Anorexia Nervosa

Effects of Anorexia

Anorexia is the pursuit of unhealthy thinness through the use of extreme dieting, excessive exercising, or vomiting. A fear of gaining weight and a distortion of one’s own body image overrides the body’s need for food, resulting in disastrous consequences to the body. The long term effects of anorexia can devastate the body as malnourishment and a myriad of other effects set in: electrolyte imbalance, depression, thinning of the bones (osteopenia/osteoporosis), and cardiac arrest. Substance abuse and eventual suicide is also common, and people with anorexia are ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness.

Symptoms of Anorexia

There are several possible signs of anorexia despite severe weight loss. However, if you suspect that you or a friend or family member may have anorexia, a psychiatric diagnosis must be made, as anorexia may either be comorbid, or coexistent, with another disorder, or similar symptoms may be due to a different illness altogether.

Signs of Anorexia
Obvious, dramatic weight loss
Brittle hair and nails
Yellowed skin
Severe constipation
Drop in body temperature, 
Constantly feeling cold
Continual fatigue or lethargy
Becoming withdrawn and secretive, especially concerning eating
Preoccupation with calories and fat content, despite rarely appearing to eat

Eating Disorder Treatment

If you are looking for help in overcoming your eating disorder, you’ve already taken the most important step in realizing that there is a problem and you can get the help and support you need. If you know a friend or family member who may have an eating disorder, talk to psychiatrist to help you devise a strategy.

Treatment options for both anorexia and bulimia are very similar, but each must be tailored to the patient to address the individual issues that may be behind the illness. Also, because eating disorders often occur with other psychiatric disorders, such as depression or anxiety, the treatment must factor in those symptoms and deal with them, or risk relapse later on.

Treatments for Anorexia
The primary treatment for anorexia is psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to help change the circle of thoughts that led to anorexia. Family therapy, as well as other types of interpersonal therapies, are also useful in selected cases.

The first stage of anorexia treatment is helping the person seeking help slowly get back to a weight that isn’t causing immediate harm to their body. Next, the psychiatrist will help is treat other present disorders that might prevent the return to a healthy state of mind. Anorexia therapy focuses on changing the negative thought patterns about self-image and weight that led to anorexia.

The use of medication in the treatment of Anorexia is controversial.

If you or a friend or family member may be suffering from an anorexia, call Dr. Ghelber for an appointment in Fort Worth, TX at 817-659-7344, and take the first step on the road to recovery.

Eating Disorders

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