Anorexia or anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes extreme disturbances in eating behavior. Someone with anorexia will refuse to stay at a healthy body weight. Anorexia nervosa is most likely to affect women between the ages of 12 and 25. Many cases of anorexia nervosa affect women, but men can be affected as well.
The majority of anorexia in teenagers occurs in upper- and middle-class families, but it can happen to anyone across all demographics. That’s why it’s essential to seek medical advice if you believe that a teen you know is struggling with this disorder. If someone you love struggles with an eating disorder, please reach out to Southworth Associates at 844.521.0523 today to host an eating disorder intervention.
What Are the Symptoms of Anorexia?
Some of the most common symptoms of anorexia that you should watch out for include:
- Counting calories and fat in a diet
- Hair loss
- Slow heart rate
- Irregular menstruation/absent menstruation
- Discarding or hiding food
- A distorted view of their body weight
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Intensive dieting or a preoccupation with food
- Excessive or compulsive exercise
- Excessive body or facial hair
- Binge eating
A teen with anorexia may also be socially withdrawn, moody, or depressed.
What Causes Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is most likely to be caused by factors such as:
- Family influences
- Neurochemical and developmental issues
- Social attitudes toward bodily appearance
The typical teen who gets anorexia nervosa is a female who is hard-working, resistant to change, perfectionistic, and introverted. They may have low self-esteem and be prone to avoiding risky or harmful situations or behaviors. They may also have a distorted body image.
Most people who have anorexia begin with a standard diet of some kind. They may become overly focused on increasing the output of calories or minimizing the intake of calories. Initially, this reduces their anxiety, but the habits may cause increased stress, anxiety, and a negative mood over time. In severe cases, there could be physical health concerns.
Are There Different Types of Anorexia?
No. There is only one type of anorexia. Teens with anorexia limit how much they eat and may over-exercise. They may also try to control their weight by forcing themselves to vomit or using laxatives or diuretics.
However, some people confuse anorexia and bulimia. Those with bulimia eat excessive amounts of food and then purge their bodies of the food using vomiting or laxatives. The primary difference between anorexia and bulimia is that those with anorexia limit their food intake, while those with bulimia binge eat.
How Is Anorexia Nervosa Diagnosed?
A physician or psychiatrist can diagnose anorexia nervosa through a series of medical and psychological tests. It’s essential to take your child in to see a professional as soon as you believe that anorexia may be a concern. Early treatment may help them get these feelings under control, so they can eat healthily without lapsing into extreme restrictive episodes or binging.
Is Anorexia Treatable?
Yes. Anorexia is treatable with family therapy, nutritional rehabilitation, behavior modifications, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. The good news is that an expert treatment team can reverse the condition in most people. Then, your teen can manage the feelings that lead to undereating or excessively focusing on food. Unfortunately, there is a real risk of death without treatment due to malnutrition, damage to the heart muscle, anemia, and other conditions.
Contact Southworth Associates International for Help
If you are worried about anorexia in teenagers and need intervention services, we are here to help. At Southworth Associates International, we offer intervention services to help with eating disorders, anorexia in teenagers, addiction, and many other conditions. Call us today to find out more about our intervention services and how to get a teen you know help at 844.521.0523.