong with them. Patients
in the early stages of anorexia (less than 6 months or with
just a small amount of weight loss) may be successfully
treated without having to be admitted to the hospital. But
for successful treatment, patients must want to change and
must have family and friends to help them.
with more serious anorexia need care in the hospital, usually
in a special unit for people with anorexia and bulimia.
Treatment involves more than changing the person's eating
habits. Anorexic patients often need counseling for a year
or more so they can work on changing the feelings that are
causing their eating problems. These feelings may be about
their weight, their family problems or their problems with
self-esteem. Some anorexic patients are helped by taking
medicine that makes them feel less depressed. These medicines
are prescribed by a doctor and are used along with counseling.
can family and friends help?
The most important thing that family and friends can do
to help a person with anorexia is to love them. People with
anorexia feel safe, secure and comfortable with their illness.
Their biggest fear is gaining weight, and gaining weight
is seen as loss of control. They may deny they have a problem.
People with anorexia will beg and lie to avoid eating and
gaining weight, which is like giving up the illness. Family
and friends should not give in to the pleading of the anorexic
(R) thedailystar.net 2004