Self-starvation — the Hallmark of Anorexia Nervosa

Written by on July 11, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page


Self-starvation — the Hallmark of Anorexia

Adolescence is a time when pre-teen and teenage girls are very self-conscious and concerned about social acceptance. Sometimes this concern develops into a phobia that brings about detrimental health issues. One such issue is anorexia nervosa, of which self-starvation is the hallmark. Anorexia nervosa afflicts about 1 in 100 adolescent girls from the U.S and other countries of high economic status.

Causes of Anorexia Nervosa

No specific cause for anorexia nervosa, often called “anorexia,” is known but it is believed to be the result of a combination of factors. The condition often begins at a time of tremendous hormonal and psychological change. Adolescent girls suffering from this condition are convinced that they are too fat, regardless of how much they weigh. This initiates a period of obsessive dieting.

Forms of Anorexia Nerova

Anorexia is played out in several ways in an afflicted girls’ life. Some girls become very selective in their eating habits. They may decline eating wholesome foods and nibble at foods of low nutritional value. Some girls become very preoccupied with elaborate food preparations but then refuse to eat the finished meals. Many girls engage in self-induced vomiting after eating to ensure that they do not put on any weight. Some indulge in excessive laxative taking for the same reason. Many anorexics exercise for several hours a day to shed extra pounds (of which there are none). According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, 0.5%-3.7% of women will suffer from anorexia nervosa at some point in their lives.

Symptoms of Anorexia

Some experts feel that demands from society and families could possibly be underlying causes for anorexia. For many individuals with anorexia, the destructive cycle begins with the pressure to be thin and attractive. A poor self-image compounds the problem. Anorexia usually begins with the patient dieting to lose weight. Eventually the desire to lose weight becomes an obsession. Psychiatric problems may include anxiety, mood and personality disorders. Physical indications of anorexia include nervousness, fatigue or hyperactivity, dry skin, hair loss and intolerance to cold. Denial and secrecy frequently accompany other symptoms. As the disease worsens, menstruation ceases and nutritional deficiencies develop. If the disease remains unchecked, serious consequences may result. Anorexia brings about a progressive deterioration in most body organs. It could result in cardiac arrhythmias, loss of bone mass, kidney failure and even death.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious condition that needs attention. In our next post, we will look at some ways to treat this potentially detrimental health issue.

Are you familiar with the condition of anorexia nervosa? Would you like to share any information on it below?


Source: Medicine Net


About the Author

Loraine R. Dégraff

Loraine is a passionate health and wellness writer and is particularly interested in working with the body through diet and nutrition. She currently lives in Queens, NY with her husband and 5 children and would love to talk "health" with you. View all posts with Health Tips.