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Fad diets have taken the world by storm. The entire world is obsessed with getting thin yet half of it is obese. The situation doesn’t add up. Right? It is important to realize that losing weight and gaining weight has a lot more to it than we think. One aspect that we often neglect is the very prevalent eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
In recent times social media has infected the entire world. The easy access to social media has given us easy access to complexes and unhealthy obsessions as well. Keep in mind that we are the first generation to have such easy access to such things, and even in its first audience social media has not failed to show its ill effects.
You can not deny that seeing filthy rich people and the prettiest models make you want to be like them too. Many stand strong and hold their ground. While many fall into the dark abyss. Studies show a consistent connection of various eating disorders with the ideals set by media. No one but the lack of information and knowledge is to blame for it. This lack of information has undermined the struggles of people suffering from serious diseases like anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia nervosa commonly known as anorexia is a serious eating disorder. It is characterized by extremely low body weight and an intense fear of gaining weight. People suffering from anorexia have a distorted perception of weight. Such people tend to put extreme efforts into maintaining a body they think is healthy. The extra efforts not only deteriorate their health but interfere in their normal life functions as well.
If you are anorexic, you are likely to misuse laxatives, weight loss pills, dietary aids, diuretics, and enemas. No matter how many pounds you lose or how thin you look you will keep on striving for weight loss.
Proper psychological and nutritional counseling can help you in overcoming this situation.
Prevalence Of Anorexia Nervosa
Unfortunately, people suffering from eating disorders fail to get due attention and help, in Pakistan. According to a study conducted in Pakistan, almost 39.5% of first-year college students faced anorexia-like symptoms. The figure might be exaggerated, due to the lack of proper research tools. But it indicates the prevalence of this disease.
Anorexia is more prevalent in teens, especially in girls. But people above the age of 40 can also get it.
Symptoms Of Anorexia Nervosa
The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are similar to starvation. Anorexia shows its signs in physical, mental, and behavioral aspects of your life. With an alarming fear of gaining weight, unrealistic perception of body weight, and inability to eat properly, anorexia can hinder your normal life.
It is hard to identify the symptoms of anorexia, as it shares its symptoms with various other complications. Everybody has their own ideal weight, eating habits, and behaviors, so we cannot set a single standard to classify someone as anorexic.
We can classify the common signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa in three basic categories i.e. physical, emotional, and behavioral.
- Extreme weight loss
- Failed attempts at gaining weight
- Thin/ underweight body
- Discolored fingers
- Unhealthy, thin, and brittle hair
- Pale skin
- Crash dieting or fasting
- Always eager to lose weight
- Excessive exercising or attempt of vigorous physical activity
- Frequently skipping meals
- Cooking for others but avoiding food yourself
- Avoid eating in public
- Frequently checking your weight and looking in the mirror
- Spitting food after chewing (once you get a taste of it)
- Deliberately puking after a meal
- Always complain about being fat and wanting to lose weight
- Denying hunger
Causes And Risk Factors
Much like the signs and symptoms the causes and risk factors of anorexia can also be classified into various categories. The common categories are environmental, psychological, and biological.
Although researchers couldn’t point out the exact gene that makes you more prone to anorexic tendencies, they have developed a relationship between anorexia and genetics. If your genetic tendencies are towards perfectionism, perseverance, and sensitivity, you are at the risk of developing anorexia.
Your psychology and general thinking pattern can also be the reason for your anorexia. People with obsessive-compulsive disorders or tendencies of perfectionism are more likely to suffer from anorexia nervosa. Your extreme drive for perfectionism can make you an easy target of anorexia.
If you have been dieting for a long time, it can lead you to anorexia. As anorexia and crash dieting have the same symptoms as starvation, your harmless dieting can easily transition into anorexia.
This might be the most common reason for anorexia. The world’s obsession with getting thin has led many to the disease. Social media, peer pressure, and family expectations can lead to anorexia in young people.
Any transition in your life can take a toll on your mental and physical health. If you have gone through a transition like marriage, divorce, relocation, or new school you need to be more wary of the symptoms of an eating disorder.
Complications Of Anorexia Nervosa
If you are diagnosed with anorexia or you think you might be suffering from it, you should not neglect it. It is not a harmless eating pattern. Anorexia nervosa can not only disturb your daily functioning but can also wreak havoc inside your body. Extreme cases of anorexia can be fatal as well.
Very low body weight can cause arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and an imbalance in the electrolytes. It can also cause complications like anemia, bone loss, absence of periods (in females), decreased testosterone (in males), GI problems, heart issues, and kidney diseases.
If not treated on time, this can lead to mental illnesses like depression, personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and personality disorders. It is important to know that these disorders can lead to anorexia as well.
Prevention And Treatment
There is no guaranteed way to prevent anorexia or any other eating disorder. The best you can do is to look for the signs and symptoms and start treatment immediately. Simple self practices like avoiding excessive dieting and preventing yourself from falling into societal pressures can help a bundle.
Sometimes people fail to impose such rules on themselves and fall into disorders like anorexia. To pull yourself out of such illnesses it is important to consult a psychologist and nutritionist. Proper counseling and intricate meal planning are your best bet in conditions like this.
Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with top psychologists and nutritionists in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.
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