Anorexia nervosa

What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is the diseases manifested as conscious and extremely persistent desire to loose weight. It is often associated with the pathological conviction of the patients in the excessive corpulence (which is often false) of their body or its pats. Anorexia nervosa patient strives to conform to some "ideal" (an actress or model) and to get rid of "excess kilograms" at any cost. However, this should not be confused with the natural wish to loose weight when body mass is excessive indeed. (See determination of body mass index in "Useful Information")

Who may develop anorexia nervosa?
Usually, anorexia nervosa occurs among adolescent girls (from 11-12 years) and young women (up to 25 years).

What are the hazards of anorexia nervosa?
Excessive restriction of food intake leads to serious disorders in the functions of all body systems and to extreme weight loss. In 7-10% of cases, the outcome is lethal.

How does anorexia nervosa develop?
At first, a subject becomes concerned with that he/she is too fat, ugly, etc (which may be not true in fact). Then appetite decreases and may disappear at all. At the same time, the patient is sure that he/she is all right although body mass may decrease by 25%. This stage is also associated with significant endocrine impairments, in particular, with amenorrhea in women. At the next stage, complete emaciation is achieved. At this stage, there is little the patient can do, he cannot resume his normal life and may die of emaciation. The patient has to be hospitalized. Unfortunately, at this stage, patients are not always saved because the are so weak that may be killed by virtually any infection, which, of course, would be defeated by a healthy organism.

What are the signs of anorexia nervosa?
At the first stage, the striving of a patient for loosing weight is taken easily by people around. However, as time passes, alarming symptoms develop, which include the following:

  • adherence of the patient to a very restricted low-calory diet lacking many important nutrients or even committing to complete fasting;
  • confrontation to any attempt to persuade him to eat more;
  • refusal to take meals with his family;
  • attempts to induce vomiting when more food than usual is consumed;
  • taking of laxatives and diuretics;
  • patient's bringing him/herself to exhaustion by intense physical exercises;
  • dissatisfaction with even quite significant weight loss;
  • weakness; and
  • amenorrhea (in women).
  • It should be minded that such behavior may lead to emaciation. When anorexia nervosa is suspected, seeking medical attention is expedient!

    Why does anorexia nervosa develop?
    Refusal from food in adolescence is often a form of unconscious protest against the lack of attention from parents who may care only about the physical needs of their children. Many scientists associate anorexia with emotional disorders. Some researchers regard anorexia as a protest response of a patient to his/her own helplessness. The less someone is able to control his situation, the more helpless he/she feels, and the more strives for control over something, at least, for example, own body weight.

    What kind of doctor should be addressed with regard to anorexia nervosa?
    Anorexia nervosa patients need attention of a qualified physician specialized in managing this disease. It requires specific approaches to be diagnosed and managed. In each case, treatment regimens should be devised on the individual basis with consideration of all reasons that could lead to the disease. The treatment may include special diet involving multiple meals and, also, drug treatment, psychotherapy, and development of normal feeding patterns. Gravely ill patients may be fed parenterally with nutritional solutions. LENMEDCENTER specialists are able to provide such complex treatment ensuring excellent results and stable improvement of patient's condition.