Anorexia Nervosa (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Anorexia almost always begins with a plan to follow a strict weight-loss diet. Limiting foods then leads to malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss.
As malnutrition sets in, the brain and metabolism change. This limits the appetite, how your body uses food, and your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. As the illness gets worse, irrational behaviors begin, such as making rules about food or making yourself vomit out of fear of gaining weight (bulimia).
Starvation and malnourishment from anorexia can cause complications, such as osteoporosis or an irregular heartbeat. Often other mental health conditions occur along with anorexia, such as depression.
Early treatment works best
After anorexia starts, returning to normal eating is very hard without help. When left untreated, anorexia can last for a lifetime.
Early treatment of anorexia offers the best chance of recovery. People who have anorexia tend to strongly deny that they have a problem and are secretive about their eating. So their family members or loved ones usually have to get help for them.
What Increases Your Risk
The risk for anorexia nervosa increases if you:
For some people, anorexic eating habits can meet a need for personal control and self-esteem. Some teens may fall into this pattern as a way to cope with big changes and challenges.
A parent may have cause for concern if:
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