Anorexia is an eating disorder associated with restraining from eating food due to excessive fear of gaining weight. This is normally accompanied by a self perception that is distorted. Most people who suffer from anorexia think that they are too fat and are always trying to loose weight using unconventional ways. Theses symptoms usually present themselves in persons who are in adolescence ranging up to young adult hood.
Anorexic individuals usually take very little food and sometimes may not take any food at all. They mostly appear too thin and underweight. Anorexia is termed as a disease more so a psychological disorder and may not be easily cured. A person may carry it on even into adult hood. The next best thing is to manage the disease. This disease comes with many complications such as missing of monthly periods (amenorrhea) for a period of three months, being vulnerable to a number of diseases due to poor dietary practices, among other medical complications. Even though the disease affects also men, it is known to affect more women than it does men.
Causes of Anorexia
The following are some of the cause associated with anorexia:
- Genetics are known to be an underlying factor in anorexia. Studies have shown that people who suffer from anorexia had a close relative in their blood line who suffered the same.
- Deregulation of serotonin is another cause of anorexia. Areas in the brain that have the 5HT1A receptor are affected by the secretion of serotonin. The receptor is associated with controlling impulses, moods and anxiety. The deregulation of serotonin causes starvation to be a response to this.
- Nutritional deficiencies such as lack of zinc in the body may be another underlying cause for anorexia. Experts believe that it may not be a possible factor that causes the illness but it may be a factor that accelerates the rate at which the disease develops and becomes fully blown.
- Ghrelin and leptin hormones are thought to be an underlying cause for anorexia. Leptin is the hormone that is produced by fat cells in adipose tissues. It makes one loose appetite and feels as though they are full. Ghrelin on the other hand induces appetite and is produced by the small intestines and the stomach. Both hormones have to circulate adequately in the body in order to help us maintain our weight. Even though their imbalance is often associated with obesity, experts believe that they are also associated with anorexia.
- Social cultural factors that encourage thinness are thought to be the main cause of anorexia. This is because thinness is often associated with beauty. For instance the modeling industry illustrates that only thin girls are qualified to join it. Fashion icons and other fashion houses prefer to use thin girls. This mentality that thin is beautiful contributes to anorexia because of the pressure that comes with being thin.
- Environmental factors such as living in populations with a high prevalence of obesity could be a cause of anorexia. Experts suggest that there is a sexual drie that makes people want to become thin because they appear to be more attractive and youthful in a population where the size of the individual determines their age.
Symptoms of Anorexia
The following are some of the symptoms associated with anorexia:
- Refusing to maintain a body mass index that is normal for a person’s age.
- Missing of three consecutive menstrual cycles otherwise known as amenorrhea.
- The fear of gaining weight. The individual may result to extreme measures to avoid gaining weight.
- Weight loss that is sudden and dramatic
- The individual tends to be obsessed with the amount of calories they take as well as the amount of fats.
- Lanugo, which is a condition whereby the face and the body begin to grow fine hairs.
- The individual may become obsessed with cooking a nice elaborate meal and trying out new recipes but will not eat the food.
- The individual subscribes to a variety of diet plans despite the fact that they are underweight.
- They tend to cit food into small pieces and will want to hide away from others during meals so as to discard the food.
- In case the individual finds that they have to eat the food, they will turn to measures such as purging to overcompensate for the calories that they have eating. Others may turn to laxatives or diet pills so as to quickly get rid of the consumed calories.
- A distorted self image is another symptom for anorexia. The individual constantly views themselves as fat even though other people tell them they are too thin.
- They might succumb to depression and become easily irritable and moody.
- The individual will also withdraw themselves from other people and prefer to be alone.
Home Remedies for Anorexia
The desire to maintain a great body shape is known to be the major cause of anorexia. There are several home remedies that you can use to treat this condition and some of these are. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Ginger- Ginger together with rock salt is known to treat anorexia effectively. A little piece of ginger and lemon can work wonders in treating anorexia. It is recommended that you take this mixture daily especially on an empty stomach for about 15 days. The mixture helps to boost the patient’s appetite.
- Fresh Oranges- Fresh oranges daily will help to improve your appetite and tone up your digestive system. Always include fresh oranges and other fruits in your diet to keep anorexia and other common stomach disorders at bay.
- Hot Water and Lime- Taking a mixture of lime and hot water everyday will go a long way in improving your appetite and prevent you from acquiring the anorexia condition. A mixture of lime, ginger and rock salt can also be effective in treating this condition.
- Apple- Apples have been found to be highly effective in improving anorexia condition. They work by stimulating the flow of enzymes known as pepsin that help in the digestion of protein. Remember that for you to treat your anorexia condition you need to boost your appetite.
- Garlic- Garlic is an herbal remedy for many health problems including anorexia. You are supposed to take three cloves a day. The good thing is that these cloves can be taken in different forms such as raw, a mixture of powdered garlic and soup, and boiled garlic. Garlic is effective in improving appetite since it helps in food digestion and cleansing of the digestion tract. Taking garlic regularly increases hunger and secretion of fluids that cleanse the digestive system.
- Sour Grapes- This juice is effective in improving appetite as well as cleansing the digestive system. You should take this juice for about three weeks to have more useful results.
It is important to note however that the step to gaining weight is not easy because the disorder was caused by the fear of loosing weight in the first place. The main goal of the treatment process is to help the individual achieve a normal weight as well as overcome distorted body images.
Diet for Anorexia
Persons suffering from anorexia are given the following dietary measures:
- Persons that suffer from anorexia are given zinc supplements which help the individual to gain weight. Studies have shown that individuals who do not suffer from zinc deficiency still gain weight after ingesting the zinc supplements.
- Anorexia patients are encouraged to eat foods that are rich in essential fatty acids. Fatty acids such as omega-3 have shown that neuropsychiatric disorders are better managed when they are taken.
- These patients are also taken through nutritional counseling where a diet plan is drafted for them. The diet plan usually indicates how many calories the patient should consume in order to help them acquire the right weight for their age and height.
- Other supplements may also be given to the individual that include vitamins, and other essential minerals such as magnesium, copper and phosphorous among others.
Prevention of Anorexia
Even though there are no guaranteed ways of preventing anorexia, there are certain steps that can help one to maintain a positive lifestyle. The following are some of the things an individual can do to maintain a positive lifestyle:
- Maintaining a positive body image is important in preventing the development of low self esteem which is a common factor behind the development of anorexia. There are any positive things that you can do with your body such as dressing up, staying fit, engaging in a variety of sports, etc.
- Eat healthy foods that will make you feel energized which will in turn contribute to a healthy spirit. Foods such as vegetables and fruits contribute positively to your diet. Indulge in eating what your body desires once in a while instead of denying yourself all the time and eating celery sticks. If your body craves for pizza then you can eat it whole if you wish. However, do not forget that over indulgence in junk food is bad for your health.
- Get involved in a variety of activities that you like such as community service or other activities that will make you feel appreciated. Avoid making friends or keeping company that does not contribute positively to your self esteem. Keep off friends that encourage you to loose weight in unconventional ways or try to demean you because of your body size.
- Finally, learn to get comfortable in your own body. This can be achieved by setting realistic goals. The media tends to display thinness as the key to beauty. However, it is possible to not be thin and still be beautiful. The first step is to develop a positive attitude that you are beautiful and in turn, people will view you as being beautiful.
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