Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder of psychiatric origin. Anorexia etymologically means "loss of appetite" and is thus manifests itself by a decrease or loss of nutrition due to a lack of desire or refusal of food. This disease mostly affects women, since 9 out of 10 anorexia nervosa subjects are female. It is however important to note that anyone can be affected: men, women, children and adults. The age at which the disease is most common is said to be between 12 and 20 years.
Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric illness and manifests itself in different ways. Here are the common symptoms that are observed, but not all are always present:
- Unlike regular anorexia, in which case the person affected has no appetite, anorexia nervosa is a voluntary restriction of food.
- A person with anorexia imposes severe dietary restrictions on himself.
- People with anorexia nervosa have an essentially lower body weight. Weight loss in extreme cases can cause a decrease of up to 50% of initial weight.
- An increase in sports and / or intellectual activities is also possible, sometimes accompanied by sexual disorders.
- Taking laxatives, appetite suppressants, bingeing, vomiting...
- The absence of menstruation is often present.
- Psychological disorders are in the forefront, with impaired perception of body image, lack of confidence, a perfectionist personality; all of these without the patient willing to recognize his problem.
- At advanced stages, symptoms related to biological deficiencies appear and are accentuated as the disorder persists.
Only a professional can make a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. The doctor can help to avoid confusion between anorexia nervosa and other diseases causing loss of appetite cutting that lead anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is not just about the weight loss it causes, but also the psychological state of the person. Weight loss is related to a deeper disorder, a malaise, anxiety, or impaired perception of a person's body and weight.
The main obstacle in the treatment against anorexia nervosa is the willingness of the patient to accept to be treated. Often, the person with anorexia nervosa does not see himself as a patient and thus rejects any outside attempts to help. The starting point of the treatment will not be the same depending on the severity of the condition of the person. Hospitalization may be the first course for the weakest people, while for others the first treatment is psychotherapy and / or the help of a dietician or a doctor.
There is no prevention against anorexia. The best course of action is to keep an open dialogue with a person who shows signs of weight loss and refusal of food. It is especially important to not rush the person, who will in turn become more closed up. However, some tend to suggest that anorexia nervosa may be related to three factors:
- a social factor, the importance given to physical perfection by the press;
- a psycho-emotional factor, appearing when a person is anxious and can not find satisfaction in his relationship with his environment;
- a final factor, related to personal confidence.