What does anorexia feel like

Anorexia nervosa

What causes anorexia?

There is no single cause of anorexia. It usually develops because of a combination of factors.

Common traits

People with anorexia often have common traits, including:

  • low self-esteem, feeling worthless or like you’re not good enough. Losing weight can start to feel like a sense of achievement or a way to feel a sense of worth
  • perfectionism
  • having other mental health conditions, particularly depression, self-harm and anxiety
  • finding it hard to handle stress and cope with life
  • obsessive or compulsive behaviours (read our page on obsessive-compulsive disorder)

Social and cultural pressure

Society places a lot of importance on body image, meaning we’re constantly told that how we look reflects our worth. This can leave us feeling ashamed if we don’t fit the model of a ‘good body’.

While these pressures don’t cause eating disorders, they can make us feel we’re not good enough or negatively affect our self-esteem. This can trigger an eating disorder in people already vulnerable to developing one.

Biological and genetic factors

Research shows there may be genetic links to anorexia. The brain chemicals that control our hunger, appetite and digestion can also make us more likely to develop anorexia. If we have too much or too little of these brain chemicals or are particularly sensitive to them, our appetite and mood can be affected.

What help is available?

Living with anorexia can be incredibly difficult, but so too can the idea of recovery. If anorexia has become a big part of your identity, you might wonder who you’ll be without it. You might be afraid of not being in control of your food or of how your body might change. It can take time to feel ready to try to recover. Think about what recovery might look like to you and what the benefits could be. Change is possible, even if it doesn't feel like it right now.

If you think you have anorexia, start by talking to your GP. They may not be an expert in treating eating disorders, but they will be able to assess any physical symptoms and then refer you to specialist eating disorder services.

Talking therapies

Talking therapies can help you identify the feelings and fears that triggered your anorexia and help you develop a healthier attitude towards food and your body. You may be offered:

  • Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT). This looks at past experiences and events to help you understand why you think, feel and behave the way you do now. Your therapist will then help you develop new tools to cope in a healthier way
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This focuses on identifying and changing the thoughts and beliefs that may trigger your anorexia. Your therapist will help you understand and change disordered thoughts such as ‘everyone thinks I am fat’. You may set homework and goals around challenging any unhealthy rules you have around food.

Support for children and young people

The ‘Maudsley Approach’ is a type of therapy to help children and young people with anorexia. It involves parents taking an active role in helping to get their child’s weight to a normal level, giving control of eating choices back to the child and then encouraging them to develop healthy independence.


You may be offered antidepressants alongside self-help or therapy to manage other conditions such as depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, antidepressants shouldn’t be the only treatment you’re offered. 

Inpatient treatment

Most people with anorexia won’t need to go to hospital. However, if your weight is very low, you may be admitted. Your treatment could involve counselling, group and family therapy, and working with a dietician and mental health team.

Ways you can look after yourself

It’s difficult to recover from an eating disorder on your own, but there are things you can try alongside treatment and support. Beat has many tips for recovery, and Mind has ideas for self-care, including managing relapses, changing unhealthy routines and being careful online.

You may find that support groups are useful. It can be comforting to talk to others with the same feelings and experiences. You could join Beat’s online support group for people with anorexia.

What Is Living with Anorexia Like? Plus Tips to Heal

Living with anorexia can mean your mood and self-esteem are tied to how you feel about your body size, weight, and eating habits.

A persistent fear of weight gain can impact many areas of your life if you have anorexia nervosa (commonly called anorexia).

It can affect anybody and any body — you can experience anorexia symptoms regardless of your current body size or shape.

Anorexia can make you feel dissatisfied with your body, leading you to restrict food, exercise excessively, or overuse medications in an effort to reach ever-present weight goals.

Though it is an eating disorder, anorexia isn’t fully about what you eat. It’s about using food, exercise, medications, and other methods to manage how you feel about your body.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), anorexia is classified as a mental health condition that creates a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight.

The feelings that come with anorexia can be so strong they often lead to weight loss that can impact your health and well-being.

About 0.3% of teens from 13 to 18 years old experience anorexia. Other research states that 0.9–4% of women will experience anorexia at some point.

Meanwhile, about 10% of anorexia cases impact men. But due to stigma, men may be less likely to report an eating disorder such as anorexia.

Some symptoms and signs of anorexia include:

  • restricted food intake that leads to weight loss or malnutrition
  • intense fear of gaining weight or getting bigger
  • a gap between how you experience your body and how others see it
  • feeling like your body shape or weight determines whether you feel good or bad about yourself
  • a lack of recognition that your eating habits or behaviors are negatively impacting your health and relationships

While the DSM-5 mentions body mass index (BMI) as a way to help diagnose anorexia, many people living with anorexia would not be considered underweight according to the BMI scale. This is called atypical anorexia.

Atypical anorexia usually impacts people with obesity or people considered overweight according to the BMI. If you have atypical anorexia, you may have lost a significant amount of weight in a short time but still be considered to have an average weight.

The myth that anorexia equals a small body can make it harder for people with atypical anorexia to get the care they need. One study found that people with a history of overweight or obesity were less likely to get inpatient care for anorexia than those who had started at a lower weight.

There are also two subtypes of anorexia. While they can appear separately, some people experience both at the same time or at different times:

  • Restricting subtype. If you live with this type of anorexia, you may be focused on limiting food intake.
  • Binge/purging subtype. If you live with this type of anorexia, you may find yourself in cycles of binge eating and then finding ways to eliminate that food intake.

Your body might be any size if you live with anorexia. The effects of anorexia — such as malnutrition and isolation — can harm your mental and physical well-being over time.

Living with anorexia can feel like being trapped — trapped by food restrictions, trapped by a need to be the “perfect” weight, and trapped by fear of judgment from family and friends.

Many people who live with anorexia have perfectionistic tendencies. They can be very critical of their bodies and may often experience low self-esteem.

One study also suggests that people with anorexia are likely to have low self-directedness, or capacity to adapt. For example, if you live with anorexia, you might have a harder time dealing with change than other people do.

Behavior patterns related to anorexia may also be a part of your daily life. These patterns can impact your emotional health and isolate you from people you care about.

For example, you might:

  • Find that food-related habits make it harder for you to participate in celebrations or traditions that involve food.
  • Feel a lot of stress or anxiety when someone invites you eat at a restaurant when you’re not familiar with the food options.
  • Experience strong feelings of anger when a family member or someone else offers you food. It might feel like they’re trying to “sabotage” you.
  • Have a rigid exercise schedule that gets in the way of other aspects of your life. And you might get strong feelings of anxiety or anger if something interrupts that schedule.
  • Find that food or your body size is constantly on your mind, to the point that you feel like these things affect every part of your life.
  • Avoid plans with friends when you think those plans might mess up your eating or exercise schedule.
  • Experience deep shame or even self-hatred if you eat certain foods or feel like you haven’t lived up to your own standards.
  • Feel like your whole day is ruined if your food or exercise plans get disrupted.

If you live with anorexia, you might have thoughts like “Eating this or that will make me gain weight” or “Because of the way I am, I can’t eat ‘normal’ foods like everyone else.

One tricky thing about anorexia is that over time, it can really separate you from the feeling of living life fully. But if these experiences sound familiar, there is hope. Many people have used resources and support to heal from anorexia, and so can you.

Anorexia affects your body, mind, and emotions.

It can also influence many aspects of your life, from keeping you isolated from family and friends to holding you back from pursuing professional opportunities.

In your body, anorexia can cause:

  • dizziness or a faint feeling
  • a frequent cold feeling
  • fatigue or trouble sleeping
  • hair thinning or loss
  • brittle hair and nails
  • dry, blotchy, or yellow skin
  • growth of fine hair all over your body
  • low blood pressure
  • weak muscles
  • swollen joints
  • irregular or missing periods
  • constipation

Many physical effects of anorexia come from not getting enough nutrition and energy to keep your body working as it should. Over time, the malnutrition caused by restricting food often leads to these physical impacts.

Living with anorexia affects your mental health and emotions too.

Anorexia might make you feel:

  • sad or depressed
  • moody
  • confused
  • indecisive
  • foggy
  • irritable or angry
  • numb
  • anxious
  • worthless
  • inadequate
  • guilty or ashamed
  • misunderstood
  • stifled
  • out of control
  • isolated

Emotional regulation (managing emotions) is a challenge for many people with anorexia. A lot of research suggests that anorexia and other eating disorders are maladaptive (unhelpful) ways for some people to deal with difficult emotions.

Anorexia doesn’t tend to go away on its own. And in the long term, it can cause complications like:

  • organ failure
  • poor brain function
  • reduced bone density
  • clinical depression
  • difficulty getting pregnant
  • substance use disorders

In severe cases, anorexia can even lead to death.

These effects are one reason why treatment — meaning, the right treatment for you — is so important. With the right support, you can gain a sense of empowerment and self-esteem that’s not tied to food or your body.

According to older research, more than half, or 55%, of those living with anorexia have a coexisting mental health condition.

Some common co-occurring conditions are:

  • anxiety disorders
  • depressive disorders
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • personality disorders
  • substance use disorders
  • schizophrenia

Anorexia could also be more common in people with developmental conditions like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In most cases, treatment that addresses anorexia and your other mental health needs and symptoms may work better for you.

If you have another condition alongside anorexia, you might experience the following.


Most research suggests that just over half of people living with anorexia also have a depressive disorder.

In many causes, depression is a result of living with anorexia. Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness that come with depression can make you feel more alone or make you even less likely to reach out for support.


Anxiety can cause chronic feelings of stress and worry. Around 60% of people with anorexia may also live with an anxiety disorder.

Some anxiety disorders linked to anorexia include:

  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • separation anxiety disorder
  • OCD
  • panic disorder

Some researchers suggest anorexia could even be a form of OCD, although it’s not currently categorized that way.

Substance use

Approximately 12–18% of adults with anorexia have a substance use disorder.

Substance use doesn’t always develop at the same time as anorexia. Many people live with substance use disorder before, during, or after discovering they have another mental health condition.

In some cases, people with anorexia use substances in an attempt to reduce appetite, lose weight, or purge. And in other cases, substance use may be another maladaptive way to manage overwhelming emotions.

Finding the path forward to positive body image and self-worth can take time and a different approach for each person.

What works for you may not work for other folks, and you might try multiple approaches before you find what feels right.

Finding support often means looking for health professionals such as:

  • licensed counselors or psychologists
  • registered dietitians
  • nurses or doctors

It’s often important for your health professional to have experience working with people who have eating disorders.

Some popular options for anorexia treatment include:

  • Medical treatment. If malnutrition due to anorexia has caused physical health issues, medical treatment could help with these effects.
  • Medication. If you have symptoms of another mental health condition, medications such as antidepressants could aid in anorexia recovery.
  • Nutritional counseling. A registered dietitian can help you learn and practice new patterns of eating that make your body stronger.
  • Therapy. You might work with a therapist to process the mental and emotional impacts of anorexia.
  • Inpatient care. If you need immediate help for anorexia, inpatient facilities can provide a higher level of care and support.
  • Support programs. Residential programs provide round-the-clock support and resources to help you heal from anorexia. Day programs can be a good option if you don’t need as much intensive support.

When looking for the approach to care that’s right for you, it’s important to choose professionals who are knowledgeable and understanding. You can learn more about finding the right treatment for you here.

If you need help right now

If you’re living with anorexia and don’t know what to do — or feel like you need to talk to someone about it — you have options:

  • You can call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-4357 for mental health support.
  • You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text “HOME” to 741741 if suicidal thoughts are surfacing.
  • If you’re not in the United States, you can find a helpline in your country with Befrienders Worldwide.

You can also reach out to the National Eating Disorders Association’s helpline to learn more about eating disorder resources that are available to you.

Let’s be clear: This isn’t a self-help guide to anorexia treatment. The most effective care for anorexia — care that leads to long-term healing — will likely involve some level of professional support.

But during your recovery process, it can help to build up your self-care toolkit too. This will be different for everyone but might look like:

Taking a closer look at your self-talk

If you have anorexia, your inner voice might feel more like an inner bully. Sometimes it can help to challenge your self-talk when it’s putting you down.

You can do this on your own or with the help of a therapist. Try taking a moment to reflect on or write down some things you like about yourself (beyond physical qualities).

Consider rethinking words that break down your self-image. Focus on empowering yourself with supportive, encouraging words.

Trying some new foods

If you work with a nutritionist or dietitian, they’ll likely have some good recommendations for you. One thing that could help smooth the recovery process is finding foods that bring you joy.

While eating provides our bodies with necessary nutrients, it can also bring us pleasure and connect us with others.

Moving, but gently

For many people with anorexia, exercise (especially intense exercise) could be a triggering activity. But there are many gentler ways to move your body if you want to.

Taking walks around your neighborhood or in a peaceful outdoor area, doing yoga, walking your dog, or even working on a hobby that requires some movement might be a way to benefit from movement without overdoing it, especially at first.

Getting back into exercise after an eating disorder can be a process, and consulting with your doctor and trusting yourself can be key parts of it.

Finding what makes you feel good

Some research suggests that sensitivity could factor into anorexia for some people. For people with high sensitivity and anorexia, the high sensitivity will likely remain even after the eating disorder heals.

You may be able to manage this by taking care of yourself in ways that keep you from becoming overstimulated. For instance, the feeling of clothes against the skin might cause distress for some people. It’s OK to find clothes that feel better on your skin.

Options like meditation and breathing techniques could also help you find calm if you’re starting to feel overstimulated.

Building your support network

It’s likely that someone around you wants to be there for you. This could mean a family member, a friend, or a support group that encourages discussion about life with anorexia. It could be helpful to find these people and keep them close.

Healing from anorexia can feel like a journey. At times, it might even be painful, difficult, and emotionally exhausting — but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever.

When you’re ready to move toward recovery, plenty of people and support networks are available to walk with you down that road.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be experiencing anorexia, local healthcare and mental health professionals can explore this possibility with you.

You don’t have to feel like anorexia controls your life. With help, you can find empowerment and self-love.

causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

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12713 01 September nine0013


The information in this section should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For diagnosis and proper treatment, you should contact your doctor.
For a correct assessment of the results of your analyzes in dynamics, it is preferable to do studies in the same laboratory, since different laboratories may use different research methods and units of measurement to perform the same analyzes. nine0013

Anorexia: causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.


Anorexia nervosa, or anorexia nervosa (Twiggy's syndrome), is a serious psychiatric eating disorder characterized by a craving for weight loss, a fear of obesity, and a distorted perception of one's body. Its mortality in some countries reaches 18%.

Anorexia affects predominantly women, and, as a rule, young people - age 95% of patients is 12-30 years old.

There is evidence that in recent years the percentage of patients with anorexia among young men has been growing in economically developed countries. The disease is often accompanied by other mental disorders.

Causes of anorexia

Anorexia can be caused by many factors.

  • Family. There is evidence that in approximately 42% of cases in patients diagnosed with anorexia, family relationships were characterized by a high level of conflict or one of the parents suffered from alcoholism. Eating disorders in relatives increase the likelihood of the child's disease, as well as their tendency to be overweight. nine0004
  • Biological. In people with obesity, early menarche, anorexia is more often detected due to hormonal dysfunction (excessive production of leptin and dysfunction of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine).
  • Cultural. The modern fashion for thinness, which since childhood has caused increased concern about their weight and appearance, leads women and girls to resort to strict diets.
  • Stress. nine0047 Anorexia can be triggered by any stressful situations (death of a loved one, divorce, sexual abuse, etc.).
  • Social. Difficulties in social adaptation, ridicule at school or bad relationship experience can be a trigger for the development of anorexia. Modern social networks enable girls who are fond of unhealthy weight loss to unite in groups and feel supported.
  • Genetic. Research is currently underway to link the genetic predisposition to anorexia and other emotional disorders.

Classification of the disease

There are two types of anorexia nervosa:

  • Restrictive type - characterized by a sharp restriction in food, episodes of overeating, which do not end artificially with vomiting. Often patients exhaust themselves with excessive physical exertion. nine0004
  • Cleansing type - patients with this type of anorexia constantly overeat and induce vomiting, take laxatives, diuretics, enemas.

According to the severity anorexia nervosa is classified based on body mass index (BMI):

  • mild - BMI is 17-17.99;
  • moderate - BMI is 16-16.99;
  • severe - BMI is 15-15.99;
  • nine0009 extreme - BMI less than 15.

Symptoms of anorexia

The disease is divided into periods, each of which is characterized by certain symptoms:

Dysmorphomanic – this period is characterized by the predominance of thoughts about one's own imperfection over actions. A person is depressed, feels anxiety, can look at himself in the mirror for a long time. The first restrictions on food with the help of diets begin.

Anorexia is defined as persistent starvation when the loss of body weight is 20-50% of the original weight. Patients feel the joy of the effect of losing weight and tighten the diet even more.

Significant weight loss is accompanied by dizziness, weakness, slowing of the heart rate, and a decrease in blood pressure.

Due to the systematically induced vomiting, dehydration occurs. At this stage, secondary diseases of the gastrointestinal tract appear - gastroenterocolitis, gastroenteroptosis, so refusal to eat is now associated not only with the fear of gaining weight, but also with the fear of pain in the abdomen. In addition, dry skin appears, hair loss increases, the menstrual cycle in women and spermatogenesis in men are upset, and libido decreases. nine0013

The cachexic period is characterized by irreversible dystrophy of the internal organs, and the loss of body weight is already more than 50% of the initial weight. The changes that occur can lead to death, although patients still believe that they are overweight and refuse to eat, which is regarded as a delusional disorder.

Reduction of anorexia nervosa . If the disease is diagnosed on time and the correct treatment is carried out, then the mental and somatic state gradually normalizes and the patient recovers. nine0013

Diagnosis of anorexia

Diagnosis of anorexia nervosa primarily consists of a thorough history taking. The doctor finds out the duration of the change in eating behavior, the presence of allergies, a detailed diet, the dynamics of growth, weight, body mass index, whether vomiting was practiced, the use of enemas, the use of drugs for weight loss, the presence of increased physical activity, the frequency of episodes of bulimia, evaluates the characteristics of menstrual cycle. nine0013

A thorough examination of the patient is carried out in order to determine the general condition of the body and identify concomitant pathologies.

  • Blood test to detect anemia.

Diagnosis of anemia

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  • Blood chemistry (total protein, protein fractions, short lived proteins (transferrin/ferritin, prealbumin if available), creatinine, urea, uric acid, bilirubin, cholesterol, triglycerides, electrolytes (calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus) , iron, AST, ALT, alkaline phosphatase, GGT, amylase, CPK, acute phase proteins (C-reactive protein).These studies assess the function of the liver and kidneys, metabolism, water-salt balance and microelement composition.
  • Blood biochemistry: advanced profile

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  • General urinalysis (Urine analysis with sediment microscopy)

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  • ECG to detect cardiac disorders.
  • ECG with interpretation0013

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  • Diuresis control.
  • Gastroscopy to evaluate the condition of the stomach and duodenum.
  • Gastroscopy

    Examination of the mucous membrane of the upper gastrointestinal tract with the possibility of biopsy or endoscopic removal of small pathological. ..

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  • An MRI of the brain may be required if organic brain damage is suspected.
  • MRI of the brain

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  • ECHO-KG is performed to rule out valvular heart disease and assess myocardial contractility. nine0004


    Examination to evaluate functional and organic changes in the heart, its contractility, as well as the condition of the valvular apparatus.

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    Which doctors to contact

    If you suspect anorexia nervosa, you should consult a psychiatrist.

    Other specialists may need to be consulted after diagnosis: endocrinologist, gynecologist, gastroenterologist, nutritionist. nine0013

    Anorexia treatment

    Treatment of anorexia takes place in two stages:

    • Rehabilitation . Treatment does not end with discharge from the hospital - psychotherapy and diet therapy should be continued further, and depending on the initial condition of the patient, recovery can take from several months to several years.


    Without timely help, anorexia can lead to many somatic complications, such as growth retardation and sexual development, degenerative changes in the skin and muscles, chronic constipation, secondary amenorrhea, osteoporosis, bone fractures, myocardial dystrophy. In addition, there is a high risk of substance abuse and depression, which increase the likelihood of suicide. nine0013

    Mortality in severe cases of anorexia reaches 7%.

    Anorexia Prevention

    Prevention of anorexia can only be at the level of society and family. It is important to reduce the risk factors that can lead to the development of anorexia, and to identify the disease in the early stages, preventing the disease from causing significant damage to the patient's physical and mental health.


    1. Clinical guidelines (protocols for managing patients) developed by the chief freelance specialists of the Moscow City Health Department "Protocol (algorithm) for managing patients with anorexia nervosa in a hospital setting". - M.: KST Interforum LLC, 2015 - 16 p. nine0004
    2. Pichikov A.A., Popov. Anorexia nervosa in adolescent girls: course options, relapse factors and suicidal risk in the early stages of therapy // Review of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology. No. 4, 2017, pp. 41-50.
    3. Zakharova L.I. Anorexia nervosa: prevalence, diagnostic criteria and psychosomatic correlations (review) // Scientific results of biomedical research. 2019. V. 5, No. 1. S. 108-121. DOI: 10.18413/2313-8955-2019-5-1-0-8
    4. nine0277


      The information in this section should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For diagnosis and proper treatment, you should contact your doctor.
      For a correct assessment of the results of your analyzes in dynamics, it is preferable to do studies in the same laboratory, since different laboratories may use different research methods and units of measurement to perform the same analyzes. nine0013


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      Anorexia - symptoms (signs), diagnosis and treatment of a mental disorder in Moscow

      Anorexia - a nervous disorder in which there is a partial or complete refusal to eat, there is no appetite when food is needed. This is the main symptom of the disease, which is accompanied by problems in the functioning of the nervous system, metabolism, and other ailments.

      The article will discuss the stages, symptoms and treatment of anorexia. You will learn what anorexia means, how to recognize and overcome it. nine0013

      Seek medical attention if symptoms occur. The information on the page is for reference only and cannot be used for self-diagnosis and self-treatment.

      Article content:

      • Signs of anorexia
      • Symptoms of anorexia
      • Diagnosis of anorexia
      • Treatment of anorexia
      • "Non-specific" step
      • "Specific" stage
      • Recovery period
      • nine0009 How to overcome anorexia

      The consequences of anorexia

      Diagnosis and treatment is complicated by the fact that people do not seek help until the situation becomes life-threatening:

      • according to statistics, 20% of people die due to serious changes in internal organs, exhaustion;
      • Due to psychological problems, many patients resort to suicide.

      Mental disorder - anorexia

      Anorexia is more likely to become noticeable due to a person's underweight. How does anorexia manifest itself? Main features:

      • the patient is terribly afraid of gaining weight, which comes to the point of absurdity - for example, some people count rice grains before eating;
      • scales become your best friend - regular weighings are made several times a day;
      • free time is devoted to weight loss - counting calories, getting acquainted with information about new diets;
      • a person is dissatisfied with his appearance, complains of fat even with severe thinness - a symptom confirms that anorexia is a problem that seriously affects thinking and self-perception; nine0004
      • when it is impossible to resist hunger, laxatives, diuretics are used after lunch or dinner;
      • even with severe weakness, sports training occurs regularly;
      • is characterized by the rejection of fatty foods, meat in favor of vegetables and fruits.
      What should I do if I have one or more symptoms? Do not self-medicate, consult a specialist.

      Anorexia often occurs in patients from 12 to 20 years old, when a person begins to build relationships with society. During this period, parents should pay attention to the teenager. There is dissatisfaction with appearance - and without objective reasons, which leads to the study of information about diets, fear of obesity. nine0013

      An alarm if a relative with a good appetite switches to low-fat yoghurts and other low-calorie foods. Don't ignore strange eating habits: eating small plates, chopping food, swallowing food without chewing.

      Watch for early symptoms of anorexia and watch for unusual behaviors such as loss of social circle, secrecy, sleep problems, irritability, baggy clothing, hormonal imbalances, thinness. Do not put pressure on the child by talking, especially since self-diagnosis is impossible. If a teenager avoids communication, try to persuade him to visit a psychologist. nine0013

      Causes of the development of the disorder

      In the course of diagnosis, groups of symptoms are distinguished:

      • innate personality traits — increased emotional sensitivity, anxiety, a tendency to perfectionism, behavioral rigidity;
      • psychological factors - self-doubt, dissatisfaction with the body, a feeling of inability to control one's life, lack of skills to regulate intense painful emotions;
      • physiological disorders - hormonal imbalance and features of the release of the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for the feeling of hunger, satiety; nine0004
      • neurophysiological causes - features of the functioning of brain areas responsible for obtaining pleasure and satisfaction, feeling full, taste perception;
      • increased activity of the zone, which is responsible for the formation, strengthening of habits;
      • hypersensitivity to sensations from internal organs;
      • hereditary factors - a number of studies show the relationship between the presence of genes and the risk of developing ED.

      Symptoms of anorexia arise from a lack of acceptance of one's own body. If at the same time conflicts, resentments occur in the family, or unpleasant remarks about appearance are used, then an alarming concern about weight appears.

      Other factors cause rapid weight loss and impaired hunger. Appetite problems are a relatively common symptom when taking medication. Sometimes this property of drugs is used intentionally to cope with excess weight, which is the abuse of drugs. nine0013

      The development of exhaustion while taking antidepressants should be considered separately. This type of loss of appetite and weight loss is not anorexia nervosa. The treatment of psychological problems should be supervised by a physician to monitor the side effects of therapy. In the case of depression, the detected loss of appetite may not even be noticed by the patient. Changes in appetite and weight loss are common symptoms of this disease. The patient may hide part of the information from the doctor, which will complicate the diagnosis. nine0013

      Symptoms and treatment of anorexia

      In addition to obsession with weight loss, diagnostics reveals other destructive symptoms of the disease. Patients experience worsening sleep, muscle cramps, dry hair, pale skin, bad mood, dizziness, muscle atrophy, sunken eyes, age spots appear. In advanced cases, teeth and hair begin to fall out, menstruation in women disappears, fainting often occurs.

      The person does not think about the treatment of anorexia due to the gradual development of the disease. At first, there is only dissatisfaction with the appearance associated with being overweight. But soon it turns into a struggle with the body, which is accompanied by an unhealthy refusal to eat. The first results of weight loss improve mood, but dissatisfaction soon returns. a new weight loss cycle begins. A person may not notice a symptom that manifests itself in weakness or feeling unwell. On average, after a year, anorexia becomes visible from the side, then urgent treatment in a hospital is required. nine0013

      An eating disorder is not limited to dissatisfaction with oneself and appearance. Even in the absence of a fatal outcome, an untimely visit to a doctor threatens with problems. The brain is undernourished, so concentration is reduced. In the list of symptoms of anorexia, you can add memory impairment, the appearance of mood swings. A person avoids communication, depression develops, alcohol abuse begins. Immunity is rapidly declining, which can cause complications, exacerbate chronic pathologies. nine0013

      Osteoporosis develops due to mineral metabolism disorders, respectively, the risk of fractures increases, pain occurs in the vertebral zone, growth decreases. The amount of sugar in the blood decreases, cerebral edema, a feeling of fear, convulsions, hallucinations, and even coma may appear. There are problems with the heart, the hormonal background is disturbed, tantrums appear, menstruation disappears in women, there is a risk of infertility, and other disorders.

      Diagnosis of anorexia

      Interview with the patient is an important part of the diagnosis of the disease:

      • compared to the recommended body weight, the weight is permanently reduced by 15%;
      • the desire to lose weight with drugs, vomiting or deliberate refusal to eat;
      • the fear of fullness constantly appears in the conversation, a distorted perception of the body is noticed;
      • for adolescents, a serious symptom is the cessation of growth and the cessation of natural development.

      After the interview, the diagnosis of physiological parameters begins. For this, blood tests for sugar, thyroid hormones are prescribed. The Center for the Study of Eating Disorders recommends a CT scan of the brain. Girls need to consult a gynecologist to determine or exclude the symptoms of the disease in this profile. nine0013


      Anorexia nervosa also affects the human psyche. Therefore, treatment at the Center for the Study of Eating Disorders is built taking into account this factor. First, the stage of the disease, the degree of physiological changes are identified. A thorough diagnosis of the patient's condition is carried out - each symptom is important, affects the overall clinical picture and treatment methods.

      Doctors strive to solve the following problems:

      • exclude serious weight loss, the onset of irreversible dystrophy; nine0004
      • stop large water losses, as it is life-threatening;
      • to restore the correct ratio of electrolytes in the blood.

      Treatment of anorexia involves the involvement of psychologists and psychiatrists in the process. At the first stage of the disease, the patient needs psychological help. If the diagnosis revealed a different stage, then an integrated approach is needed here, since there is a direct threat to life. Hospitalization is often required.


      “Non-specific” stage of treatment

      The main symptom of this stage of anorexia is problems with eating. Treatment lasts about three weeks and includes:

      • Bed rest - the patient rests and refuses physical activity.
      • Meals - a balanced diet, which is selected by a nutritionist.
      • The diet consists of those products that do not provoke additional irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. Salt, seasonings are excluded, heat treatment of food is used: cooking, steaming. Products that provoke gas formation in the intestines, fresh fruits and vegetables are excluded. nine0004
      • Complete physical examination of the patient.
      • Administering Parenteral Nutrition—Volume and rate of administration are calculated from the results of a complete examination.
      • Prescribing a course of vitamins and microelements necessary for recovery, drugs that help the gastrointestinal tract function normally.
      • The appointment of drug therapy aimed at reducing depressive symptoms, anxiety, aggression, tearfulness.
      • nine0009 Monitoring that the patient does not get rid of food - antiemetics are used, constant supervision of the nurse.
      • Calorie control - in case of refusal of food, the patient is prescribed additional replacement medical nutrition in the form of a drink with a nutrient mixture. In case of complete refusal of food, enteral nutrition can be used as a temporary measure.
      • Gradual increase in calorie intake - the goal is to gain two or three kilograms.
      • nine0011

        "Special" stage

        When it is possible to partially overcome the symptom of lack of appetite, cope with vomiting, food aversion, the doctors of the Center for the Study of Eating Disorders proceed to the next stage. The treatment lasts up to 9 weeks, during which the patient begins to move, refuse bed rest, gradually return to a normal lifestyle.

        Anorexia is difficult, so tranquilizers may be prescribed to relieve symptoms and signs of anxiety. Treatment includes:

        • Individual psychotherapy - the patient must be aware of the consequences of fasting, learn to regulate their emotions in healthy ways.
        • Group psychotherapy - they renew the socialization of the patient, help to see understanding from other people, to hear new opinions about the disorder.
        • Conducting family therapy - the participation of loved ones in the treatment of anorexia is a significant factor in recovery. During therapy, new communication skills are formed.
        • nine0009 Transition to a normal diet - complete restoration of body weight to normal.

        To make sure that there are no pathologies, a repeated diagnosis is carried out, additional treatment of concomitant diseases is prescribed. Even with a normal diet, preventive psychotherapy is required, which will eliminate the return of fears and anxiety in relation to food.

        Recovery period

        If the diagnosis has revealed anorexia, then there is a long way to a healthy perception of yourself and your body. To recover from prolonged exhaustion, it is important to observe bed rest at first. You should not start activity even with a feeling of relief - it can be deceiving. nine0013

        During this period, it is especially important to monitor food intake. It is better to eat many times a day in small portions. Typically, treatment involves six meals a day. It is not recommended to replace high-calorie meals with their counterparts, as the body needs nutrients.

        Anorexia causes fear of the weight gain needed to save a life. Group therapy helps, where you can talk with people who are on the mend, or even coped with the disease.


        Individual consultations with a psychologist are also important, because the symptom of self-hatred does not appear without a reason. If internal conflicts are not resolved, then treatment will be useless. It is important to diagnose other psychological problems - depression, trauma.

        How to avoid a recurrence

        The symptoms and treatment of anorexia are such that there is a risk that the problem will recur. Building healthy relationships with loved ones, getting rid of self-doubt is impossible in one day. Some people need years of communication with a psychologist to gain complete control over their relationship with the body. nine0013

        Therefore, the preventive therapy of anorexia at the Center for the Study of Eating Disorders is to restore self-confidence, a healthy lifestyle. If one of your relatives is unsuccessfully struggling with being overweight or obsessed with a figure, then send him to a nutritionist and psychologist. During consultations, a person normalizes the attitude towards the body and receives a balanced nutrition plan that will not harm health.

        It is worth treating yourself kindly, paying attention to your own successes.

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