Anorexia: Dangers of Disease and How to Treat

Anorexia among young people is becoming a serious disease and for this we must understand the dangers of disease and how to treat it? For anyone suffering from anorexia, all thoughts and plans revolve around weight loss.

Adolescence is a delicate phase, with many changes, because it is when the body and mind stop being children when they enter a gradual transition to adulthood.

Puberty drastically changes physical appearance and, as a result, some young people develop distorted and problematic views about themselves, significantly when negatively influenced by media beauty standards.
This type of disorder is often associated with low self-esteem, inclusion in a context of judgment and body idealization. Having experienced traumatic experiences can also be a precipitating factor in triggering the problem.

Anorexia: What is it?

Anorexia is characterized by a pathological food restriction that leads to expressive weight loss and potentially dangerous health. The onset of this disorder usually involves adopting a strict diet and a deep fear of gaining weight. The subsequent step is usually to carry out an obsessive control of the calories consumed during the day, including refusing food, with the risk of affecting the body’s vital functions.

Anorexic patients tend to weigh less than is adequate for their height and age, and although they look in the mirror constantly in search of the image of an ideal body, they never receive the expected return. This is because of the distorted view of the body itself is a hallmark of the disease. “This person’s portrait of himself is unreal and different from what others perceive when they see him, and this distorted self-image is what leads to anorexia disorder”, explains psychiatrist at Hospital Águas Claras Carolina Tarja.

It is worth mentioning that this disease mainly affects girls between 12 and 20 years old, but boys can also have anorexia.

What can happen to an anorexic person’s body?

Several consequences affect the organism if it has been in a state of hunger for a long time. To save energy, he begins to “shut down” several essential functions. “The symptoms of eating disorders are generally not easy to observe. It is not uncommon for the patient or his parents to only seek help when there are already other associated clinical complications,” explains the doctor.

Anorexia among young people: What are the dangers of this disease and how to treat it?

Of course, the impacts will depend on the severity and duration of the disease, but it is expected in any case. At least some of the more common developments, listed below, will manifest in this patient.

  • Decreased heart rate.
  • A drastic drop in body temperature.
  • Lower blood pressure than expected, which can cause dizziness and fainting.
  • Worsening quality of blood circulation.
  • Higher chances of developing osteoporosis problems.
  • Disruption of normal brain functions opens space for so-called cerebral atrophy, that is, the loss of brain tissue.
  • Weakening of the muscles.
  • Malfunction of the heart and kidneys.
  • Decreased metabolism.
  • Constant feeling of tiredness.
  • Deficiency of various substances that the body needs. A recurring example is the lack of iron, which can cause anaemia and interrupt/make irregular menstruation in female patients.
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain, constipation and gas.
  • Skin and hair can become extremely dry.
  • Greater tendency to acne.

Fortunately, most of the time, the effects of anorexia on the body disappear as the person with anorexia starts to eat appropriately and regains a healthy weight. However, in some cases, the person continues to experience certain significant mental and/or bodily complications.

Treatment for Anorexia

If you’re wondering if anorexia can be cured, the answer is ‘yes’! “The most important thing for an early diagnosis and treatment”, explains Carolina, “is the attention to frequent food refusals, weight loss, exaggerated concern for the body and idealization of abnormal body patterns. Despite being a heterogeneous disease, it does not there is a unique form of treatment that is effective for all patients “.

The first step in seeking professional assistance is researching and getting as much information as possible about anorexia and how it is treated. After that moment and given the patient’s interest in suffering from this disease to be helped, it is time to consult a competent and experienced psychoanalyst or psychiatrist who knows the nature and course of this disease well.

Treatment will, of course, involve changes in the way you eat, but also in ways of dealing with other challenging emotions. It is to combine therapy with recommendations and specific dietary programs by a nutritionist in some cases. “After all, it is of the utmost importance to also promote a nutritional recovery of the patient”, reports the specialist. Antidepressant medications can also be included in the process if the specialist deems it safe and necessary.

Besides, all patients must undergo a comprehensive examination, in which medical, psychological and social conditions are fully mapped, to assess and improve their health and quality of life. Specific tests are essential to know the patient’s metabolic situation and to rule out other medical conditions.

Indeed, an essential point of this process is the patient’s desire for continuity and perseverance, built upon an excellent therapeutic alliance with the responsible professional and a support network in the family.

Those most familiar to the person in this condition need to pay attention to the signs of suffering, offering help in a welcoming and non-critical way. “Patients with eating disorders already judge themselves too much to receive more judgments”, concludes the doctor.