Diseases

Anorexia nervosa: the symptoms

Anorexia nervosa is manifested by a triad of symptoms: anorexia, weight loss, and absence or cessation of menstruation (in other words amenorrhea).

But contrary to what its name indicates, anorexia does not correspond to a loss of appetite: it results from a voluntary dietary restriction, which can later evolve into a loss of appetite. This food symptom is associated with a false perception of his body (or dysmorphophobia).

The girl is judged too corpulent, poorly made and wants to lose weight beyond reasonable. In the beginning, the teenager can start with a diet to correct curves, real or imaginary. But instead of stopping, once the few extra pounds lost, she continues her diet that becomes increasingly restrictive, until she refuses virtually any food.

Meals become a real source of anxiety and conflict within the family, where all the attention is focused on the plate, always full ... and which does not empty. Sometimes, out of sight, it "cracks" and swallows a large amount of food at once: it's an episode of bulimia. This voracious access is experienced as a failure that causes the person to vomit for guilt.

These deprivations lead to a very important weight loss that can reach, in the most critical cases, half the normal weight. Leanness is, moreover, one of the first symptoms that leads parents to consult a doctor, often against the will of the patient who claims to be well.

Anorexia is a serious illness that, in extreme cases, can lead to death.

The first disorders appear when the weight loss becomes too important. In the midst of change, the teenager will suffer from deficiency of vitamins, minerals (calcium), iron, etc. So many nutrients normally brought by the diet.

If anorexia affects the younger child, it causes a slowing of growth. These deficiencies will weaken the body, make it more sensitive to infections, nails and hair will be dry, brittle. In the long run, undernutrition can lead to heart and hormonal disorders. In addition to his refusal to eat, the young person may have other dangerous behaviors such as vomiting or overuse of laxatives that can lead to a loss of potassium, always dangerous.

Weight loss, when it becomes critical, requires hospitalization ... sometimes in intensive care.

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Read also :

> Bulimia: when eating becomes addictive
> Hyperphagia: these uncontrollable urges against food
> OCD: obsessive-compulsive disorder, what is it?

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