Anorexia treatment | The right type of therapy for anorexia

anorexia treatment

Health and information – Anorexia cannot be underestimated, because it can interfere with daily activities. However, before discussing anorexia treatment, it is better if we first understand what anorexia is, the signs and symptoms of anorexia, the causes of anorexia. Here is the information we have compiled for you.

Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) is a psychological disorder characterized by drastic weight loss in which a person experiences a fear that he may gain weight.

People with anorexia usually have personal problems such as stress and emotional outbursts and attribute this to a fear of looking fat. The appearance in a person with anorexia is characterized by very prominent characteristics and posture.

Anorexia sufferers will always try to lose weight, even though the weight is below normal. This disturbance makes the sufferer force himself to use extreme means. For example, not eating right, or even exercising too intensely.

Patients have the wrong perception of their weight and always think that they are fat, when in fact they are thin. Anorexics are very afraid of gaining weight.

What are the signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia sufferers will usually experience several symptoms, such as:

  1. The discoloration of the finger becomes bluish
  2. Extreme weight loss does not keep pace with development
  3. Hair that is thinning, breaking, or falling out
  4. Menstruation interrupted (for women)
  5. The appearance was too thin, so the bones protruded
  6. The presence of fine hairs covering the body (lanugo)
  7. Dehydration
  8. Limit excessive food intake
  9. Excessive exercise
  10. Denying hunger and avoiding food
  11. Eat little or nothing
  12. Lying about what you ate, how much food you ate, when you started eating, or your weight
  13. Always look at yourself in the mirror to see what flaws you feel
  14. Reducing interest in sex
  15. The presence of pain in the stomach and constipation
  16. Withdrawing from social life
  17. Check your weight repeatedly
  18. Insomnia
  19. Easy to get angry
  20. Tiring easily

What causes anorexia?

Psychologically, anorexia is caused by emotional and physical factors. According to basic psychology, anorexic sufferers will feel disturbed by their own appearance.

They will still feel like losing weight even though their body condition is very far from the average body mass index so that they are considered thin.

Young women suffer from this disease more often. Women tend to pay attention to posture in order to stay slim, unfortunately this method is not suitable to be applied.

Lack of food intake in anorexia sufferers has an impact on health conditions. Anorexia sufferers will lack nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and carbohydrates because they are not interested in eating food.

As a result, body fat decreases and muscle mass increases, making the body weak. Inadequate eating also lowers the immune system because the body is unable to make the immune system susceptible to disease.

What are the symptoms of anorexia?

The habit of losing excess weight has a big impact on health. Very often this condition causes symptoms visible to the naked eye. Symptoms due to anorexia can be divided into 2 types, namely emotional (behavioral) symptoms and physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms that appear in people with anorexia include:
  • Dry skin
  • Often feels cold
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair that starts to fall out
  • Immune disorders
  • Difficulty sleeping well
  • Often feel dizzy
  • Easy to pass out
  • Stomach pain and cramps.
Emotional symptoms that appear in individuals with anorexia include:
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Always be picky about food
  • Always skip meals
  • Denying himself hungry
  • Menstrual disorders in women
  • Doing excessive activity or sports
  • Divert your attention as often as possible
  • Take laxatives or hunger suppressants

It turns out that there are also diseases that can accompany anorexia, namely:

  • Diarrhea. Indigestion is common in anorexics. Apart from diarrhea, other conditions are gastritis and constipation
  • Anemia. Insufficient food intake can cause hemoglobin levels to fall and the body’s nutritional composition to decrease, causing anemia. Some cases of anemia that often occur are iron deficiency anemia, vitamin B 12, folic acid)
  • Menstrual disorders. Hormonal changes in women affect menstrual conditions, such as delayed menstruation or prolonged menstrual bleeding.
  • Osteoporosis. Insufficient intake of vitamin D and calcium causes people with anorexia to have a high risk of developing osteoporosis.
  • Caridovascular disorders. Anorexia sufferers are at risk for heart problems due to decreased levels of calcium and magnesium in the body.
  • Miscarriage. Anorkesia sufferers during pregnancy can be at risk of causing miscarriage due to lack of maternal nutrition for the fetus.

Diagnosis of anorexia nervosa

Based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is a guide from the American Psychiatrist Association, the criteria for anorexia diagnosis are as follows:

  1. Limiting calorie intake to below the energy consumption required for significant weight loss in terms of age, gender, stage of development, and physical health. Low body weight is defined as body weight that is below normal.
  2. Disturbed perception of a person’s shape or weight, the effect of weight or improper body shape on self-evaluation, or a persistent lack of awareness of the seriousness of a person’s low body weight.
  3. Persistent fear of gaining weight or becoming obese, or behaviors that prevent weight gain, even when the individual is very thin.

Doctors and other mental health professionals can diagnose this disorder in several ways, including:

  1. Physical examination by measuring height, weight, vital signs, etc.
  2. Psychological evaluation to check the patient’s thoughts, feelings and eating habits.
  3. Laboratory tests will get complete blood count results, as well as blood tests to see the function of the liver, kidneys, and so on.
  4. Other tests include X-rays to check bone density, the presence or absence of a fracture or fracture, possible pneumonia, or heart problems, and use of an electrocardiogram to see if there are any abnormalities in the heart.

Anorexia treatment, what can be done?

If you, a family member, or a close friend has anorexia, it is advisable to consult your doctor and other mental health professionals.

Management of anorexia usually consists of a combination of therapy, monitoring weight gain, and recommendations for appropriate diet. Anorexia can be treated through family-based therapy and individual therapy.

Family-based therapy is quite effective for children and adolescents. However, if the patient is an adult, individual therapy will be more appropriate.

Individual therapy can help normalize diet, improve weight gain behavior, and improve the patient’s perspective on his body.

In particular, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in individual therapy can help adult individuals. However, drugs are not recommended to treat anorexia.

If you have anorexia, here are some things that can help:

  1. Don’t isolate yourself and tell those closest to you about your condition.
  2. Continue to follow the treatment that has been done.
  3. Don’t keep weighing yourself or checking your shape in the mirror.
  4. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about the diet and supplements you need.

Family, friends, and the environment can help sufferers by:

  1. Tells you that being too thin does not mean getting better.
  2. Encourage sufferers to be honest about their feelings.
  3. Tell the sufferer that you don’t want them to be perfect because that perfection doesn’t exist.
  4. Emphasize the importance of the character of the sufferer and not the physical.
  5. Helps build sufferers’ self-esteem.
  6. Teach sufferers about the dangers of extreme diets.

Therapy for anorexia treatment

The basis of anorexia therapy can be applied from a psychological and medical perspective. It takes a doctor’s role to treat this condition. Psychologically, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be done to change negative thoughts and behaviors into positive ones for therapeutic purposes.

Family support in this therapy has a big impact on this therapy.

CBT is suitable for treating eating disorders, sleeping, personal problems, and managing stress. Other psychotherapy that can be done is focal psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and family-based medicine.

In addition, psychological therapy can also be combined with drug therapy. Antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs are often used to reduce symptoms and restore personality and mood.

Examples of drugs given are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhabitors (SSRIs) and olanzapine. Severe anorexia conditions need to be hospitalized to avoid complications of the disease.

What can be done to prevent anorexia?

Family members can play an important role by helping the sufferer appreciate his body and not mislead his body.

Family members can prevent your sufferer from getting worse with anorexia by contacting your doctor and other mental health professionals as soon as possible if you notice any symptoms.

But the most important thing is the sensitivity of the environment around the sufferer to be able to detect the possibility of someone experiencing anorexia.

Generally, people with anorexia don’t feel they are in trouble so they don’t want to undergo treatment. If you see people around you or yourself experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned, immediately consult a doctor and a psychologist.

Also read: Health risks of anorexia

That’s what we can say about anorexia treatment. Hopefully our writing can be useful for all of us. Hopefully by reading the article above we can find out about anorexia treatment appropriately.

Don’t forget to always adopt a healthy lifestyle every day so that we are not susceptible to various diseases, especially mental illness. And don’t forget to always consult with your doctor so you can get better treatment.


(Mayo Clinic | Medscape | WebMd | NIH | NHS)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *