Anorexia is an eating disorder. It includes having an unusually low body weight and a great fear of gaining weight. It also includes having a distorted perception of weight. Controlling weight and shape is very important to people with anorexia. They often use extreme ways that can greatly interfere with their health and their day-to-day lives. It’s a serious condition. With the right help, you can recover and take back control of your life.
Anorexia occurs most in girls and women. However, it has become more common in boys and men. This can be possibly related to growing social pressures. It occurs in all genders although less information about this is currently available.
Anorexia is also more common among teenagers. Teens may be more at risk because of all the body changes during puberty and increased peer pressure. Teens may also be more sensitive to criticism or casual comments about their body weight and shape.
The exact cause of anorexia is unknown. Like other diseases, it’s probably a mix of factors. These factors include biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
Unfortunately, some people with anorexia don’t want treatment, at least in the beginning. Wanting to remain thin is greater than concerns about their health. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for any physical and mental health signs of anorexia.
Remember that one of these signs alone doesn’t mean that someone has an eating problem! It’s when a number of these signs apply to us or someone in our life. This is when it might be time to start exploring if there is a pattern or problem developing.
If you’re concerned about anorexia nervosa, you’re not alone. It can be very difficult to accept that you have a problem. When you do, there are lots of people who can help.
As your body struggles with not enough food, you may experience other symptoms. Please remember that getting help can be difficult. But it is very important. Individuals with anorexia may develop permanent physical health problems. Individuals can also lose their life to the physical or mental health symptoms of this illness.
Take the first step – Anorexia can happen to anyone. It can be very difficult to accept that you have a problem, but the first step is to talk to someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, pastor, counsellor, or friend. At some point, you will likely need professional help to assist you to recover.
You can start by seeing your doctor. They may offer to refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), an expert, or a psychiatrist who can help you.
Our partner, EDSNA lists different options for support and treatment and describes options for getting help. Check them out here: Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (edsna.ca)
They also offer virtual workshops via Kickstand Connect, which you can learn about here. Sign-up for a free, virtual 1:1 mental health counselling or peer support session in the meantime.
Treatment usually begins with figuring how much the anorexia is affecting your physical and mental health. If your weight is very low, you might be admitted to the hospital. This is to help get your strength back up and start on your recovery journey.
Your treatment could involve different healthcare workers. This can include:
Treatment programs focus on providing support to make sure you’re getting enough to eat. You’ll also learn what your healthy weight should be. You may also be offered medications.
When you have anorexia, it can be difficult to take care of yourself. Here are a couple of suggestions. In addition to professional treatment, try to:
Anorexia, like other eating disorders, can take over your life. It can be very difficult to overcome. With treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and regain control of your life.
Treatment – Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (edsna.ca)
The Facts – Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta (edsna.ca)
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All information on this site is intended to provide assistance and guidance but cannot replace the care of a medical professional.