How Do You Feel When You Have Anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa, often referred to as anorexia, is an eating disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex psychological condition. It is characterized by behaviors including unreasonable and unhealthy habitual food restrictions, over-exercising, abusing diet pills, abusing laxatives, and/ or fasting. Though anorexia can manifest at any age, research suggests it most commonly develops during adolescence. Young people that struggle with anorexia engage in a cycle of self-starvation that often results in malnutrition including a lack of essential minerals and nutrients. Restricting one’s food and caloric intake can lead to severely detrimental side effects, and if left untreated can be life-threatening.
Signs and Symptoms
Every person is unique and therefore it should come as no surprise that each teen with anorexia will feel differently. A teenager struggling with anorexia may present with an array of behavioral and/ or physical signs. Commonly exhibited signs may include, but are not limited to the following examples:
- Obsessing about weight
- Weight gain fears
- Eating only low-calorie foods
- Distorted body image
- Distracted and unable to concentrate
There are a variety of symptoms that can manifest as a result of anorexia, some of which may include any combination of the following examples, provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Thin appearance
- Extreme weight loss
- Not making expected developmental weight gains
- Dizziness and/ or fainting
- Abnormal blood counts
- Thinning, brittle hair
- Absence of menstruation
- Dry and/ or yellowish skin
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Low blood pressure
- Excessively exercising
The Mayo Clinic further asserts, “One of the biggest challenges in treating anorexia is that people may not want treatment.” It is important to note that although anorexia is considered to be a chronic disorder, with proper treatment an adolescent can learn how to effectively manage its symptoms.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life in, the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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