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Cause of Anorexia and Treatment

What are the causes of anorexia nervosa?

     The exact cause of anorexia nervosa remains unknown. People with anorexia may believe that they would be happier and more successful if they were thin. Anorexics tend to be perfectionists. They want everything in their lives to be perfect. People suffering from this illness are typically good students and are involved in many school and community activities. They tend to blame themselves if things in their life are less than perfect. Many anorexics suffer from errors in thinking or perceptions. They incorrectly believe they need to lose weight to find happiness. Body image distortions are common place among anorexics. Others have had difficulties in relationships and manifest these problems through their eating habits. Anorexia can also be the delayed result of unresolved conflicts or painful experiences from childhood.

What is the treatment for anorexia?

     Anorexia is a mental problem manifested in a physical form. Treatment for any eating disorder should include both a mental health professional as well as a primary health care physician. Essential components of successful treatments are ongoing medical care, regular therapy, nutritional counseling, and possibly medication. Eating disorders can be treated with antidepressants; however, this is less effective for anorexia nervosa. Physicians help monitor bone density loss and hear heart rhythm disturbances. Psychologists help identify the important issues and replace destructive thoughts and behaviors with more positive ones. Support groups also play a role in treating anorexia. Often groups of patients will meet weekly to discuss their fears and help each other recover. Most cases of anorexia can be treated successfully, but not instantly. For many patients, treatments may need to be long-term.

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Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified (ENDOS)