Many people misunderstand Anorexia nervosa. It is a critical mental illness that leads to extreme weight loss, depression, and sometimes even mortality. It is most common among young and teenage women.
It also affects their male counterparts and adolescents of any gender or age group. Learn about the warning signs of anorexia by keeping reading, and understand the journey recovery takes you and your loved one.
What Is Anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by extreme self-starvation. People with anorexia avoid food and strict diets to keep their weight as low as possible.
It is often associated with body image issues, although those struggling with the disorder may also be fighting with other underlying problems. People with anorexia often feel a lack of control in their lives and rely on food deprivation as a way of having authority.
People with anorexia also tend to be critical of their bodies and other areas of life and compare themselves to others. Anorexia can take a significant toll on physical and mental health. It can even be life-threatening if left untreated.
Emotional Warning Signs
Understanding the warning signs of Anorexia is essential. It will help medical professionals and families. In particular, emotional warning signs are often the most evident. It can be the easiest to identify.
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Here are some emotional warning signs of having Anorexia:
Low self-esteem is one of the primary emotional warning signs of Anorexia. It is a condition in which an individual experiences a continual feeling of not being good enough. They also have a feeling of not measuring up to society’s standards of success, beauty, and popularity.
The person may criticize their looks and body even though there may be no visible physical signs of being underweight. They may doubt their abilities and have difficulty speaking up or advocating for themselves.
Without proper help and treatment, an individual with low self-esteem about Anorexia could be at risk of a worsened physical and mental health condition.
Feelings of Guilt and Shame
One of the most seen emotional warning signs of Anorexia is feelings of guilt and shame. Individuals dealing with Anorexia can often feel guilt and shame when eating. It leads to further avoidance of food.
This avoidance of food manifests itself in a strict diet, intense exercising, and thoughts of being “fat” despite low body weight. Those with Anorexia may think of themselves as never being thin enough, punishing themselves for eating or manipulating the intake of calories to stave off weight gain.
Guilt and shame are also often seen in someone’s belief that they are not worthy of treating Anorexia. They think that they do not deserve it or that it is useless. It is vital to recognize these warning signs and stop the progression of Anorexia by getting help and support.
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Feelings of Depression and Isolation
Feelings of depression and isolation are common in people with Anorexia. They may express these feelings through negative self-talk, difficulty engaging in enjoyable activities, and withdrawal from social interaction or activities.
They may have trouble seeing the positive in their life and may focus on their mistakes or shortcomings. It often manifests as a lack of confidence in themselves and their abilities. It can lead to further feelings of worthlessness and insecurity.
These individuals may also have difficulty expressing or managing their emotions. It includes communicating their feelings or seeking help. If any of these feelings of depression, isolation, or worthlessness seem to manifest in someone, it may show Anorexia and encourage them to seek help.
Behavioral Warning Signs
Behavioral warning signs of anorexia are drastic changes to habitual behavior that can have a huge impact on an individual’s well-being. It is important to recognize and address these warning signs as soon as possible to treat the condition.
Here are some behavioral warning signs of Anorexia
Preoccupation With Food
Preoccupation with food is one of the most common behavioral warning signs of anorexia. People with anorexia may often become obsessed with food. It includes planning their meals, weighing portions, and counting calories.
They may also go to extraordinary lengths to avoid any foods deemed “unhealthy” or “fattening.” Extreme rigidness in their eating schedule can also be a sign of anorexia. If a loved one is exhibiting signs of preoccupation with food, it is important to address their concerns with honest support and encouragement.
Behavioral warning signs of anorexia include compulsive exercising. It is an attempt to control body weight through physical exertion. A person with anorexia may find themselves exercising for many hours a day.
The intensity of the exercise may also increase, even when physical health is declining due to prolonged exercising. They may completely ignore doctors’ recommendations to reduce exercise or rest more.
Other warning signs include preoccupation with exercise. It includes looking up information on different types of exercises, making workout plans and schedules, and talking about exercising. They may start exercising in secret or develop irrational fears of weight gain.
Excessive grooming is a common behavioral warning sign of anorexia. Individuals with anorexia may show repetitive, time-consuming behavior related to their physical appearance. It includes checking the reflection in the mirror, plucking, weighing or measuring themselves, or waxing.
Excessive grooming can involve checking the body, inspecting hair, or shaving and combing hair. Other signs to watch out for include spending long amounts of time setting their hair and makeup, excessive exercising, or counting and eliminating calories. If you notice any of these behaviors in a loved one, it’s best to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.
Physical Warning Signs
Physical warning signs of anorexia are often seen in the face and body. It includes rapid or drastic weight loss, dizziness or fatigue, frustration or social withdrawal, anemia, dry or yellowish skin, brittle nails, constipation, and cold intolerance.
They can also experience lanugo, which is the increased growth of downy hair. It can cover the body as an adaptation to preserve body heat.
An individual may even give off a fragrance of ketones due to losing excessive weight. Other physical warning signs can include a slowed heart rate and dehydration.
The individual may experience a change in their sleep and mood pattern. Anorexia can be a life-threatening condition. It is vital to look out for physical warning signs and to seek help if necessary.
Steps to Take When Suspecting Anorexia
When you suspect someone may have Anorexia, it is vital to assess how serious the situation is. The individual must seek professional medical help and treatment as soon as possible. There are some steps to take to help someone with Anorexia.
- Express your concern
- Encourage to seek medical help
- Offer to help with meals and nutrition information
- Support their efforts to get healthy
- Provide age- and gender-appropriate physical activity guidance
- Provide emotional support
It is vital to consider that recovery from Anorexia can be difficult and time-consuming. It may need professional help. The individual can find ways to overcome this disorder with support and understanding.
Treatment and Recovery from Anorexia
Treatment and recovery from Anorexia can be a long and arduous journey for those afflicted. There are physical and psychological changes that Anorexia brings forth. It makes it difficult for individuals to return to proper eating habits and healthy body weight.
Mental health professionals, like therapists and psychiatrists, use different treatment stages for eating disorder that helps individuals suffering. These treatments range from family therapy to individual nutrition counseling. It helps aid positive outcomes and long-term recovery.
With guidance and support, individuals can challenge the behaviors they have about the disorder. They can develop a healthier relationship with food and their self-image.
Go to support groups, cognitive-behavioral therapies, dialectical behavior therapy, and art therapies. They can help those suffering from Anorexia. They can access proper tools to cope and recover from this illness.
Those affected by Anorexia can get their lives back. They can do this by surrounding themselves with support, seeking treatment, and believing in themselves.
Follow This Guide to Understand the Warning Signs of Anorexia
Anorexia is a dangerous disorder, and you should take it seriously manner. If you or someone you know exhibits any of the warning signs of anorexia, it is vital to get professional help as soon as possible.
Reach out to a mental health professional, doctor, or school counselor to help address the issue. Your health and well-being are of the utmost importance.
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