Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa: 3 Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Anorexia nervosa, commonly called anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized by excessive fear when gaining weight, and impaired perception of body shape. Anorexia sufferers are obsessed with having a thin body, and make various efforts to get the ideal body shape according to them.

To obtain or maintain a thin body shape, anorexia sufferers will go to great lengths to limit the portion of food to a minimum, or use medications such as laxatives and appetite suppressants. Although the weight has been greatly reduced, anorexia sufferers will continue to exercise excessively for fear of gaining weight.

Read also: 
Symptoms of Anorexia, and When to See the Doctor

Causes of Anorexia Nervosa

The causes of anorexia nervosa are not known for certain, but there is a combination of factors that can cause a person to experience this eating disorder, including:

Biological factors

There may be genetic influences that put a person at higher risk of developing the condition than others. For example, people who have a genetic predisposition to perfectionism.

Psychological factors

Some sufferers of this eating disorder may have obsessive-compulsive personality traits that make it easier to stick to a strict diet and forget about food despite being hungry.

They may also have a high level of anxiety in their weight so are encouraged to continue on a strict diet.

Environmental factors

The environment of friendship or family who think that a slim body is a standard of beauty, can put pressure on someone who is worried about his weight.

This can trigger a hard desire to be skinny, and do the wrong way of losing weight.

How to diagnose anorexia nervosa

Doctors adhere to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) standards for diagnosing anorexia nervosa. Patients who are declared to have this condition often limit their food intake, have problems with the appearance of the body, and are very afraid if they gain weight.

To make a diagnosis and determine the cause of weight loss, the doctor will carry out the following tests and procedures:

  • A thorough physical examination to look for signs and symptoms such as difficulty breathing, and abnormalities in the hair and skin.
  • Review a patient’s medical record
  • Blood and urine tests – Both to measure levels of certain hormones and check liver, thyroid, and kidney function.
  • Imaging tests – Doctors will also ask patients to undergo X-rays and other imaging tests to check for signs of disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system and internal organs of the patient. The test can detect fractures, pneumonia, and abnormalities in the heart.

Anorexia Nervosa Treatment

Emergency care may be required in the event of dehydration, malnutrition, kidney failure, or heart rhythm disorders that can be life-threatening.

Even so, anorexia treatment is difficult because most of the sufferers avoid that they suffer from this disorder. Like other eating disorders, anorexia requires a comprehensive therapeutic plan tailored to the needs of the sufferer.

The purpose of therapy is to return the sufferer to return sufferers to their ideal body weight, overcome emotional problems such as inferiority, improve mindset, and create long-term behavioral changes. The methods of therapy include:

Individual counseling

Individual counseling that focuses on changing the mindset and behavior of sufferers.

The drugs.

Certain antidepressant drugs can help overcome anxiety and depression associated with this disorder.

Nutrition consultation.

The aim is to teach about healthy foods and ideal weight, restore the diet in a normal direction, as well as teach the importance of nutrition for the body and the consumption of a balanced diet.

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Ask your doctor for advice on vitamin and mineral supplements that suit your body’s condition. If you have a poor diet, it is most likely that your body does not get the essential nutrients it needs.

Avoid people

Avoid people, activities or places that could trigger you to become thin. Also, avoid looking at pictures of skinny people in magazines, social media or someone you idealize. Try not to discuss dieting with anyone because it can mess up your intention to recover from anorexia.

Group or family therapy.

It is hoped that people with eating disorders will get support and be able to discuss their feelings and concerns openly with others who have similar experiences and problems.


As described above, hospitalization may be necessary to overcome excessive weight loss resulting in malnutrition and serious complications, such as heart disorders, severe depression, and sui**cidal desire.

Last Updated on December 14, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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