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Anorexia Nervosa (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Again, there is no home remedy for anorexia nervosa. Any person who displays symptoms of anorexia nervosa (under eating, inducing vomiting, or abusing laxatives in an attempt at weight loss) needs medical and psychiatric help. Some specialists are adept at treating these very challenging patients. This eating disorder can cause severe medical complications or death if not treated.

Anorexia nervosa can result in life-threatening medical problems. The following signs and symptoms indicate the need for emergency evaluation:

  • Suicide is a major cause of death in people with anorexia nervosa. Any person with severe depression or suicidal thoughts or statements needs to be brought to the hospital's emergency department immediately. Call 911 for an ambulance if you believe there is even a remote possibility of imminent suicide.
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Profuse vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit or diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Often the doctor may choose to admit a person with anorexia to the hospital for a variety of medical or psychiatric reasons.
    • The illness may result in a number of negative effects on the body (cardiac, and endocrine systems, electrolytes) from starvation, vomiting, diuretic, laxative abuse, or appetite-suppressant abuse.
    • Outpatient treatment of anorexia nervosa is often unsuccessful. Someone with this disease may need prolonged treatment (including cognitive, behavioral, medication, and counseling or some combination) in a structured hospital environment or special inpatient eating disorders program to have their best chance of survival.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Anorexia Nervosa »

Richard Morton first described anorexia nervosa more than 300 years ago, in 1689, as a condition of "a Nervous Consumption" caused by "sadness, and anxious Cares."

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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