Anorexics are generally very thin and frail with them experiencing physical problems such as dizziness, tiredness, have electrolyte imbalance, low pulse rate, kidney and heart failure, dehydration, dry skin and low density bones (osteoporosis) (ThinkQuest, 2009). Girls experience loss of menstruation due to low estrogen levels. Boys also have low levels of testosterone (Herrin & Matsumoto, 2007, p. 30). Also they lose hair on the head while there is abnormal hair growth in the body. Constipation is also a common problem (ThinkQuest, 2009).
Also anorexics lose weight rapidly often leading to low body temperature and blood pressure (Center for Young Women’s Health, 2008). Insomnia is also common (Herrin & Matsumoto, 2007, p. 33). Muscle loss is also prevalent as the body doesn’t get the essential nutrients. Soft hair growth (Lanugo) is seen all over the body (National Eating Disorders Association, 2005). Behavioral problems: Anorexics generally don’t recognize the feeling of hunger and eat the minimum amount of food possible. They are in a constant fear of gaining weight and don’t maintain their normal weight.
Also they exhibit strange activities such as cutting foods into very small pieces and counting the pieces of food they consume. Some exhibit bulimic tendencies too. Also anorexics have low self esteem, are nervous, experience mood swings, irritable behavior and are reclusive (ThinkQuest, 2009). Obsessive Compulsive behavior is also evident as the person constantly thinks of food and develops an increased interest in cooking (Herrin & Matsumoto, 2007, p. 33). Also anorexics may engage in vices such as drugs and shoplifting due to their inability to control their behaviors (Herrin & Matsumoto, 2007, p. 34).
If anorexia is left untreated it often leads to life threatening situations or death. Diagnosis of Anorexia: Generally Anorexia is diagnosed analyzing an individual’s physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms. In United States, American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), is used for diagnosis. The following are the points that the physicians take in to account while diagnosing a person with anorexia: ? Weight is less than 85% of the normal weight for that particular age and height.
An individual’s fear of putting on weight ? Distorted perception of their body image ? Loss of three consecutive menstrual cycle (in girls) (DISORDEREDEATING, 2008). The World Health Organization’s International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) is used for the diagnosis of the disorder in Europe.
The Extent of the problem: According to the Biological Psychiatry 2007 edition it was estimated that 0. 9% women and 0. 3% men suffered from anorexia in the United States. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that around 5. 6% of anorexic people would die every 10 years (DISORDEREDEATING, 2008). It is also proven that around 1 in every 100 women between the age range of 15-30 suffer from anorexia in United Kingdom. Anorexia Nervosa Treatment: Since anorexics are improvised and are in poor health due to the reduced intake of food it is imperative that the physical health of the person is attended to first. A complete analysis of the physical health of the individual is to be done and any physical problems need to be rectified. Hospitalization may be necessary in extreme cases.
Psychotherapy, family therapy and group therapies are some kinds of therapies that can be used to treat the individual of the eating disorder. The type of therapy is normally selected based on the individual. In some cases anti depressants are given (DISORDERED EATING, 2008). Lapses of the disorder are possible before the person is completely cured. Bulimia: Bulimia is a another form of eating disorder where a person binges on food continuously till they are interrupted and then purges the body of food and energy by vomiting, laxatives, diuretics or extreme exercise.
Diet pills and drinking the syrup ipecac to induce vomiting are also other methods (ThinkQuest, 2009). Bulimia also has two sub types- the purging and non purging type. Purging behaviour is observed in around 80-90% of the bulimics. This activity relives them of the discomfort of consuming a large quantity of food and also offers them mental peace that they have reduced the calories they had ingested (Herrin & Matsumoto, 2007, p. 37). This behaviour may either be followed with a dieting phase or another binging phase. The non-purging types resort to exercises or fasting to compensate the binging (Herrin & Matsumoto, 2007, p. 36).