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Going to a Cleveland Clinic location? Anorexia nervosa is a life-threatening eating disorder. It is defined as self-starvation in order to maintain an abnormally low body weight. Individuals with anorexia nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat and have a distorted self-image of their body weight and shape. Extreme weight loss in people with anorexia nervosa can lead to dangerous health problems and even death.

Anorexia nervosa can occur in people of any age, sex, race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, as well as individuals of all body weights, shapes and sizes. Anorexia nervosa is most commonly seen in adolescents and young adult females, although it also occurs in males and is increasing in s in children and older adults. Not getting enough nutrients malnutrition and starvation affects nearly every system of the body.

Many of these complications can improve and be reversed as weight is regained. However, if anorexia nervosa has been ongoing for years, bone loss, physical growth, and structural brain changes may not fully recover. The exact cause of anorexia nervosa is not known, but research suggests that a combination of certain personality traits, emotions and thinking patterns, as well as biological and environmental factors might be responsible. Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness also might contribute to the development of the disorder.

In addition, people with eating disorders might have troubled relationships or have a history of being teased about their size or weight.

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Pressure from peers and a society that equates thinness and physical appearance with beauty also can have an impact on the development of anorexia nervosa. There is no single path to an eating disorder. This pathway to disordered eating is true for some, but not all, who develop this set of illnesses.

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Eating disorders also might have physical causes. Changes in hormones that control how the body and mind maintain mood, appetite, thinking, and memory might foster eating disorders. The fact that anorexia nervosa tends to run in families also suggests that a Old fat lonely nice Cleveland Ohio starving to the disorder might be inherited. If symptoms are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a complete medical history and physical examination. The doctor will ask about body image and weight loss history and measure weight and height and compare with age-based weight and growth charts.

Binge and purging frequency and elimination habits diet pills, laxatives, supplements will be discussed. Current medications will also be reviewed. The doctor will also ask about menstrual history, exercise history and family history of eating disorders, substance abuse and psychological disorders mood, depression, suicidal thoughts.

The doctor may order an electrocardiogram ECG to check for slow heart rate, chest pain, abnormal heart rhythm, or heart flutter. To be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, the doctor will determine if three criteria have been met:. Treatment most often involves a combination of the following strategies:. This is a type of individual counseling that focuses on changing the thinking cognitive therapy and behavior behavioral therapy of a person with an eating disorder.

Treatment includes practical techniques for developing healthy attitudes toward food and weight, as well as approaches for changing the way the person responds to difficult situations. There are several types of psychotherapy including:. Although there is no clear evidence that antidepressant medications can help individuals gain weight, some doctors may prescribe these drugs to help control anxiety and depression associated with an eating disorder.

This strategy is deed to teach a healthy approach to food and weight, to help restore normal eating patterns, and to teach the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet. Family support is very important to treatment success. It is important that family members understand Old fat lonely nice Cleveland Ohio starving eating disorder and recognize its s and symptoms.

People with eating disorders might benefit from group therapy, where they can find support, and openly discuss their feelings and concerns with others who share common experiences and problems. Treatment can take place outside the hospital or at an inpatient facility. To be considered for outpatient therapy, patients need to be medically and psychiatrically stable, have symptoms under control and not require daily medical monitoring.

Hospitalization might be needed to treat severe weight loss that has resulted in malnutrition and other serious mental or physical health complications, such as heart disorders, serious depression and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The most serious complication of treating anorexia is a condition called refeeding syndrome.

This life-threatening condition can occur when a seriously malnourished person begins to receive nutrition again. Basically, the body cannot properly restart the metabolism process. Abnormal laboratory s include low phosphate levels hypophosphatemialow blood sugar levels, hypoglycemialow potassium level hypokalemialow magnesium level hypomagnesemiaand low sodium level hyponatremia.

Patients who have one or more of the following risk factors for developing refeeding syndrome may need to be treated in the hospital:. The goal is to gain 0. After the hospital stay, the expectation for weight gain is slower, with goals of 1 to 2 pounds per week. These high metabolic needs are particularly important in children and adolescents who are still growing and developing. Although it might not be possible to prevent all cases of anorexia nervosa, it is helpful to begin treatment in people as soon as they begin to have symptoms.

In addition, teaching and encouraging healthy eating habits and realistic attitudes about food and body image also might be helpful in preventing the development or worsening of eating disorders. If your child or family member decides to become vegetarian or vegan, for instance, it is worth seeing a dietitian versed in eating disorders and touching base with your pediatrician or physician to make sure that this change occurs without a loss in nutrients.

The prognosis for anorexia nervosa varies, based on the type of treatment, length of illness, and severity of the illness. Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness. Individuals with anorexia nervosa are five times more likely to die prematurely and 18 times more likely to die of suicide. Anorexia nervosa, like other eating disorders, gets worse the longer it is left untreated.

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The sooner the disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome. However, people with anorexia nervosa often will not admit they have a problem and might resist treatment or refuse to follow the treatment plan. Anorexia nervosa can be treated, allowing the person to return to a healthy weight. Although treatment is possible, the risk of relapse is high.

Recovery from anorexia usually requires long-term treatment as well as a strong commitment by the individual. Support of family members and other loved ones can help ensure that the person receives the needed treatment. If a serious physical illness is present such as being very underweightthe individual should get prompt medical care.

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In fact, even larger bodied people who have recently lost weight can have anorexia. If you suspect that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, seek help immediately. Eating disorders can become increasingly dangerous the longer they go untreated. In severe cases, eating disorders can be fatal. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia nervosa is most commonly seen in adolescents and young adult females, although it also occurs in males and is increasing in s in children and older adults.

Who gets anorexia nervosa? What are the health harms of anorexia nervosa? Effects on the heart. Slow heart rate bradycardialow blood pressure hypotension and orthostatic hypotension are common effects of starvation. These complications increase the risk of ventricular arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. The heart itself can lose some of its muscle mass, which can lead to mitral valve prolapse. Effects on the brain. Effects on the digestive tract.

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Starvation can cause abdominal discomfort and pain, bloating, constipation, feelings of being full, as well as lead to fatty liver disease steatosis. Starvation can cause missed menstrual periods amenorrhea and reduced levels of female hormones, low testosterone levels, delayed puberty and physical growth, underactive thyroid hypothyroidismeuthyroid sick syndrome, and in older individuals, increased the risk of weak bones osteopeniabone loss osteoporosis and stress fractures.

Effects on the body from vomiting purging.

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Exposure to stomach acid can wear down the enamel on teeth and enlarge the salivary glands. Symptoms and Causes What are the symptoms and behaviors of people with anorexia nervosa? Diagnosis and Tests How is anorexia nervosa diagnosed? To be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, the doctor will determine if three criteria have been met: Does the person weigh less than the minimum that is considered normal for their age, sex, stage of growth and development, and physical health?

Does the person have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat or display ongoing behavior that interferes with weight gain even though the individual is at a ificantly low weight? Does the person show a disturbance in the way they view their body weight or shape; does their body weight or shape have a strong influence on their self-image; does the person lack recognition of the seriousness of their current low body weight?

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Management and Treatment How is anorexia nervosa treated? Treatment most often involves a combination of the following strategies: Psychotherapy This is a type of individual counseling that focuses on changing the thinking cognitive therapy and behavior behavioral therapy of a person with an eating disorder. There are several types of psychotherapy including: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

Cognitive Remediation Therapy. This therapy uses reflection, and guided supervision to develop the capability of focusing on more than one thing at a time. In other words, this therapy helps the individual not just develop new skills to handle negative triggers, but also helps the person develop insight to recognize triggers or situations where a non-useful behavior might occur.

Specific skills include building mindfulness, improving relationships through interpersonal effectiveness, managing emotions and tolerating stress. Family-based Treatment also called the Maudsley Method. It is the most evidence-based method to physiologically restore health to an individual with anorexia nervosa who is under 18 years of age. Interpersonal Psychotherapy. This therapy is aimed at resolving an interpersonal problem area. Improving relationships and communications, and resolving identified problems has been found to reduce eating disorder symptoms.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Nutrition counseling This strategy is deed to teach a healthy approach to food and weight, to help restore normal eating patterns, and to teach the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet. Hospitalization Treatment can take place outside the hospital or at an inpatient facility. What are the complications of treating anorexia nervosa? Prevention Can anorexia nervosa be prevented? Living With When should a person seek help? Eating Disorders Helpline.

National Eating Disorders Association. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Show More.

Old fat lonely nice Cleveland Ohio starving

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