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Anorexia Nervosa At A Glance

Anorexia Nervosa At A Glance
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and, more importantly, a psychological disorder.
The cause of anorexia has not been definitively established, but self-esteem and self-image issues, societal pressures, and genetic factors likely each play a role.
Anorexia affects females far more often than males and is most common in adolescent females.
Anorexia tends to affect the middle and upper socioeconomic classes and Caucasians more than less advantaged classes and ethnic minorities in the United States.
The disorder affects about 1% of adolescent girls in the U.S.
People with anorexia tend to show compulsive behaviors, may become obsessed with food, and often show behaviors consistent with other addictions in their efforts to overly control their food intake and weight.
The extreme dieting and weight loss can lead to a potentially fatal degree of malnutrition.
Other possible consequences of anorexia include heart-rhythm disturbances, digestive abnormalities, bone density loss, anemia, and hormonal and electrolyte imbalances.
Most medications treat symptoms that are associated with anorexia much better than they address the specific symptoms of anorexia themselves.
The treatment of anorexia must focus on more than just weight gain and often involves a combination of individual, group, and family psychotherapies in addition to nutritional counseling.
The Maudsley model of family therapy, in which the family actively participates in helping their loved one achieve a more healthy weight, is considered the most effective method of family therapy for treating anorexia in adolescents.
The prognosis of anorexia is variable, with some people making a full recovery. Others experience a fluctuating pattern of weight gain followed by a relapse, or a progressively deteriorating course over many years.
As with many other addictions, it takes a day-to-day effort to control the urge to relapse, and treatment may be needed on a long-term basis.
Increased understanding of the causes and treatments for anorexia remain the focus of ongoing research in the effort to improve the outcomes of individuals with this disorder.

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