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Anorexia Nervosa: Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Monday, 21 Mar 2011 03:30 PM

A lot of medical research has gone into investigating and understanding the symptoms of anorexia nervosa to design effective and suitable guidelines for anorexia nervosa treatment. Research shows that there are seven potential predictors of anorexia among women. These seven anorexia nervosa symptoms include:
  • Low body mass index (BMI)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stomach problems
  • Excessive exercise
  • Perceived stress
  • Abnormal extrovert-like behavior
  • Neuroticism
The seventh indicator is among the most dangerous of all symptoms of anorexia nervosa. The neurotic behavior in anorexics is characterized by a lot of emotional instability, feelings of depression, anxiety, and guilt.
Anorexia nervosa treatment must be holistic in its approach. Various factors need to be taken into consideration that include this problem but are not limited to it:
  • Biological factors
  • Psychological factors
  • Environmental factors
A completely psychological approach to the treatment for anorexia nervosa states that psychological pressure from a parent who is unduly concerned with weight or appearance might result in the child being very particular about diet. This undue attention they pay to their calories and diet intake may eventually lead to symptoms of anorexia nervosa.
As anorexia nervosa symptoms often appear around puberty, another environmental hypothesis states that the disorder could be due to a girl’s fear of becoming a woman. In order to cope with changes of puberty like the development of breasts and hips and the sudden onset of menstruation, the girl may stop eating completely. This full-time preoccupation with diet, calories, and weight results in her avoiding friends and other adolescents. This behavior not only leads to potential conflicts with parents but also social and sexual concerns. The entire psychological profile thus closely starts resembling the symptoms associated with eating disorders like anorexia nervosa.
Eating disorders, anorexia nervosa included, may also have some origin in a biological cause apart from the various psychological instigators discussed above. Most patients have issues related to control. Researchers propose that anorexia can also be genealogical in nature. This means that anorexia nervosa treatment might be required for children whose parent was anorexic.
A recent medical breakthrough shows that mothers and sisters of people with symptoms of anorexia nervosa are at higher risk of showing symptoms of anorexia nervosa. Their risk of developing anorexia is nearly eleven times higher than the rest of the population.
Treatment for anorexia nervosa must be devised taking into account the genetic profile and the environment surrounding the patient. Medical research suggests that a combination of both these factors makes anorexia nervosa treatment necessary.
Though medical science has not found a specific gene or a set of genes that contribute to anorexia, appetite genes may be responsible for early fullness symptoms. Other studies indicate a high relapse rate for patients suffering from eating disorders, anorexia nervosa included.

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