What is Anorexia?

Anorexia, also referred to as Anorexia Nervosa, is an eating Disorder characterized by a relentless pursuit of thinness through caloric restriction, an unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and an intense fear of gaining weight.

The medical consequences of the restrictive eating of Anorexia can be disabling or even fatal. Between 5-20% of individuals struggling with Anorexia will die. Research shows that Eating Disorders have the highest morbidity of any mental health diagnosis. Commonly, deaths are a result of heart failure but it’s important to note that caloric restriction impairs cognitive function and places suffers at risk for suicide. In fact, suicide accounts for half of those who die of Anorexia. When a parent or caregiver suspects that Anorexia or an Associated Disorder, it is important to seek care immediately.

What Causes Anorexia?

Anorexia is a complex condition that has many contributing factors. Although research on the exact cause is ongoing, various studies have linked genetic predispositions to the development of Anorexia. The known contributors include: biological factors, psychological factors and environmental factors. We firmly hold that families are not responsible for causing Eating Disorders. No evidence exists to prove that families cause Eating Disorders. Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders, Third Edition, APA Practice Guidelines, May 2006

At Canopy Cove, we understand the Eating Disorder to be a symptom of a deeper underlying issue. We assist clients in identifying and resolving the underlying causes of the eating disorder as well as developing a more balanced relationship with self and food.

Early Warning Signs of Anorexia

Around Food:
Dieting
Avoiding a widening range of foods
Avoiding situations where communal eating is expected
New interest in “healthy”, “low fat”, “low-carb” or “vegetarian” diets
Inflexibility on what or when or how much to eat
Unnatural focus on what others are eating
A need to know the calorie count of foods
Never available for family meals
New interest in cooking and recipes while avoiding eating the food
Secretive or ritualistic eating
Avoiding food until certain hours
Anger at others if pressed to eat
Fear of overeating or gaining weight

Who is at Risk?

Adolescents are at a higher risk but this dangerous disorder can find its way into the lives of those younger and older. No one is left out of its dangerous reach.

Groups who appear to be at a higher risk include those who have extremely high standards or are often referred to as perfectionists or overachievers, those who have difficulties believing in themselves and feeling positive about their appearance or judge their worth on their looks are candidates as well. In addition, some athletes are at an increased risk of developing Anorexia.

Physical complications of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Heart damage (murmur, rhythm disturbance, heart failure)
  • Kidney problems (stones, kidney failure)
  • Bone density problems
  • Low blood sugar, low pulse, low respiratory rate, elevated cholesterol
  • Electrolytic imbalances
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Constipation or slower emptying of food from the stomach
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Low body temperature, slowed circulation
  • Deteriorating hair and nail quality
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Skin rash, lanugo hair (soft hair that appears on the body for warmth)
  • Water retention, bloating, abdominal pain
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Reduced energy

The Goal of Treatment

Eating disorders are treatable and full recovery is the goal of treatment. The first and primary goal in Anorexia Treatment is the restoration of medical health. Once restoration is achieved, treatment focuses on identifying and resolving the underlying causes of the eating disorder.

Early Treatment Improves Recovery Rates

Research shows that the recovery rates are positively impacted by early intervention and treatment. If you feel you or a loved one is dealing with an Eating Disorder, don’t delay treatment.

With excellent clinical care you or your loved one has a good chance to fully recover and get back to a full and satisfying life free of the eating, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive problems of Anorexia.

Call to Speak to a Trained Specialist About treatment Options 888-245-6555