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Anorexia…What You Need To Know

Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to simply as anorexia, is one type of eating disorder.  More importantly, it is also a psychological disorder.  Anorexia is characterized by an irrational dread of becoming fat coupled with a relentless pursuit of thinness. People with anorexia go to extremes­ to reach and maintain a dangerously low body weight. But no matter how much weight is lost, no matter how emaciated they become, it’s never enough. The more the scale dips, the more obsessed they become with food, dieting, and weight loss.   Approximately 95% of those affected by anorexia are female, but males can develop the disorder as well.

While anorexia typically begins to manifest itself during early adolescence, it is also seen in young children and adults.   According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, about one out of every 100 adolescent girls will suffer from this disorder at some point in their lives.  The disorder is thought to be most common among people of higher socioeconomic classes and people involved in activities where thinness is especially looked upon, such as dancing, theater, gymnastics and distance running.

If anorexia continues unchecked, the health problems only get worse. Over time, anorexia causes hair loss, infertility, stunted growth, osteoporosis, heart problems, kidney failure, and death. Other effects of anorexia include tooth decay and gum damage from malnutrition.

Treating anorexia involves three components:

  1. restoring the person to a healthy weight
  2. treating the psychological issues related to the eating disorder
  3. reducing or eliminating behaviors or thoughts that lead to disordered eating, and preventing relapse

For the past nine months, I have been closely working with a young woman, suffering from anorexia.  In hopes of helping others, I have been given permission from the young woman and her family, to share her story.  In the coming weeks, I will share the techniques I have used, and continue to use, to return her to a healthy weight.

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  1. March 8, 2013 at 05:05

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