Anorexia nervosa is a severe type of eating disorder in which individuals tend to restrict how many calories they consume and what types of food they eat. They could also binge eat, compulsively work out, or purge by inducing vomiting or abusing laxatives. In growing children, anorexia nervosa might manifest in an inability to gain the appropriate amount of weight for their age and height. Other hallmarks of anorexia might include:
- Weight loss
- Having a hard time maintaining an appropriate weight for one’s stature
- A distorted body image
Who Develops Anorexia Nervosa?
According to evidence collected by psychologists as well as historians, people have been showing signs of anorexia for hundreds or even thousands of years. Anorexia is also a disease that cannot be diagnosed just by looking at someone – a person does not have to be underweight or emaciated to be suffering from the disease; it is an illness that can manifest in anyone regardless of their gender, age, or background. And while it most often develops during one’s adolescence, more and more older adults and children are being diagnosed with anorexia.
Health Consequences of Anorexia
There are a variety of health risks associated with anorexia nervosa. These may develop as the body slows down its processes in an attempt to conserve energy as a result of a dangerous cycle of self-starvation; this cycle denies the body of the nutrients it needs in order to function properly. This can lead to electrolyte imbalances of even cardiac arrests, two conditions that can suddenly end in death. The severity of anorexia’s potential side effects highlights how important it is to get help.
Getting Help for Anorexia
Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa are treatable illnesses. If you are located in the United States, Eating Disorder Hope offers a webpage that helps you find eating disorder treatment on a state-by-state basis using an interactive map.
Another way to access help is by reaching out to an eating disorder hotline. For example, the National Eating Disorders Association offers a few different ways you can reach one:
- A representative is available to text with on Mondays through Thursdays, from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM Eastern Time.
- You can talk to someone on the phone Mondays through Thursdays between 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time, or on Fridays between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
- You can also chat with someone online between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time on Mondays through Thursdays, and on Fridays from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM.
If you are unable to reach someone, you can always leave a message and they will get back to you.
Additionally, if you or a loved one is in a state of crisis, you can text “NEDA” to 741-741 and reach a properly trained volunteer at the Crisis Text Line. We are also here to help you here at Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists. You can reach us via phone (866-525-2766), email, or by filling out our contact form.