Anorexia isn’t a diet gone wrong or a game that young girls play to get attention. It’s a serious psychiatric disorder similar to depression and has one of the highest causes of mortality among the mental illnesses. This complex disorder is basically a form of self-starvation.
People with this disorder usually starve themselves to death if intervention isn’t given in time. Once a person starts engaging in this behaviour, it’s difficult to get back to normal without medical help.
Females with anorexia are obsessed with feeling fat and will diet non-stop. They will typically weigh themselves more than once in a daytime and talk obsessively about foods, calories and nutrition. Basically, food weighs heavily on their minds.
To help such people out, here are some common signs of anorexia that you should be aware of:
- The female usually never eats, and when she does, she cuts up her food into tiny portions, sometimes eating just one food at a time.
- They tend to over-exercise also; along with poor nutrition, this usually results in amenorrhea.
- With the loss of protein, she may start to lose her head hair, but her arm and leg hair start growing as the body tries to keep itself warm.
- They are sometimes given to binge eating as they are hungry all the time.
- Insomnia is a common feature as hunger triggers increased restlessness and sleep disturbances.
- People with anorexia often feel apathy and don’t enjoy things enjoyed earlier. This is because of high levels of depression along with weakness due to malnourishment and lowered cognitive functioning. There will be the slowness of thoughts and memory difficulties.
- Such people surprisingly appear to have a fixation about food. They spend a lot of time obsessing and talking about food, reading cookbooks or spending a lot of time cooking!
- Such people often live in denial of their health status and mental depression. They refuse to accept the truth even after having been diagnosed by an eating disorder health professional.
- Anorexia alters the mood of the person, increasing feelings of anxiety and depression. Such people tend to stop socializing and become more reserved.
- Even though the human body is a work of miracle designed to survive under adverse conditions, starvation can lead to several problems. After fat sources are depleted from the body, it starts breaking down muscles to use as a source of energy. In such conditions, the heart has to work overtime to make up for the dwindling sources of energy. People with anorexia are known to be prone to bradycardia, heart attacks, strokes and even death.
Early detection and treatment are critical to complete recovery.