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1Uliana Gamutilova Gatchina school №4 Anorexia NervosaUliana Gamutilova Gatchina school №4
2What is an eating disorder? An eating disorder is an obsession with food and weight that harms a person's well-being. Although we all worry about our weight sometimes, people who have an eating disorder go to extremes to keep from gaining weight.
3Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder with three key features: refusal to maintain a healthy body weightan intense fear of gaining weighta distorted body image
4What are the common signs of anorexia nervosa? obsession with calories and fat content of fooddieting despite being thin or dangerously underweightrituals and preoccupation with food, pretending to eat or lying about eatingcompulsive exercising, working out extra hard after bingeing or eating something “bad”harshly critical of appearance, spending a lot of time in front of the mirror checking for flawsusing diet pills, throwing up after eating in order to vomit and quickly get rid of the caloriesabsent or irregular periods in girls or womendepression and solitudesensitivity to cold temperatureshair loss or thinning
5Who could suffer from anorexia nervosa? Anorexia can develop at any time throughout the lifespan. Anorexia nervosa predominately affects adolescent girls and young adult women, although it also occurs in boys, men, older women and younger girls. One reason younger women are particularly vulnerable to eating disorders is their tendency to go on strict diets to achieve an "ideal" figure.
6What causes anorexia?Anorexia is a complex condition that arises from a combination of many social, emotional, and biological factors. Although our culture’s idealization of thinness plays a powerful role, there are many other contributing factors, including family environment, emotional difficulties, low self-esteem, and traumatic experiences from the past.
7Believe it or not, anorexia is not really about food and weight – at least not at its core. Eating disorders are much more complicated than that. The food and weight-related issues are symptoms of something deeper: things like depression, loneliness, insecurity, pressure to be perfect, or feeling out of control. Things that no amount of dieting or weight loss can cure.
9Psychological causes and risk factors for anorexia. People with anorexia are often perfectionists and overachievers. They are the “good” daughters and sons who do what they are told, excel in everything they do, and focus on pleasing others. People who have this disorder are usually good students. They are involved in many school and community activities. While they may appear to have it all together, inside they feel helpless, inadequate, and worthless. Anorexics may believe they would be happier and more successful if they were thin and want everything in their lives to be flawless. They blame themselves if they do not get perfect grades or other things in life are not perfect. Through their harshly critical lens, if they are not ideal, they are a total failure.
10Family and social pressures. In addition to the cultural pressure to be thin, there are other family and social pressures that can contribute to anorexia. This includes participation in an activity that demands slenderness, such as ballet, gymnastics, or modeling. It also includes having parents who are overly controlling, put a lot of emphasis on looks, diet themselves, or criticize their children’s bodies and appearance. Stressful life events – such as the onset of puberty, a breakup, or going away to school – can also trigger anorexia.
11Biological causes of anorexia. Research suggests that a genetic predisposition to anorexia may run in families. If a girl has a sibling with anorexia, she is 10 to 20 times more likely than the general population to develop anorexia herself. Brain chemistry also plays a significant role. People with anorexia tend to have high levels of cortisol, the brain hormone most related to stress, and decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are associated with feelings of well- being.
12Are there medical complications? The starvation experienced by persons with anorexia nervosa can cause damage to vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, and brain. They may experience irregular heart rhythms or heart failure. Nutritional deprivation leads to calcium loss, bones become brittle and prone to breakage (osteoporosis). Nutritional deprivation also leads to decreased brain volume. In the worst- case scenario, people with anorexia can starve themselves to death. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. The most frequent causes of death are suicide and complications of the malnutrition associated with the disorder.
16Medical treatment for anorexia. The first priority in anorexia treatment is addressing and stabilizing any serious health issues. Hospitalization may be necessary if person is dangerously malnourished or so distressed that he or she no longer wants to live. Anorexic may also need to be hospitalized until he or she reaches a less critical weight. Outpatient treatment is an option when patient is not in immediate medical danger.
17Nutritional treatment for anorexia. A second component of anorexia treatment is nutritional counseling. A nutritionist or dietician will teach patient about healthy eating and proper nutrition. The nutritionist will also help anorexic develop and follow meal plans that include enough calories to reach or maintain a normal, healthy weight.
18Counseling and therapy for anorexia. Counseling is crucial to anorexia treatment. Its goal is to identify the negative thoughts and feelings that fuel person’s eating disorders and replace them with healthy beliefs. Another important goal of counseling is to teach how to deal with difficult emotions, relationship problems, and stress in a productive, rather than a self-destructive, way.
19What about prevention?New research findings are showing that some of the "traits" in individuals who develop anorexia nervosa are actual "risk factors" that might be treated early on. For example, anxiety, low self esteem, body dissatisfaction, and dieting may be identified and interventions instituted before an eating disorder develops. Advocacy groups have also been effective in reducing dangerous media stories, such as teen magazine articles on "being thin" and pro-anorexia websites that may glamorize such risk factors as dieting.
20Overcoming anorexia. Helping an anorexic person. It may seem like there’s no escape from your eating disorder, but recovery is within your reach. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, you can overcome bulimia and gain true self-confidence. Read Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery.