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Anorexia Nervosa is a complex eating disorder that is not only very serious but potentially lethal. It affects women, men and teens of all ages. The three main features of this disease include a distorted body image, intense fear of gaining weight and a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight. Anorexia is not really about food but rather the way a patient copes with their emotional problems. Patients often equate their self-worth to their thinness.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Preoccupation with Food
  • Secretive food rituals
  • Severely restricted diet
  • Obsession with calories, reading food labels, reading diet books, weighing portions
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Social withdrawl
  • Depressed Mood
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Fainting
  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers
  • Dry or yellowish skin

Treatment

Treating anorexia involves three important steps: beginning to consume more food, getting back to a healthy weight and modifying how the patient things about food and themselves. Nutritional counseling is a extremely important component of treatment. Working with a dietician or nutritionist to teach the patient about proper nutrition and healthy eating is crucial.