Madrid Hotels Articles

May 11, 2010

Symptoms and treatment of anorexia

The banning of anorexic models at major fashion events in Madrid and Milan recently has sparked off another round of speculation about eating disorders.

Some people see anorexia as a lifestyle choice. Pro-anorexia is a standpoint which says that people should be able to do what they want with their bodies. Pro-anorexia internet sites provide forums for thousands of people to give each other support and solidarity, not to help them get better, but to continue starving themselves. After all, they say, people can drink alcohol; eat themselves into obesity; have plastic surgery and tattoos, without being seen as mentally ill.

This is a worrying trend because anorexia eating disorders are very dangerous. There are around 1 million male anorexics and 7 million females in America at the moment. Most of these are between the age of 16 and 20. Anorexia contributes a massive 20% of the deaths attributed to psychological disorders. Untreated, anorexic conditions have a death rate which is 12 times higher than the normal death rate amongst women. Amongst sufferers who get treatment, this death rate goes down from around 20% to only 2-3%.

Because the group most at-risk of becoming anorexic are teenage girls, popular psychology has it that they become anorexic because they want to live up to the standards of ‘beauty’ presented by models.

The truth is much more complex than this. In reality people become anorexic because they feel it is the only way of exerting control over their lives and themselves. The control becomes obsessive, the need to continue to lose weight imperative. For most anorexics, to gain weight is to fail. When self-esteem becomes completely tied to losing weight, the situation becomes dangerous.

The common symptoms of anorexia nervosa are fairly obvious if you are looking for them, but anorexics are good at hiding what they are doing. The classic signs are: sudden weight loss, wearing lots of clothes, even in warm weather, excessive amounts of exercise; obsessive calorie counting, and food hiding. Anorexics will do anything to keep the calories off their bones, and to keep people from finding out what they are doing. Anorexics will purge by making themselves vomit, taking laxatives, and drinking huge amounts of water.

With bulimia nervosa, the profile is different. Here the sufferer will feel compelled to binge eat, then will make themselves vomit out of fear of getting fat. It is hard to spot a bulimic, they don’t usually advertise the fact. If you are concerned about someone, you need to watch whether they have a tendency to disappear for a time after a meal.

The first port of call for suspected anorexics would ideally be a doctor. This is not always an easy step. Help lines and internet forums can provide some of the support and encouragement needed to take those first steps.

A doctor will make an assessment based on BMI (body mass index) and blood chemistry, but he will also look into what factors may have triggered the illness. He will then be able to refer the sufferer to the appropriate therapist.

Anorexia treatment consists mainly of cognitive and behavioral therapies which help the sufferer get into healthier patterns of both thought and eating.

More rarely, the condition becomes so severe that the patient may have to go into hospital for more intensive therapy and even medical interventions such as tube-feeding. For most, once they become actively involved in their treatment, the prognosis is good.

Related posts:

  1. Anorexia Eating Disorder Causes Death to Brazilian Model ... clearly anorexic.

    More fashion spots, including London, are taking notice now due the string of events relating to eating disorders. In September, Madrid refused to allow all...

  2. Eating disorders: Beyond Anorexia and Bulimia ... months.

    Only six months after the death, Eliana Ramos, Luisels' sister also died of an eating disorder.
    Since the outcry after Luisel's death, Madrid fashion organisers decided...

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress