Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by the loss of at least 15% of normal body weight, severely restricted food intake accompanied by an intense fear of “fatness”, a distorted body image, absence or suspension of the menstrual cycle and often, other life threatening medical complications.
Types of Anorexia (Typically, there are two types of Anorexia)
- The Restricting Type: Weight loss is accomplished primarily through dieting, fasting or excessive exercise.
- The Binge Eating/Purging Type: The individual regularly binge eats, followed by a purging episode, which might involve self-induced vomiting, compulsive exercise or the misuse of laxatives diuretics or enemas. In this subtype, some individuals do not binge eat, but do regularly purge even after the consumption of small amounts of food.
Medical and Psychological Consequences
In addition to absence or suspension of the menstrual cycle, medical complications may include malnutrition, weakness, dehydration, cold intolerance, low blood pressure, yellowing of the skin, growth of fine hair on the body, decalcification of teeth, damage to the kidneys, gastrointestinal problems and heart failure.
As malnutrition takes it toll, cognitive distortion may increase making it even more difficult to convince a person with Anorexia that they are not, in fact, “fat”. People with Anorexia often suffer from mood swings, depression, low self-esteem, shame, all-or-nothing thinking and perfectionism…all of which impacts their relationships with others.
Among mental health disorders, Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates.
Treatment with a qualified Eating Disorders Specialist is crucial to a person’s recovery.
Note… If you are struggling with active Bulimia or Anorexia, please know those are not my areas of specialty. Therefore, I would not be an appropriate Coach for you.