A lot of teenagers and adults struggle with their body weight and self-image. The media usually sends unhealthy messages about the definition of “attractive” and “sexy”. When things get out of control, some might develop an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa. Although Anorexia, like most eating disorders is very difficult to detect. Patients usually lie about having an eating disorder and will be very resistant to changing their eating habits. This is why it is very important to approach the topic with great caution, preferably with the help of a health specialist.
Signs of Anorexia:
At the beginning anorexia symptoms can be very difficult to distinguish from normal dieting. Patients will usually go to extreme measures to conceal their eating habits by lying about them. They maybe trying to find informtion on how to become anorexic. This is why it is very important to keep an eye on the symptoms to encourage the patient to seek professional help.
Rapid and unexplained weight loss is probably the first obvious sign of anorexia. Although a lot of medical issues can trigger rapid weight loss like diabetes, anorexia patients will usually maintain a very thin and unhealthy appearance.
Patients usually have abnormal blood counts and suffer from chronic fatigue and dizziness. They usually suffer from insomnia, dehydration and low blood pressure.
Anorexia patients limit their daily intake of vitamins and minerals which greatly affects the way they look. They probably have very dull or yellowish skin in addition to the bluish tinge in their fingers. The hair falls out or breaks and the nails grow very weak and break.
Anorexia patients always lie about the last time they had a meal. They will deny hunger even when they are starving and will fast for long hours. Some patients will submit to the pressure and eat, but they might induce vomiting to avoid putting on weight. A lot of patients also resort to taking laxative pills and herbs to help them lose weight fast.
Some patients exercise extensively beyond the point of exhaustion. This combined with the limited food intake can lead to dehydration and dizziness. They will skip school or work simply because they have no energy. Anorexia patients usually show flat mood and display no emotions.
In order to conceal their condition, patients might start layering their clothes to mimic the image of a fuller body figure. They also spend a lot of time in front of the mirror checking their figure.
Anorexia is actually caused by a distorted body image where people associate thin figure with self-worth. Most of the time, the reason behind such a belief starts early during childhood. For this reason patients will show low self-confidence and will prefer to withdraw socially to avoid talking about their eating habits.
Anorexia and depression are closely related. Depressed people might engage in unhealthy eating habits in order to feel better about themselves. The opposite is also true. Anorexia can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
When to seek help?
If you or a loved one experience some or most of these symptoms then it is time to seek professional help. Talk to someone you trust and go to the doctor. The condition is treatable but can take over your life if you don’t pay attention.