Anorexia – Psychiatric condition caused by fear of gaining weight

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is caused due to a psychiatric condition, noticeable by fear of gaining weight.  The disorder creates a distorted mental picture of what one’s body actually looks like resulting in extreme dieting in order to lose weight or exercise for long periods or take diuretics (drugs that increase urine output) in order to lose weight. Anorexiaaffects females far more often than males and is most common in adolescent females.


Anorexia tends to affect the middle and upper socioeconomic classes. Men with Anorexia are more likely to also have other psychological problems; affected women tend to be more perfectionists and be more displeased with their bodies. 40 percent of diagnosed patients are between fifteen and nineteen years old.

Symptoms of Anorexia

Symptoms of Anorexia can be psychological as well as physical, some of the symptoms are as follows:-

  • Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
  • An intense fear of gaining weight
  • A distorted body image
  • Abnormally slow heartbeat
  •  Low blood pressure
  • Episodes of weakness and dizziness
  •  Low levels of calcium and magnesium in the blood
  •  Anemia (red blood cell count that is too low)
  •  Distorted view of their own bodies, seeing themselves as being much bigger than they really are.
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive behavior
  • Substance abuse
  • Issues with the heart and/or brain
  • Problems with physical development

Causes of Anorexia

  • Cultural. Large number of women are also feeling pressure to have a perfect body, after looking up at images of flawless, thin females everywhere makes it hard for women to feel good about their bodies
  • Families. Father, mother or sister or brother with Anorexia increases your chances to develop the disorder. Parents who think looks are important, diet themselves, or criticize their children’s bodies are more likely to have a child with anorexia.
  • Life changes or stressful events. Traumatic events as well as stressful things  can lead to the onset of anorexia.
  • Genetic. Genes, hormones, and chemicals in the brain may be factors in developing anorexia.

 Treatment of Anorexia

  1. People with anorexia deny that they have an eating disorder and likely to argue with the doctor that they simply have a different lifestyle and should be left alone. The aim of the treatment is
  • To restore normal body weight
  • To inculcate normal eating habits
  1. The above mentioned aims are achieved by
  • Escalating social activity
  • Reducing the amount of physical activity
  • Using healthy schedules for eating
    • Talk therapy are also used to treat people with anorexia. Cognitive behavioral therapy (a    type of talk therapy), group therapy, and family therapy have all been found successful.
  1. A longer hospital stay may be needed if:
  • The person has lost a lot of weight (being below 70% of their ideal body weight for their age and height).
  • Weight loss continues even with treatment
  • Medical complications, such as heart problems, confusion, or low potassium levels develop
  • The person has severe depression or thinks about committing suicide

Medication for Anorexia

Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers may help some anorexic patients when given as ingredient of an entire treatment program.

  • Antidepressants, especially SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis) or other antipsychotics




One thought on “Anorexia – Psychiatric condition caused by fear of gaining weight

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