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Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa drink and drugs advice line

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image, and a relentless pursuit of thinness. People with anorexia often have an excessive preoccupation with food, weight, and body shape, leading to restrictive eating behaviours and severe weight loss.

Some key features and symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:

  1. Restrictive eating: Individuals with anorexia severely restrict their food intake, often consuming significantly fewer calories than their body requires to maintain a healthy weight. They may strictly control portion sizes, count calories obsessively, and avoid certain food groups or types of food.

  2. Intense fear of weight gain: People with anorexia have an extreme fear of gaining weight or becoming “fat,” even when they are significantly underweight. They may have a distorted perception of their body size and shape, believing they are larger than they actually are.

  3. Body image distortion: Anorexia involves a distorted body image, where individuals perceive themselves as overweight or obese despite being underweight. This distorted perception contributes to their relentless pursuit of thinness.

  4. Excessive exercise: Many individuals with anorexia engage in excessive and compulsive exercise as a way to burn calories and control weight. They may have rigid exercise routines and feel anxious or guilty if they are unable to exercise.

  5. Social withdrawal and isolation: Anorexia can lead to social withdrawal and isolation as individuals may avoid social situations involving food or feel self-conscious about their appearance. They may also experience difficulties in relationships due to their preoccupation with food and weight.

  6. Physical complications: Anorexia can cause severe physical health problems, including malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, gastrointestinal issues, hormonal disturbances, cardiovascular problems, weakened bones (osteoporosis), and a weakened immune system.

  7. Emotional and psychological effects: Anorexia can lead to emotional and psychological distress, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, perfectionism, and low self-esteem.

Treatment for anorexia nervosa typically involves a multidisciplinary approach, including medical, nutritional, and psychological interventions. It may include medical monitoring, nutritional counselling, therapy (such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or family-based therapy), and support groups. Early intervention and ongoing support are crucial for recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with anorexia nervosa, it’s important to seek professional help from healthcare providers or specialised eating disorder treatment centres. They can provide a comprehensive assessment and develop an individualised treatment plan.

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