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Anorexia nervosa



Anorexia nervosa Clinical Features


There are physical, emotional, psychological, behavioral, interpersonal and social features present in those with anorexia nervosa. Physical symptoms of anorexia nervosa include changes in brain function, muscle weakness, heart failure, immune dysfunction, low phosphate levels and disturbed electrolyte balance, which may all lead to death. Individuals who develop anorexia nervosa before adolescence could suffer from stunted growth and low levels of hormones. Up to 50% of anorexia nervosa patients develop osteoporosis. Anorexia nervosa could cause extreme weight loss, stunted growth, endocrine disorder, decreased libido in both males and females, impotence in males, reduced metabolism, anemia, hypotension, hair thinning and zinc deficiency. Some patients could also develop tooth decay and suffer from dry skin, constipation, chapped lips, creaking bones, sunken eyes, pallid complexion, reduced immune system function, bitter fingernails and headaches. For those with extreme weight loss, anorexia nervosa could cause nerve deterioration, which could result in difficulty to move the feet. Psychological effects of Anorexia nervosa include perfectionism, distorted body imaged, OCD, obsessive thoughts about weight, self-evaluation, poor insight and refusal to accept that the patient’s weight is dangerously low. Emotional effects of Anorexia nervosa include self-efficacy, extreme fear of obesity, mood swings and clinical depression. Patients with Anorexia nervosa could develop behavioral changes, such as fainting, excessive exercise, self-harm, suicidal attempts, substance abuse and aggressiveness to eating food.


Anorexia nervosa Definition


Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder that describes an eating disorder, which is characterized by body image distortion and low body weight due to an obsessive fear of becoming fat or gaining weight. People with anorexia nervosa usually control their body weight by voluntary vomiting, purging, starving, extreme exercise and other weight control measures, such as taking diuretic drugs and diet pills. It usually affects adolescent females and only 10% of anorexia nervosa patients are male. Anorexia nervosa is an extremely complex disorder, involving neurobiological, sociological and psychological components.


Anorexia nervosa Treatment


Since Anorexia nervosa can be fatal, the first line of treatment is weight gain. In serious cases of Anorexia nervosa, patients can be forced to hospital treatment. However, most cases of Anorexia nervosa can be treated as outpatients with treatments assigned by a physician, a psychiatrist and other mental health professionals.


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