What is anorexia nervosa ?
Anorexia nervosa refers to loss of appetite resulting from nervous anxiety. This worrying condition is self- induced and seen mainly in young women. It is considered to be a psychological disorder which begins in efforts to slim. The women reduces the intake of food more and more until, she is virtually eating nothing and becomes very thin. She develops a distorted image of her own body and is not able to realize that it is very harmful and that it spoils the appearance rather than enhance it. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They lose a lot of weight and are terrified of gaining weight.
Anorexia nervosa mainly girls or women, although boys or men can also suffer from it. It usually starts in the teenage years. They believe they are fat even though they are very thin. Anorexia isn’t just a problem with food or weight.
Anorexia Nervosa Signs and Symptoms
A women suffering from anorexia nervosa refuses to eat, sleeps very little, although she remains very active. She may lose weight up to 25 per cent of the normal weight. There may be a stoppage of menstruation and lack of sexual desire. She is often impatient, irritable and depressed. In course of time, emaciation become severe and may even result in death, if not treated properly. Some common symptoms of anorexia nervosa are :-
- Sufferers have a constant fear of gaining weight, as well as a feeling of being fat, even when their weight is much less than that of other people of the same height.
- Sufferers may feel bloated, even after a small meal.
- Weight loss of at least 15 per cent below the normal ideal body weight for a person of the same age and height.
Anorexia Nervosa Causes
Women suffering from anorexia nervosa condition tend to have a some what neurotic personality. They set very high standards for themselves, and any failure to reach their idea of perfection results in much heart-searching. This attitude extends to their search for an ‘ideal’ slim body. Fear of failure in any undertaking also plays a part in the onset of the disease. Specific criticism may be the final precipitating factor in the food refusal, as for instance, a chance joking remark from a school fellow about fatness.
Failure to eat an adequate nutritious diet can lead to metabolic upset and serious illness. Inspite of appearing to have a super abundance of energy, the patient is living off bodily reserves and in the very advanced stages, the body chemistry is irreversibly upset.
Common causes includes – Girls with anorexia usually stop having menstrual periods. People with anorexia have dry skin and thinning hair on the head. They may have a growth of fine hair all over their body. They may feel cold all the time, and they may get sick often. The anorexia nervosa disease is mainly encountered in the western world and is more common among women in certain professions, such as models and ballet dancers.
Anorexia Nervosa Treatment
Treatment of anorexia is difficult, because people with anorexia believe there is nothing wrong with them. Patients in the early stages of anorexia (less than 6 months or with just a small amount of weight loss) may be successfully treated without having to be admitted to the hospital. But for successful treatment, patients must want to change and must have family and friends to help them.
Home Remedies for Anorexia Nervosa
Oranges are an extremely useful remedy for anorexia. They stimulate the flow of digestive juices, there by improving digestion and increasing appetite. One or two oranges a day are advised.
2. Sour Grapes
Sour grapes are another home remedy for anorexia. The juice of these grapes should be used in kneading the flour before preparing the bread. This bread should be used continuously for two or three weeks. It will tone up the stomach and create good appetite.
Lime is also a valuable remedy for restoring a lost appetite. A preparation made from this fruit and ginger has been found very effective in overcoming this condition. About one teaspoon of the juice of lime should be mixed with an equal quantity of the juice of ginger. One gram of rock salt should be added to this mixture. It should then be placed in sunlight for three days. A teaspoon taken after each meal will tone up the digestive system and improve the appetite.
Apples are another variety of fruit useful in anorexia. They help digestion by stimulating the flow of pepsin, a protein digesting enzyme, in the stomach. The old adage, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, is certainly a valuable one.
Garlic possesses a special property to stimulate the digestive tone of the system and improve appetite. A soup prepared from this vegetable can be of immense help to a patient suffering from anorexia. Three or four cloves of raw garlic should be boiled in a cup of water. This soup can be reinforced with the juice of half a lemon and taken twice daily.
The use of ginger is valuable in the loss of appetite. About five grams of this vegetable should be ground and licked with a little salt once a day for the treatment of this condition.