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Anorexia nervosa, Symptoms and treatment

Monday, September 6, 2021

Eating disorders in adolescents are a fearful dream of parents. Although physical symptoms of disorders are prominent in body perception, eating disorders are a psychological problem.

In particular, the rate of anorexia nervosa seen in young girls is very low in men. In the studies carried out, in one of every thousand young girls, the person refuses to eat due to anxiety of weight gain and may face serious health problems and even death.

What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, a life-threatening eating disorder defined by abnormal body weight, is a psychological disease. People with the disease who are overly obsessed about staying slim are well below their normal weight.

Generally, anorexia patients commonly seen in gene girls between the ages of 12-20 sleep very little, however they are quite active. They refuse to eat. Although it is very rare, anorexia nervosa, which can also be encountered during adulthood, begins to apply very low-calorie diets, considering that the person is too fat.

While the appetite could be controlled before, the appetite disappears completely and the body weakens in the course of the disease.

Symptoms of anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa patients develop their own eating behaviors for weight loss. Detection of the disease is understood when physical symptoms occur. They are extremely afraid of gaining weight and do a very limited diet, although they are weak. In particular, it removes carbohydrate foods from its diet completely.

It has strange and secret food rituals, such as hiding at meal time to avoid eating, finding excuses for getting out of the meal, constantly thinking about food, collecting recipes, preparing food for others, refusing to eat alongside others.

Although there are no signs of illness, severe weight loss, constant weight, keeping his weakness by wearing loose clothing, never believing he is thin enough and having constant worry about his weight are among the symptoms of anorexia nervosa.

After eating, they try to vomit what they eat, to throw away their diet using diet pills, diuretics or laxatives. Conducting heavy exercises to punish themselves and staying in the toilet for a long time are also behavioral disorders seen in anorexia patients.

Causes of anorexia nervosa?

There is no specific reason for anorexia nervosa. It can be said that anorexia, which is a disease seen in adolescence, occurs due to the smiles that young people encounter in adapting to adolescence changes.

The progressive disease caused by the combination of environmental, psychological and biological factors can cause the patient to lose his life if left untreated.


Anorexia nervosa patients generally have a sensitive, determined and perfectionist personality. Although there are no definitive studies on genetic predisposition, the risk of the disease may be high in those with an anorexia history in their family.


Malnutrition behaviors during infancy and childhood may pose a risk for the development of anorexia in the future. The disease is more common in young people with shy, depressed, submissive, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. The risk of anorexia nervosa is high in those who have low affection between their parents and women who have been sexually abused in the past.


The fact that the weak body is popular in the fashion world affects especially the adolescents. In order to have a weak body, young people start dieting and become obsessed with looking slim.

Dancers, ballerinas, mannequins, jockeys must constantly maintain their weight due to competition and expectations in their work life. Eating disorders are high in this profession group.

Diagnosis of anorexia nervosa

In the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, which leads to a serious loss of body weight, it is necessary to note the presence of another disease that causes weight loss. In addition to weight loss, psychiatric symptoms such as miscellaneous fluctuations, loss of sexual desire, low self-esteem, introversion, obsession, social phobia and depression are observed.

Sensitivity to cold, low blood pressure, constipation, slow stomach emptying, low pulse are findings that help diagnose anorexia nervosa. Potassium decreased due to vomiting and diuretic use, causes rhythm disturbances in the heart. In addition, a decrease in leukocytes and anemia can be found in the blood.

In addition to clinical findings such as menstrual irregularities and even menstruation due to weight loss, bone loss due to decreased bone density and low estrogen levels may be observed.

Behaviors that require obstructive eating and vomiting can cause stomach enlargement and stomach rupture. Anorexia nervosa can be diagnosed by evaluating the patient’s clinical and psychological findings.

Treatment methods of anorexia nervosa

Treatment of anorexia nervosa requires teamwork created with the contribution of healthcare professionals such as a specialist psychiatrist, dietician, psychologist, orthopedics, endocrinology, physiotherapist, nurse. The participation of the patient and his family in the treatment is very important for the success of the treatment.

The physical and spiritual effects of the patient’s being of a suitable body weight should be clearly explained. It must be ensured that the patient is persuaded and notices the effects of his illness. If the patient has lost 30% of his body weight, he is usually hospitalized for treatment and weight gain is kept under control.

Psychotherapy sessions can be organized with the family in order to restore the individual’s sense of identity and self-esteem. When the patient reaches the desired weight, he can be discharged from the hospital, but it is important to keep the disease under constant control as the relapse rate is high.

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