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Definition of anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves voluntarily limit their food for fear of gaining weight and growing. This is not a loss of appetite or decreased sensation of hunger.

Distortion of the perception of body weight loss induced spiral unlimited up to 50% of normal weight, with a risk of death very present. Unfortunately a feature of anorexia is denial, which makes it very difficult to support medical and psychological.

Origins of Anorexia

Prerogative of women (9 out of 10 cases), anorexia is common in adolescence, in all walks of life. It can become chronic and continue into adulthood (one third of cases). Many bulimic anorexics tend alternating deprivation and bingeing.

We estimated 1 to 2% the number of women aged 12 to 20 years affected by anorexia. In addition, many young women (20% according to some surveys) tend to fasting and food restriction without meeting all the criteria for mental illness.

Risk of anorexia

Besides weight loss, anorexia nervosa is accompanied by physical complications due to food deprivation: early osteoporosis, which begins six months after the onset of weight loss (40% of anorexic teenagers), esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus due to repeated vomiting), pain in heart effort, growth retardation, blood disorders, kidney disease, and metabolic disorders.

This condition is life at stake when the body mass index (BMI) less than 12 or 13.

An estimated 10% mortality: the half attempted suicide, which represents 15 to 20% of patients, half with cachexia (severe malnutrition).

In one third of cases, when anorexia is caught in time, healing is possible resumption of normal life. In one third of cases, anorexics have, in addition to their eating disorder, other behavioral disorders, such as phobias, which require a specific treatment.

Signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa

The eating disorder is long hidden cleverly by the patient. It can induce vomiting after meals or use laxatives (medicines to accelerate intestinal transit), appetite suppressants, thyroid hormones and amphetamines.

When the signs are obvious thinness, it is easier to suggest the diagnosis. The alternating periods of anorexia and bulimia are common but not immediately evocative.

The absence or cessation of menses (amenorrhea) a few months after dietary restriction is a good symptom, as always present. It is associated with a rejection of sexuality (and femininity).
In return, we note such symptoms, hyperactivity with hyperinvestissement intellectual, and in 10% of cases an addiction (drugs, drugs, tobacco, alcohol). Depletion of social relations associated with mood disorders ( anxiety and depression) and sleep.

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