What is it?
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which the relentless pursuit of thinness drives a person to resort to strategies for weight loss, resulting in significant weight loss. Anorexic people have an intense fear of gaining weight despite being extremely thin. In 90% of cases, affects adolescent and young adult women, range 12-20 years. It is a disease with clinical risks and may lead to starvation.
What are the causes?
There is no single cause to explain the development of anorexia nervosa. This syndrome is considered multifactor by a mixture of biological, psychological, familial and cultural factors. Some studies have called attention to the extreme valuation of thinness and prejudice with fat in Western societies would be strongly associated with the occurrence of these cases.
How does it develop?
The preoccupation with weight and body shape leads the teenager to open a diet progressively more selective with minimal high-calorie foods. Appear other strategies for weight loss such as: excessive exercise, vomiting, and absolute fasting.
The following people are feeling fat, despite being extremely thin, eventually becoming a slave of the calories and rituals in relation to food. Isolate themselves from family and friends, became increasingly sad, angry and anxious. Hardly a person with anorexia admits the problem and does not accept help in any way. The family sometimes takes time to realize that something is wrong. Thus, people with anorexia nervosa may not receive medical treatment until they have become dangerously thin and malnourished.
* Malnutrition and dehydration.
* Hypotension (low blood pressure).
* Reduced muscle mass.
* Intolerance to cold.
* Decreased gastric motility.
* Amenorrhea (stopping of menstrual cycle).
* Osteoporosis (bone thinning and weakness).
* Infertility in chronic cases.
* More prone to infections with compromised immune systems
How is it prevented?
A decrease in cultural and family pressure regarding the valuation of physical, bodily form and beauty can possibly reduce the incidence of this problem. It is essential to provide information about the risks of strict regimes for obtaining a silhouette "ideal" because they have a key role in triggering eating disorders.
How does it treat it?
Treatment should be carried by a multidisciplinary team consisting of psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician and clinical nutritionist, depending on the complex interaction of emotional and physiological problems in eating disorders.
When diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, the physician should assess whether the patient is at imminent risk of life, thus requiring hospitalization.
The primary objective of treatment is the recovery of body weight through dietary re-education with psychological support. In general, we need some form of psychotherapy to help patients cope with their illness and underlying emotional issues.
Individual psychotherapy (psychotherapy that teaches patients to modify abnormal thoughts and behaviour) are generally very productive.
For the table of anorexia nervosa there is specific medication indicated. The use of antidepressants can be effective if there are persistent symptoms of depression after recovery of body weight.
Treatment of anorexia nervosa is often slow and difficult. The patient must remain in attendance after improvement of symptoms to prevent relapses.