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Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder commonly found to affect adolescent girls and women.
This disorder is also found though, in a smaller ratio, in adolescent males and adult men.
It is commonly observed among the teenagers.
Anorexia induces the patient to harbour low self-esteem and a high desire to control their emotions.
Anorexia is a characteristic reaction to a number of external and internal conflicts, such as stress, anxiety, unhappiness and a feeling of life getting out of hand.
Anorexia is a reaction of a person's inability to cope with these negative emotions.


There were many previous case histories of this condition with eating disorder.
>An English physician William Gull coined the term Anorexia Nervosa in 1868. Coining the term Dr Gull emphasized the physiological causes of the condition, the need to restore weight, and the role-played by the family.
>Another physician Charles Lasegue around the same time also gave the current 'key descriptions' of the condition.


Anorexia has been classified as two types-

>Restricting type:

This type of Anorexia is characterised by the patient adopting unhealthy habits, like fasting, to avoid weight gain.

>Binge eating or Purging type:

This type is characterised by the use of self-induced vomiting, or misuse of laxatives or diuretics to help prevent weight gain.


>This condition usually begins in adolescence.
>It typicaly starts with an effort to diet that gets out of self-control.
>Characteristic sign of anorexia nervosa is the intense fear of becoming 'fat' or putting on any extra weight.
>The patients usually have a distorted image of their body and believe that they are grossly over-weight when in reality they are underweight nd this is the reason they refusetoseekhelp. li>The condition is characterised by a very low body weight, generally defined as 15% below the Body Mass Index ' (BMI).

>The characteristic psychological features include obsessive thoughts related to the size and shape of their body.
>To become thin the patients-
May generally eat very little, setting themselves very low calorie limits.

>May try to achieve weight loss by:
-Inducing vomiting
-Strenuous exercise
-Misuse of laxatives
>However interstingly they maybe pre-occupied by the thought of food.
>Sometimes they may enjoy cooking an elaborate meals for others.

>Sometimes patients with Anorexia Nervosa may have associated 'shop lifting' habit especially for food items.
*-There are groups of patients with this condition who do the complete opposite initially.
These patients have repeated episodes of ' binge eating' (uncontrollable eating).
*-It is noted that this behaviour becomes more frequent as the condition becomes chronic, and also with increase in age.
*-During these binges, the patients eat all the food they have been avoiding, and after eating excess they induce vomiting.
*-An aftermath of these binge-eating episodes is a feeling of remorse, followed by intense efforts to lose weight.
>The patients on being encouraged or forced to eat, tend to become angry, hide the food, or vomit as soon as the meal is over.
>Amenorrhoea is a condition that is used as diagnostic criteria in women with Anorexia.
>Patients commonly show symptoms of depression, along with obsessive-compulsive personality traits.
>Mood swings and social withdrawal are other common features.
>There is an increased lack of sexual interest in both men and women.


The general line of treatment is in two phases that can often be merged with each other for effective management.

>Short-term treatment:

Done to ensure weight gain and to correct nutritional deficiencies.

>Long-term treatment:

That is aimed at maintaining the normal weight that needs to be achieved after short-term treatment and preventing relapses.


-Behaviour therapy.
-Individual psychotherapy .
-Group therapy and family therapy .


-Tricyclic antidepressants


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