Persistently and irresistibly losing weight, when there is no excess weight at all, is the main symptom of anorexia. This mental disorder, which is most common in girls from 14 to 30 years old (men rarely suffer from it), is fraught not only with serious illnesses, but also with the death of the patient. By the way, the later anorexia begins, the more dangerous its consequences. How to protect yourself from this pathology, told psychologist, psychotherapist, specialist in work with eating disorders, member of COTA, EATA Anna Egorova.


People are by nature asthenic, normo- and hypersthenic. The first are thin-boned, with sharp elbows and knees, “skin and bones”. The second, which are the majority, are of medium build. Still others — hypersthenics — powerful, broad-shouldered. It is possible to gain excess weight with any constitution, however, it is much more difficult for an asthenic person to get well. It is very important to have a healthy self-esteem, adequately approach the features of your figure, understanding that you can look good with any type of physique. Every parent needs to convey this thought to their child. Perhaps this will help protect him from anorexia, a disease that is easier to prevent than to cure.

Seven Troubles…

Anorexia nervosa, which suffers, according to various estimates, from 0.5 to 3.7% of people in the world, is expressed in a conscious, extremely persistent self-restraint in food to reduce body weight, often reaching severe cachexia (exhaustion). There are several contributing factors.

family situation. The lack of normal communication, trusting relationship between the child and parents often pushes to the disease. More often than others, girls from families where the father either does not exist, or he is practically indifferent to the lives of loved ones (for example, due to alcoholism), and the mother is authoritarian and strict, get sick with anorexia.

The character of the patient himself. The tendency to perfectionism, combined with low self-esteem, is the soil on which it is easy to nurture anorexia.

• Problems of a personal property. Usually girls suffering from anorexia are shy and withdrawn, they practically do not have friends, girlfriends, young people. In addition, they often have misunderstandings with their parents and relatives.

Some physiological features. Hereditary predisposition to gastritis and other spastic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract can increase the susceptibility to the disease, as they bring the patient initial discomfort, make him more wary of food, experiment with foods and diets.

Calculate by symptoms

To suspect your loved one has anorexia, you have to look at him carefully. It is important to assess the most common symptoms of the disease.

Having a fear of being overweight, an obsession with diets, or at least an increased interest in this topic. If a child took a floor scale to his room, began to refuse joint lunches and dinners, began to take food to himself — all these are alarming signs. However, if a teenager defiantly refuses to eat — most likely, this is ordinary blackmail, and not anorexia at all.

The appearance of blue circles under the eyes (from insomnia), increased irritability, depression, fatigue, as well as complaints of muscle spasms, chills. A patient with anorexia is often cold even in warm weather. All these symptoms accompany a critical loss of body weight (15% below normal). The norm is determined by the Quettet formula: (BMI =

B/P2, where BMI is body mass index; B — weight, kg; P — height, m). For adolescents, the coefficient is 17.5-19, for adult women — 18.5-24.9.

Hair loss, pale and dry skin, problems with nails, the disappearance of menstruation in girls. These symptoms appear already in the advanced stages of anorexia, and even after treatment, unfortunately, they do not always go away. So, in 90% of patients there are violations of the reproductive function. Irreversible changes in the body occur after 1.5–2 years of the development of the disease.

Dasha began to lose weight after parting with her boyfriend.

What not to do

There is no need to convince the daughter that she is not overweight, because even against the background of exhaustion, anorexia patients seem to themselves not slender enough. Taking your child to a nutritionist or gastroenterologist is not a panacea. It is equally (if not more) important to contact a psychotherapist, and maybe even a psychiatrist, in time. Often, girls suffering from anorexia have problems with their parents, with young people, some have experienced violence in childhood. But, as a rule, a deeper reason for the development of the disease lies in the wounded female essence. Indeed, for many, anorexia is primarily a desire to find their femininity. The task of the psychotherapist is to convince a person of his attractiveness and teach him to accept himself. For this, a specialist can choose hypnosis, NLP, psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy.

The most important thing in the treatment of anorexia is to relieve psychological trauma. Patients often do not even perceive conversations with a doctor as a treatment, but they implicitly change their attitude towards themselves, and the perception of others, and even their own idea of ​​their appearance. Simultaneously with the therapy, the patient is prescribed antidepressants, tranquilizers and antipsychotics, which help to remove the «fixation» on weight and food, reduce the pathological fear of gaining weight. They also prescribe vitamins, dietary supplements, etc.

The return to food in patients occurs gradually. At first — literally on a spoon, but often, 6-8 times a day, then — more and more. Unfortunately, only 1/3 of all patients recover from anorexia (in addition, relapses are not ruled out), and this takes from 2 to 8 years of life.