This devastating and destructive eating disorder usually affects young girls developing into women and self conscious about their body image. Anorexia nervosa typically appears in early to mid-adolescence. It strikes at a time their lives when they have a need to control one element in their lives that they feel they have little to no control over. It is fueled by fear, the fear of being overweight, unattractive and therefore undesirable that contributes to their compulsion to avoid food. Anorexia is further flamed by magazine and media that portray fashion model images of women who maintain an unrealistic pencil thin figure. These images equate thinness with beauty, what young girl’s dream of attaining as they compare their own body to the people they see. These images lead to dissatisfaction with their bodies to such an extreme that they are willing to sacrifice their health to attain it.
Anorexia is considered a psychological disorder since the sufferer has a distorted image of their own bodies, seeing their lean bodies as being fat. Signs of anorexia include being obsessed with counting calories, dramatic weight loss, binging and purging, use of laxatives, excessive exercising and any other means to lose weight. The Anorexia demon carries the potentially good qualities of watching their weight and exercise to the extreme. It is not satisfied with merely losing weight, it seeks to destroy its victim since it has one of the highest death rates of any mental illness health condition.
This elusive demon will remain hidden in secret and denial as it withholds nutrients needed for proper development until it is exposed and confronted. In extreme cases it can cause hair and tooth loss, impaired organ functions, malnutrition conditions that will eventually loss of life if not recognized and addressed.
Treatment for one who suffers from anorexia may begin with psychological, behavioral, and group and family therapy in an outpatient setting, followed up with support groups. Those with anorexia can be treated by a medical doctor, a clinical psychologist, or both, depending upon the progression of the disorder. A psychiatrist with both medical and psychological training is probably the best treatment provider to modify the destructive behavior until a healthy diet and lifestyle is resumed.
While no medications have been identified to reduce the symptoms of anorexia, some of the antidepressant drugs have been shown to be helpful in maintaining an ideal weight after weight has been gained, and in controlling mood and anxiety that may be associated with the condition.
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