What Is Anorexia?
Anorexia, also known as anorexia nervosa, is a medical condition where a patient is preoccupied with weight loss, even if she weighs less than what is average for her height and weight. Most individuals who have anorexia nervosa eat just enough to survive, although some individuals suffering from anorexia also binge on food from time to time, creating an unhealthy balance. Both men and women of any age can suffer from anorexia, although it is a persistent problem among teenage girls. Anorexia is considered a mental health issue as well as a medical disorder because it revolves around an incorrect perception of how a patient fits into the world. Patients suffering from anorexia nervosa usually require both psychological and food therapy in order to recover.
Each patient is different, but there are some common ways that people with anorexia nervosa lose weight. Anorexia is thought to stem from a lack of control, so the aspect of a patient being able to control her daily intake of food is common. Eating revolves around rituals, including eating very slowly or only eating certain kinds of foods. Some patients with anorexia always feel bloated, even if they are only consuming small amounts of food. Because of this, laxatives, diet pills and coffee are used in attempts to rid the body of this perception of bloating. Counting calories becomes a game for many individuals who suffer from anorexia nervosa, and consuming the least amount of calories while still surviving is a common test.
Help for Individuals with Anorexia
Individuals with anorexia nervosa need a combination of psychological and medical treatment in order to successfully overcome the disorder. Many patients opt to attend a halfway house or rehabilitation center designated specifically for patients with eating disorders. Introducing healthy and protein-rich foods slowly while talking about a patient's feelings extensively in therapy sessions can help an anorexia patient get out of her spiraling decline. Weekly meetings with nutritionists and dietitians can also help, as they can create a diet plan that is comfortable for both the patient and her team of doctors.