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What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder marked by periods of fasting and restriction of calories and often accompanied by intense exercise routines and constant fear of gaining weight. Key features often present include:

  • Distortion in the perception of the body
  • Running and intense fear of gaining additional body weight
  • Unhealthy relationship with food and eating
  • Behavior designed to avoid maintaining a healthy weight

Recovery is possible with Monte Nido 

At Monte Nido, we know the importance of anorexia therapy to help you or your loved one recover from your eating disorder. We have virtual, day, and residential treatment programs to help you on your recovery journey. If you or a loved one needs support, contact us today.

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Types of Anorexia Nervosa

There are two primary types of anorexia nervosa and identifying the type is paramount in determining which anorexia nervosa treatment plan will be most effective for recovery. Types of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Purging – Anorexia Nervosa, Purging Type is marked by the use of purging techniques to reduce the acquiring of calories that are absorbed by the body. Purging techniques often include vomiting after meals, the use of diuretics to reduce water weight, or the use of laxatives. This presents as similar to bulimia nervosa; however, it is actually a sub-type of anorexia.
  • Restricting – Anorexia Nervosa, Restricting Type is a way to control weight by restricting foods to limit calories, such as through the use of fasting and extreme dieting. Restriction can also involve strict and intense exercise routines in an effort to burn calories that have been consumed and more. This is the more common presentation of anorexia nervosa.

Who Is Most Affected by Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that can affect any age, gender, or social status though it tends to be more prevalent in certain demographics. The highest prevalence in the United States is in Caucasian female adolescents where there is an estimated incidence rate of 0.5 to 1% of those in that demographic.

Overall females account for the highest risk with 90% of patients diagnosed with anorexia nervosa being females. The peak age range for diagnosis of anorexia nervosa is between the ages of 14 and 18 years old.

Anorexia Nervosa Is More Than Weight

A common misconception about anorexia nervosa is that it is all about weight. The truth is, this eating disorder is much more complicated than treating someone who is afraid of being overweight. To be successful anorexia treatment requires a multi-faceted approach to be able to address the underlying causes of the eating disorder which are often related to profound emotional concerns including:

  • Loneliness
  • Insecurity
  • Body Image
  • Depression
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Feelings of loss of control

Causes of Anorexia Nervosa

There are a number of causes linked to anorexia nervosa and properly identifying the causes of the condition is essential for determining the most proper course of anorexia therapy. Causes can often be linked to such areas as goals in occupation, genetics, psychological, and social issues.

  • Occupational Goals – Adolescents or young adults who are preparing to embark on careers that focus on appearance and weight such as dancers, models, athletes, and actresses may develop anorexia nervosa as a way to ensure they maintain the desired weight they will need.
  • Biological and Genetic Influences – Children with parents who had the disorder have a high incidence rate of developing the disorder themselves.
  • Psychological factors – While there is no singular psychological factor that has been linked to anorexia nervosa, there are psychological factors that have been found to play a role in the underlying issues someone with the disorder may experience. Some psychological factors that have been linked to the disorder include control needs, family dysfunction, desire to remain a child, sexual abuse, a desire to remain fragile, inability to understand hunger cues properly.
  • Social Influences – Social ideas about female beauty and its association with thinness can influence body image issues in adolescents.

Unfortunately, these problems cannot be solved simply by controlling weight, and the condition will often worsen without anorexia therapy at an anorexia nervosa treatment center.

Social Challenges Associated with Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa can lead to social issues and challenges that can cause further isolation. Many social interactions revolve around food and eating, and since those with anorexia nervosa may have set eating routines or have issues eating in public, they may find themselves withdrawing from social activities they once enjoyed. For this reason, Monte Nido focuses on helping these individuals cultivate a positive relationship with food, eating, and their healthy selves.

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