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Transcript of Anorexia Nervosa
What Is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder commonly characterized by refusal to eat and therefore maintain a healthy body weight.
The term "anorexia" literally means "absence of appetite."
Anorexia is more prevalent in industrialized societies where being thin is considered attractive. Cases of anorexia have increased in recent decades.
Most cases begin in early adolescence (age 13-18) and 90% of cases occur in females.
Chance of developing anorexia among females is 0.5-1%
A. Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (body weight less than 85% of what is expected)
B. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
C. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
D. The absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.
Weight loss is primarily accomplished through reduction/restriction of food.
Fear of being fat is usually not alleviated by weight loss.
Significance of body weight and shape are distorted.
Weight loss is a personal victory while weight gain is an unacceptable failure.
Many feel as if they have lost control of situations or their emotions.
When a person with anorexia eats, they feel high anxiety, severe thought disturbance and noise
Many individuals with anorexia develop depressive symptoms, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, and other general concerns.
Electrolyte imbalance (can be life-threatening)
Osteoporosis (reduction of bone density)
Slowed heart rate and blood pressure (increases chance of heart failure)
Fainting and fatigue
Severe dehydration (can cause kidney failure)
Bodily functions slow down
High cortisol levels and low serotonin levels
Has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses
The Science Behind Anorexia
Using neuroimaing tools and other methods, researchers have found clues that suggest anorexics may have a different brain structure than healthy people.
Many believe the anorexic brain is wired for willpower, whether the effect be positive or negative.
Researchers have found evidence that the brain circuitry of anorexics may have been rewired in the area that connects food to pleasure and that their dopamine sensors are out of alignment.
Many with anorexia express a variation in the gene EPHX2.
Though anorexia tends to run in families, scientists haven’t hammered out the set of genes responsible.
Counselling and support groups act as an outlet and show the individual that there is support for them.
Different types of therapy utilized are CBT and IPT.
Nutritionists educate individuals on food and healthy meal plans.
Anorexia does not respond well to drug treatment, although SSRIs are sometimes used.
Self-help (getting enough sleep, learning stress management and relaxation techniques, keeping in touch with loved ones, etc.)
Hospitalization may be needed to restore weight and balance fluid and electrolyte levels.