There are different main characteristic's for the mental illness of anorexia nervosa. This mental illness has to do with a person's eating habit and is classified as an extreme illness. Anorexia nervosa is a way a person deals with emotional stress. This may happen sometime's because of how a person feels about their appearance, so they avoid food, they feel if they eat food then the weight it gained immediately. When a person chooses not to eat willingly, this means they will not consume the nourishment needed to keep his or her body at a minimum weight that is considered average for his or her height and age. Another characteristic of anorexia nervosa is distorted self -perception which has to deal with the bodies shape and/or size and is also a fear for gaining weight (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).
When diagnosing anorexia nervosa it is based on four categories that is outlined in the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorder and this also depends on what stage the person is in. In Criteria A deals with the patient's that refuse to stay at a normal weight, this happens by not keeping his or her weight at 85% or at least equal to the expected weight for his or her height and age. In Criteria B it deals with a persons fear of abnormal weight gain even if the person's underweight. Any person that denies that they (he or she) has anorexia nervosa, have a distorted perception of their appearance or weight, and/or demonstrates an obsession about their apperance or weight, then the person has met the standards for criteria C. However, when a female misses three menstrual cycles because of behavior shown in Criteria's A through C, then
this means she has met the fourth and last criteria which is Criteria D for anorexia nervosa (Gentile, 2010).
There are also two sub-types of anorexia that exist. One sub type is restrictive anorexics and binge-eating/purging; restrictive anorexics will limit the nutritional intake and will not use enemas, diuretics, and laxatives. This type of anorexics does not binge or purge like the other type just to controll their weight. “Binge eating/purging” is the main term that is used (Gentile, 2010).
There have been studies that shows anorexia nervosa being prevalent since the early 1903's. It was then recorded by a man named Pierre Janet used a woman named Nadia as an example, who only wanted to eat and drink soup, tea, and vinegar to stop the slightest weight gain. She only would read about food and this satisfied her. He figured that this condition has to deal with delusions, which in her mind she would become overweight like her mother was (Habermas, 2005). This was the beginning to an ongoing increase for those who suffer from anorexia nervosa.
There was another study that suggest three cases in the years 1958 through 1962, 1968 through 1972, and 1978 through 1982 these were to be analyzed, so that there would be a much better knowledge for the disease. These years have been chosen because the numbers have increased over four times due to lack of education from the causes and effects (Habermas, 2005).
There are two neurotransmitters affected from anorexia nervosa: Serotonin and Dopamine. The first one (Sertonin) is responsible for an individual's temperature, sleep, sexual reactions, locomotive, feelings and emotions. The second one (Dopamine) is
responsible for the thought process as well as regulating behavior and moods ( Eating Disorder 1996-2011)
These effects from anorexia nervosa should most definiatlybe taken very serioulsy. There are so many negative effects like bloating, osteoporosis, malnutrition, swelling, low blood pressure, and dehydration. Due to the metabolism being affected it can lead to cardiac arrest or even death ( Eating Disorder 1996-2011).
This is not just a physical and psychologicial worry, it is a medical worry as well. Some symtoms associated with anorexia nervosa can be pain, vomiting, cold feeling, constipation, abdominal pains, and low energy. When you start to see these symtoms then weight loss will take over ( Anorexia Nervosa, 2011).
There are other disorders that can cause anorexia nervosa to be ruled out as a illness because if these being related to a mental illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, and social phobia these all share the same diagnosis (Anorexia Nervosa 2011).
At first people dealt with anorexia nervosa using psychotherapy verses now and days where you have different ways to deal with it. There is still psychotherapy, family or grroup therapy, and with these therapies there is medication given (antidepressants) to help with the process (Diseases & Conditions, 1995-2011). In this treatment process they will also teach their patients the benefits of food as well encourage them to eat healthy and properly.
There are also cases in which people suffer from psychosis, suicidal attacks, and depression; in this case it does not only affect patients, but the people around (Diseases & Conditions, 1995-2011). There are also some severe cases as to which hospitalization
confinement is needed because they are only 60% of their ideal and normal body weight for their age and height.
There is also something else that can help affect a patient's conditioning from improving or worsening; If the people around knows the person and knows that this person is suffering from this mental illness, then they can help by encouraging the patient to eat and live a long healthy life. If denial is present it makes it extra harder on the patient to help him or herself when dealing with anorexia nervosa (Anorexia Nervosa, 2011) Having people around you who are willing to stick around and help you in your time of need makes your road to recovery easier, not 100 %, but maybe 50% of it. A support system is always needed when handling these types of situations, it's almost like a person being on drugs, you do not need no one around you who is going to judge you in anyway because that only makes your struggle even harder. When you handle these situations alone it makes it hard to deal with because sometime's you feel like what's the point in seeking help if no one around will take the time out to really care about your feelings and your health. When you face this mental illness alone you have to be strong, being strong is the only way you are going to see your way through it.
Since this disease is well known, it's treated as a very serious illness that needs to be taken care of. Even though studies have been made, this disease has become worse over time. This disease affects the way the body works and because of it being such a serious disease it can even cause death (Anorexia nervosa fact sheet, n.d.). This means that the disease must be known at an early stage, so that it will be easy to cure or even prevent; this is when therapy and medication is used to help with this illness (Gentile, 2010). The way the treatments are still similar is because to treat this disease therapy is still being used to help with on going care the only thing extra now would be the medication being added on to it.
Anorexia nervosa. (2011)
Anorexia nervosa factsheet
Gentile, M. (2010) Anorexia nervosa
Habermas, T. (2005) Implications of Anorexia nervosa
Disease & Conditions. (1995-2001)