Anorexia Nervosa

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Description

Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and what they eat. People suffering from Anorexia have a distorted body image and have an unwarranted fear of being overweight. This disorder primarily affects females; only 5% of patients are male. The onset is usually during adolescence or young adulthood, and it is seen primarily in middle-to-upper-class white women. It is rarely seen in the lower socioeconomic levels.

Symptoms

Symptoms of anorexia include trying to maintain a below-normal weight often through starvation or too much exercise, and excessive weight loss. Anorexia nervosa sufferers maintain their extremely low weight in different ways. Some put severe restrictions on their calorie intake, while others exercise excessively. Often a binge and purge method is employed similar to those with bulimia. Excessive use of laxatives, induced vomiting, or diuretics are often used in an effort to reduce calories.

General symptoms of Anorexia may include:
1. The inability to maintain a normal weight,
2. Fatigue,
3. Yellow or blotchy skin,
4. Thinning or loss of hair,
5. Constipation,
6. Irritability,
7. Dry skin,
8. Excessive use of diuretics, laxatives, or diet pills,
9. low blood pressure,
10. Excessive exercise,
11. Withdrawal from social activities,
12. Depression

Treatments

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that requires comprehensive treatment involving medical, nutritional, and psychological interventions. Here are some common approaches for treating this condition:

1. Medical Monitoring: Regular medical check-ups are essential to monitor physical health, assess any complications, and manage the effects of malnutrition. This may involve weight monitoring, vital sign assessments, and blood tests.

2. Nutritional Counseling: Working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can help establish a structured meal plan to address nutritional deficiencies and gradually restore a healthy weight. The focus is on balanced eating, portion control, and establishing regular eating patterns.

3. Psychotherapy: Different types of therapy can be effective in treating anorexia nervosa, including:

i. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps individuals identify and change unhealthy thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors related to body image, weight, and food. CBT can also address underlying emotional issues.

ii. Family-Based Treatment (FBT): Particularly effective for adolescents, FBT involves the family as a primary support system to promote weight restoration and normalize eating behaviors. It empowers parents to take an active role in their child’s recovery.

iii. Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT): Focusing on relationships and social functioning, IPT helps individuals explore and address interpersonal problems that contribute to the eating disorder.

4. Hospitalization: In severe cases where there is a risk of medical complications or the individual’s weight is dangerously low, hospitalization may be necessary to stabilize physical health and provide intensive treatment.

5. Support Groups: Participating in support groups or joining eating disorder recovery communities can provide individuals with a sense of belonging, understanding, and support. Peer support can be valuable throughout the recovery process.

6. Self-Help Resources: Various self-help resources, such as books, websites, and apps, offer educational materials, coping strategies, and tools for managing the challenges associated with anorexia nervosa. However, these should be used in conjunction with professional guidance.

Nutrients and supplements:
1. Gaba – has a calming effect
2. Multivitamins – to boost cellular vitamin levels.
3. Vitamin B complex – Essential for energy production and nervous system function.
4. Buffered Vit C – supports a healthy immune system, promoting the body’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses. Additionally, Vitamin C plays a crucial role in collagen synthesis, aiding in the maintenance of healthy skin, bones, and joints
5. Barley Energiser – provides 18 amino acids, 23 minerals, 19 vitamins, protein enzymes and is extremely rich in nutrients. It is a general tonic, provides support during stressful times, and assists when the diet is deficient.
6. Iron – helps prevent anemia and fatigue.
7. Zinc – supports immune function and helps with wound healing.
8. Vitamin D – Aids in calcium absorption and bone health.
9. Omega-3 Fatty Acids -These healthy fats have been shown to support brain health and reduce inflammation.
10. Probiotics – Anorexia nervosa may disrupt gut health, so probiotics can help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria.

Causes

The precise cause of anorexia nervosa isn’t known. Those who develop anorexia may have a negative self-image. They may be overly focused on being “perfect.” They may be looking for ways to control their lives. Other factors like biology, environment, and psychology are also believed to play a role.

Anorexia nervosa may have a genetic and hormonal component. There is evidence that suggests a link between anorexia and serotonin, a chemical produced in the brain.

Societal pressures to look thin may also contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa. The desire to be thin may be influenced by unrealistic body images portrayed in the media, especially in magazines, film, and television.

People who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might be more predisposed to anorexia nervosa. People with OCD are prone to obsessions and compulsions.

Underlying Emotions

Low self and body image, not feeling good enough, not feeling accepted. Having unrealistic standards, self-loathing.

Diet

The correct diet for treating anorexia nervosa should be individualized and developed in collaboration with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional experienced in eating disorders. The diet will typically focus on gradual weight restoration, meeting nutritional needs, and establishing a healthy relationship with food. Here are some general principles that may guide the development of an appropriate diet:

Balanced Meals: A balanced diet includes a variety of foods from different food groups, providing essential nutrients. It should include carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Meals should consist of whole grains, lean sources of protein (e.g., poultry, fish, beans), fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats (e.g., avocados, nuts, olive oil).

Regular Meal Patterns: Establishing regular meal times and a structured eating routine is important. Aim for three meals and three snacks per day to ensure consistent energy intake.

Caloric Adequacy: Gradually increasing caloric intake is important for weight restoration and overall health. The exact number of calories will depend on individual factors such as age, gender, height, weight, and activity level.

Nutrient-Dense Foods: Emphasize nutrient-dense foods to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake. This includes incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Flexibility and Variety: Encourage flexibility in food choices and variety in meals to promote a healthy relationship with food. Avoid rigid food rules or restrictions.

Mindful Eating: Promote mindful eating practices, focusing on the sensory experience of eating, listening to hunger and fullness cues, and cultivating a positive relationship with food.

Meal Support: In the initial stages of recovery, it may be helpful to have meal support from a trusted individual, such as a family member or therapist, to provide encouragement and accountability during meals.

Gradual Exposure: Gradually reintroduce fear foods or foods that have been avoided due to the eating disorder. This helps individuals overcome anxiety and expand their food choices.

Hydration: Encourage regular fluid intake to maintain hydration. Water is the best choice, but other beverages like herbal tea or low-calorie drinks can also be included.

Remedies

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