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Anorexia nervosa: causes of the disease, main symptoms, treatment and prevention
Anorexia nervosa: causes of the disease, main symptoms, treatment and prevention

This disease most often begins during adolescence. Therefore, a lot depends on the parents in preventing this serious problem.

Anorexia nervosa is called the disease of our century, because the number of victims, 90% of whom are young, successful and intellectually developed girls, is constantly growing. Alas, not only models and show business stars, for whom a slender figure is a source of income, are susceptible to this disease. Many people do not consider anorexia to be a disease at all, attributing everything to the whims and whims of young girls.

It is especially dangerous when relatives reason like this, because neither persuasion nor strict control can help here. How to recognize the first symptoms of this disease and help a loved one if necessary?

False standards

The modern world requires a certain status and style of behavior. Glossy magazines, television, the vastness of the Internet set standards in the minds of girls, to which they unaccountably, and sometimes even consciously, try to comply. The psyche of a teenager is extremely vulnerable and susceptible to the opinion of society and significant adults.

The girl looks at the cover of a bright magazine and realizes that her figure is far from perfect. From that moment on, she is like a cocked hammer in anticipation of a shot, which will sound the words of a friend, coach or even parents. This can be either a direct insult: "You look like a cow, a hippopotamus - you eat all the time", and a veiled one: "To achieve your goal, you need to lose weight."

Psycho-traumatic words trigger a self-destruction mechanism. Outwardly, this manifests itself in the form of pathological control over food eaten, constant calorie counting, refusal to eat many foods. Up to 25% of these girls die without qualified assistance. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate among all mental illnesses.


Symptoms of anorexia

It is quite difficult to detect anorexia in the early stages. First, the girl is unaware and completely denies that she has any problems; secondly, it carefully conceals its eating behavior. But there are three things, having noticed which, the family may suspect that something was wrong.

The first thing that catches your eye is somatic health, or what happens at the level of the body. It all starts with weight loss, which entails a string of other problems: constipation, deterioration of the skin, disruption of the heart. But the body cannot be separated from the psyche, so the second thing that should alert the family is the girl's emotional instability. Rapid change of emotions (from laughter to tears), irritability, depression, insomnia, or, conversely, severe drowsiness. Gradually, the third sign is connected - social maladjustment.

At the same time, a girl can study well, attends 5-6 circles, tutors, sports sections, is very active. But at the same time, she is gradually turning off from life: she is no longer interested in meeting her friends, going to the cinema, ordinary entertainment. In her life there is no place for rest, but only hard work on herself. The combination of somatic, psychological and social signs suggests that the girl is starting to have problems.

Unfortunately, at this stage, parents often do not notice that something is wrong, and start sounding the alarm too late: when they hear the sounds of vomiting from the bathroom, when the girl's periods disappear, drugs that reduce weight are found. During the meal, one can only hear: “I am not eating this. It's too high in calories. The portion is too large."

It is important for parents to understand that this is not a symptomatic form of behavior that is corrected by ultimatums or persuasion. This is a disease that cannot be cured without the help of a psychotherapist and taking certain medications!


Bovine hunger

The course of anorexia is rarely complete without bulimic bouts of uncontrolled hunger, followed by feelings of guilt and even more severe fasting.

The psychological causes of bulimia nervosa are the same as in anorexia. But on top of everything else, one mechanism is added here that is characteristic of anxiety-depressive disorders. The fact is that food, especially delicious food, is the quickest and easiest way to enjoy yourself. Moreover, satisfaction occurs not only on the mental level, but also on the physical.

The eaten chocolate bar contributes to an almost instant release of the hormones of happiness - endorphins - into the bloodstream. There is nothing wrong with this if this method of stress relieving is not a habit. When the amount of food eaten negatively affects the figure, the thought arises in the head to get rid of the eaten. This is the first step towards bulimia nervosa.

Risk factor

There are no general signs by which it would be possible to accurately determine which girl will get anorexia and which will not. But a certain personality type creates additional risks. Sensitive, hyperresponsible, easily injured, intellectually developed girls are much more susceptible to the disease than their "thick-skinned" peers. There are two approaches to problem solving - constructive and reductive. Constructive provides for the following principle of overcoming difficulties: “I have a problem. What can I do to solve it? " (Seek help from people, acquire new knowledge, invest money).

The reductive mechanism, on the contrary, is aimed at relieving oneself of responsibility for one's life through extremely infantile behavior. A person turns into a child, first psychologically, and then externally. Rapidly losing weight, rounded female forms, the girl seeks to return to the state of a little girl so that her parents can solve psychological problems for her. As a rule, all this happens on a subconscious level. But the fact remains: girls who do not have an adult attitude towards life, have no idea of a healthy family, and instead, hysteroid-infantile behavior dominates, they are prone to anorexic reaction to trauma.

Prevention of anorexia

The best prevention of anorexia nervosa and many other mental disorders is to create a healthy psychological climate in the family and establish a trusting relationship with the child. Parents should not scold, let alone beat their daughter or son for the first offense. The basis of the family is dad, mom and a child, in this case a daughter. A mother as a woman understands her little girl better and should help her husband to establish contact with her. At the same time, the father can remain courageous, not lisp or curry favor with his daughter. But it’s elementary to hug her, to compliment her about her appearance - it’s very important. A child can grow up healthy only in an atmosphere of love and attention.


How to treat anorexia

The first thing parents should do when they suspect a child has anorexia nervosa is to see a qualified professional. It is important to understand at what stage the disease is.

If disorders at the body level (large weight loss, amenorrhea, hormonal disorders, heart failure) have been added to the mental disorder, then drug treatment is indispensable. A psychotherapist should work not only with a girl, but also with her parents, and in a team with a nutritionist, gastroenterologist, etc. In no case should such a girl be overfeed.

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Meals should be fractional and well balanced. Unfortunately, anorexia nervosa is very rarely diagnosed initially. And when it comes to a catastrophe (the girl lost consciousness from exhaustion, her pressure dropped sharply, her periods disappeared), then it is no longer possible to reverse this process without the help of a psychotherapist. Therefore, parents should communicate with their child as much as possible, give literature on healthy eating to read, etc.

How to solve the problem

Treating eating disorders requires an integrated approach that involves working with multiple professionals at the same time.

Psychotherapist will help to determine the root cause - the traumatic factor that caused the disorder, to form an adequate self-esteem and perception of your body.

Nutritionist will tell you about what food is needed for and how much of it can be considered normal. Girls often have no idea what a healthy diet is.

Therapist assess the general condition of the body and, if necessary, refer to other specialists (gastroenterologist, endocrinologist).

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