Anorexia nervosa is characterized by recent extreme weight loss, an obsession with an overly thin frame, disordered eating in the form of restricting and sometimes purging, and sometimes over-exercising. A common misconception is that a person must be very underweight to struggle with anorexia, but persons who are overweight and have recently begun starving themselves are equally in dagner. Teens who struggle with anorexia are more typically underweight and will often restrict their food to the point of illness, unconvinced that they are thin enough to stop what they are doing. Attempts to maintain this unhealthy state (via starvation, laxative or diuretic abuse, fluid restriction, vomiting, and over-exercising) makes early teen anorexia treatment essential.
Anorexia nervosa is diagnosed in teens who purposefully go out of their way to reduce and maintain incredibly low body weight, and does not refer to medical conditions with symptoms such as wasting and atrophy, infection, malnutrition/famine, or several other syndromes and diseases. Atypical anorexia nervosa is diagnosed in teens who do not fit the underweight category, but who go to similar extreme and harmful measures to drastically reduce their weight.
Anorexia has a long history, with documented examples of medical cases strongly mirroring modern examples of anorexia and bulimia in ancient China, Egypt, and Rome. Historical documents imply several religious figures known for their pious fasting may have been anorexic, and 19th-century records by English and French physicians have identified patterns of self-induced starvation because of emotional anguish. Today, anorexia seems to be the most glamorized form of eating disorder, showing up in movies and television shows and depicted by beautiful young women. This can make treatment very difficult as teens create a glamorized identity around their own relationship with the eating disorder, often romanticizing their behaviors and how they feel when they are thin.
Cases of anorexia nervosa only apply where a teen’s physical state is a direct result of their eating and exercising habits, and not due to another medical cause. At Visions Treatment Centers, we help teens who struggle with anorexia gain a healthier understanding of themselves and their needs, assist them in improving their self-esteem, create more supportive coping skills for stress, depression and anxiety, and take small steps towards a more empathic and realistic self-image.