Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by an overwhelming feeling of anxiety at the thought of gaining weight and seeing oneself not as they truly are in terms of body image.  There are times when many of us want to look different and we might engage in an exercise program or reduce our caloric intake.  When an individual has anorexia, there is an overwhelming desire to be thin at any cost.  This individual will be consumed with thoughts of dieting and these thoughts can take up most of the day.  There is no such thing as being too thin.

Individuals with anorexia nervosa can starve themselves or excessively exercise.  Some individuals will take laxatives or purge after eating.  Mealtimes are stressful as you feel like everyone is watching you eat and what you eat.  The bottom line is anorexia nervosa is destructive and can have life-threatening consequences.

There are types of anorexia including restricting type and purging type.  Individuals diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are typically diagnosed as one of these two types.  Restricting type means that the individual loses weight through calorie restrictions and excessively exercising.  Purging type involves weight loss using laxatives or vomiting after eating.

Everyone in the family is affected by anorexia nervosa.  The individual family member with anorexia may try to hide food or give the illusion that they are eating when they are simply playing with the food on their plate.  They may also withdrawal socially and often make excuses for not attending events where food will be served.  A family member may confront the individual only to be told that nothing is wrong.

Individuals with anorexia have common characteristics including the need to diet despite being thin.  They might only consume 300 calories per day and restrict such foods as carbohydrates or fats.  They are also obsessed with calorie counting and reading food labels.  Their behavior can include hiding food or throwing it away and making excuses for not eating.  Despite the minimal consumption of calories, individuals with anorexia constantly think about food.  These thoughts do not necessarily equate with eating.  They also can be secretive and might develop strange rituals such as chewing food and then promptly spitting it out.

If you or a loved one are experiencing anorexia nervosa symptoms, help is available.  Please call Hired Power at (800) 910-9299 and get help.  Anorexia nervosa is a serious disorder and requires treatment.  You do not have to do this alone.

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