Weight loss at all costs

Anorexia nervosa seems to be summarized as a weight story. Yet, it is a true disease, which translates a profound psychological disorder. It is treated better if it is detected early. Update on this eating disorder ...

What are the consequences of anorexia nervosa?

Many teenagers feel concerned about weight problems. For some, it becomes even a real obsession that makes them switch to the extreme: anorexia.

Is cure of anorexia nervosa?

Anorexics seek to restrict their diet in order to lose weight, while they are already thin or even lean. The quantities consumed are abnormally low, many foods, especially fats and sweet products, are squeezed out. These restrictions may be associated with potomania, ie excessive water intake, and laxative intake for weight control. Some anorexics also suffer from binge eating, during which, out of control, they swallow enormous amounts of food in a very short time and without pleasure. Then they will, in most cases, voluntarily vomit.

Excessive weight loss results in undernutrition, with loss of muscle mass. This can affect heart function (the heart is a muscle), with rhythm disorders and arterial hypotension. Anorexic people are hypothermic, always very chilly. On the digestive side, the evacuation of food from the stomach and the intestinal transit slow down, which reinforces the lack of appetite. Immune defenses decline with an increased risk of infection. When the body mass index drops below 13, malnutrition is very severe, below 11, the life expectancy is at stake.

At least one third of anorexics do well, regaining a normal weight and free from psychological disorders. A second third retains abnormal eating behavior, still too many restrictions or bulimic bouts, with a persistent malaise, a difficult emotional life. The last third evolves poorly, towards severe malnutrition and chronic depression. Beyond 10 years of evolution, 5 to 15% of the patients would die, 20% after 20 years. Worrying these figures? Yet since the 1980s, eating disorders have become increasingly known and treated by caregivers, psychiatrists, general practitioners, and dieticians. To each one of us to be vigilant towards his entourage: the more the management is early, the more efficient it is!