People with anorexia will deny themselves food to the point of self-starvation as they continue to obsess about weight loss. A person with anorexia will deny hunger and refuse to eat, practice binge eating and purging behaviors, or exercise themselves to the point of exhaustion as they attempt to limit, eliminate, or ‘burn’ calories.
Emotional symptoms of anorexia include irritability, social withdrawal, and lack of mood or emotions. They are often not able to understand the seriousness of the situation, will have a fear of eating in public, and have obsessions with food and exercise. Many times, food rituals are developed, or people may eliminate an entire category of food from their diet for fear of being or feeling ‘fat’.
Anorexia is very physical on the body. Low food intake and inadequate nutrition leaves the person very thin. The person’s body is forced to slow down to conserve energy which can cause irregularities or loss of menstruation, constipation and abdominal pain, irregular heart rhythm, low blood pressure, dehydration, and difficulty sleeping. If you or anyone you know may be experiencing symptoms of anorexia don’t be afraid to seek help. There are treatment methods available to you, and your treatment providers include you in the care plan. Please reach out if you ever experience these symptoms.
By: Amanda Moret, PMHNP, FNP