Anorexia Nervosa Causes
Anorexia nervosa refers to an eating disorder in which individuals attempt to gain control over their lives by regulating the amount of food they consume. This disorder has a psychological basis and it could be a manifestation of the anxiety, tension and anger the individual may be experiencing. People with anorexia nervosa begin to severely restrict the amount of food they eat and hence lose a considerable amount of weight. Even though they may actually be quite thin, these people perceive themselves to be overweight. Besides fasting, they may also resort to exercising excessively and using laxatives. Anorexia nervosa symptoms include menstrual problems, brittle skin, breathing problems and anxiety. There are also some medical risks associated with this eating disorder. These include irregular heartbeat, shrunken bones and stunted growth.
The exact causes of anorexia are still unknown. However studies have been able to narrow down on some possible causative factors. There could be a genetic component that influences the susceptibility of an individual to this disorder. Research is still continuing to find out the specific gene that many be affecting an individual’s vulnerability to anorexia. Anorexia causes could also include a disruption in the functioning of the thalamus. Some experts also suspect the possibility of neurotransmitter imbalances in the body as being associated with an increased susceptibility to the condition. A history of under-eating, feeding problems during infancy and maternal depressive symptoms may be some of the risk factors for the occurrence of anorexia. Individuals who suffer from intense negative feelings about themselves or are obsessed with perfectionism may also be predisposed to developing anorexia. For most individuals, the disorder is triggered when there is severe pressure to be thin. Many with this condition have been victims of abuse during childhood. Individuals with anorexia have a lower than normal body weight. They are also bound by a severe fear of gaining weight and are resistant to maintaining normal body weight. They perceive themselves as fat even when they are extremely thin and experience missed menstrual periods in succession.
Anorexia treatment is aimed at alleviating the symptoms of the condition. The individual is helped to regain her normal body weight. The psychological problems that may be triggering the disorder are also addressed. In some cases, mood stabilizers may be prescribed to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Psychotherapy may also be used to correct the individual’s way of thinking and behavior. Family counseling may also be necessary in some cases.