The pressure to be healthy and have the “ideal body type” is ever-present in American culture. To achieve that goal, many people follow a balanced diet, regular exercise regimen, and practice great self-care. However, some go to great and often dangerous extremes to get the perfect body they desire. One of those extremes is severely restricting the calories and types of foods they eat, and in some cases, they may go days without eating at all. When people use these extreme means to lose weight, it often leads to them developing a devastating and life-threatening condition called anorexia.
In this article, we will define anorexia as a condition as well as the signs of anorexia. Most importantly, this article will detail the components of an effective anorexia treatment program if you or a loved one are struggling with this serious condition. The Berman Center is one of Southern Georgia’s top-tier treatment facilities. Our Atlanta outpatient mental health programs, services, and support will help you break free of anorexia and regain your health and spirit. Call us today to learn more about our adult and teen therapy in Atlanta.
What is Anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that is characterized by abnormally low body weight, a crippling fear of gaining weight, and a distorted perception of one’s weight. People suffering from anorexia disorder place a high value on controlling their weight and shape and will resort to using extreme measures that significantly interfere with their daily activities. In order to prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people will severely restrict the amount of food they eat and the calories they take in. They may also use methods such as using laxatives, vomiting after they eat, and engaging in excessive exercise.
There are two distinct types of anorexia. The first type is called restrictive type anorexia, where an individual restricts calorie intake by undergoing extreme dieting, extended periods of fasting, or exercising to excess. The second type of anorexia is called purging type anorexia, in which weight loss is achieved through self-induced vomiting or through heavy use of laxatives and/or diuretics. No matter how much weight is lost, people with anorexia fear any kind of weight gain.
The statistics on anorexia are both shocking and disturbing. The following data was provided by the National Eating Disorders Association:
- Approximately 90-95% of anorexia nervosa sufferers are girls and women.
- Between 0.51% of American women suffer from anorexia nervosa.
- Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common psychiatric diagnoses in young women.
- Between 5-20% of individuals struggling with anorexia nervosa will die
- Anorexia nervosa has one of the highest death rates of any mental health condition
- Anorexia nervosa typically appears in early to mid-adolescence
What Are the Signs of Anorexia?
The signs of anorexia have roots in biological, environmental, and psychological factors. For many affected by anorexia, their use (or misuse) of food is a symptom of a deeper-seated psychological issue. Common psychological causes of anorexia include depression, anxiety, or unresolved trauma from their past. The following are common anorexia symptoms:
- Inadequate food intake, which leads to a lower-than-normal weight
- An intense fear of gaining weight, being weight-obsessed, and engaging in dangerous behaviors
- Unable to see the severity of their weight loss and its psychological and physical effects
- Chronic fatigue and exhaustion
- Tooth decay
- Swollen hands and feet
- Decreased sex drive
- Flat emotion
- Lying to friends and family about what they have eaten and when they have eaten
Effectively Treating Anorexia
When anorexic symptoms are seen, clients must undergo a comprehensive examination to make a formal diagnosis. This evaluation includes a physical exam, lab tests, psychological evaluations, and other tests. Once a formal diagnosis has been made, clients need to enter a treatment facility right away. If clients are in immediate danger of their lives, they will need immediate hospitalization to address issues such as heart issues, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, psychiatric issues, and severe malnutrition.
Therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective in helping clients normalize eating patterns and behaviors to help with healthy weight gain and eating habits in general. Additionally, people with anorexia will work with dieticians that will help them plan meals, meet calorie requirements, and establish a healthy eating schedule.
Struggling with Anorexia? Call The Berman Center Right Now!
If you are fighting a losing battle with anorexia, today is the day you find help. The Berman Center is one of the premier mental health treatment facilities in Southeastern Georgia. We offer evidence-based anorexia treatment programs that are extensively tested, proven to work, and customized to meet your needs. Our experienced treatment team’s number one goal is to give you the tools and supports you need to address and overcome anorexia and to help you restore your physical and mental health.Call The Berman Center toll-free right now and reclaim your health and life.