Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition. It's an eating disorder where a person keeps their body weight as low as possible.
People with anorexia usually do this by restricting the amount of food they eat, making themselves vomit, and exercising excessively.
The condition often develops out of an anxiety about body shape and weight that originates from a fear of being fat or a desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia have a distorted image of themselves, thinking they're fat when they're not.
Anorexia most commonly affects girls and women, although it has become more common in boys and men in recent years. On average, the condition first develops at around the age of 16 to 17.
Signs someone may have anorexia or another Eating disorders include:
Anorexia can alsobe associated with other psychological problems, such as depression , anxiety , low self-esteem, alcohol misuse , and self-harm .
Many have hidden their condition for a long time sometimes years.
The most important first step is for someone with anorexia to realise they need help and want to get better.
If you think someone you know has anorexia, try talking to them about your worries and encourage them to seek help.
This can be a very difficult conversation because they may be defensive and refuse to accept they have a problem. However, it's important not to criticise or pressure them as this can make things worse.
You may want to seek advice from an eating disorder support group such as Beat about the best way to raise the subject.
If you think you may have anorexia, try to seek help as soon as possible. You could start by talking to a person you trust, such as a member of your family or a friend, and perhaps ask them to go with you to see your GP.
This will help them work out a suitable care plan.
In most cases, treatment will involve a combination of psychological therapy and individually tailored advice on eating and nutrition to help gain weight safely.
Arange of different healthcare professionals will usually be involved in your care, such asGPs, psychiatrists, specialist nursesand dietitians.
Most people are able to be treated on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home between appointments. More serious cases are treated in hospital or specialist eating disorder clinics.
For example, a woman may relapse if she tries to lose weight gained during pregnancy.
Around half of people with anorexia will continue to have somelevel of eating problem despite treatment.
If anorexia remains unsuccessfully treated for a long time, a number of other serious problems can develop. These can include fragile bones (osteoporosis) , infertility , an irregular heartbeat, and other heart problems.
Despite being an uncommon condition, anorexia is one of the leading causes of mental health-related deaths. This can be because of the effects of malnutrition or as a result of suicide .
Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition. It's an eating disorder where a person keeps their body weight as low as possible. Anorexia most commonly affects girls and women, although it has become more common in boys and men in recent years.
The main symptom of anorexia is deliberately losing a lot of weight, although there are often a number of other physical and psychological signs there's a problem.
The exact causes of anorexia nervosa are unclear, but most specialists believe it's likely to be the result of a combination of factors. Anorexia often starts off as a form of dieting that gradually gets out of control.
When trying to determine whether you have an eating disorder, your GP will probably ask questions about your weight and eating habits. In some cases, they may also check your BMI.
The treatment for anorexia nervosa usually involves a combination of psychological therapy and supervised weight gain. It's important for a person with anorexia to start treatment as early as possible.
If anorexia nervosa is not treated, the condition can lead to a number of serious health problems. Long-term anorexia can lead to severe complications and health problems, oftenas a result of Malnutrition .
At 21, Katie Metcalfe was starting a creative writing degree at Cumbria University but seven years before this her life was very different. My mum took me to the GP when my periods stopped, but they sent me home with a diet sheet.