Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa was first described by Simone Porto O. Portio in the 1500s. In this period when hunger and asceticism (asceticism) are sacred and encouraged behavior, this situation, which can be defined as anorexia, means giving up worldly pleasures for the sake of religion. In the following periods, female cases with amenorrhea, loss of appetite, hyperactivity and weakness have been reported, and it has been possible to accept it as a psychiatric disorder in the last 30 years.

Anorexia Nervosa is a condition that is characterized by a severe disorder in the body structure, often bringing the person to the limit of starvation in the name of being weak. There is a misperception of body image and an extreme fear of being fat. There is a weight loss that cannot be explained by a physical disorder. People cut their food intake without loss of appetite in order not to get fat. They have a fear of getting fat and losing control of their eating. The anorexic person resists weight gain. They hide what they did to lose weight.

Anorexia can have different causes. Genetic, personal and environmental factors are effective in the etiology. Psychological effects also increase the risk in genetically predisposed individuals. Growing up with someone who is on a diet also increases the risk factor. In addition, psychological traumas and family problems also facilitate the emergence of the disease. While it is more common in societies where high purchasing power is popular but thin, it is also increasing in developing countries.

The two peak periods in which anorexia nervosa are most common are 14.5 years and 18 years of age. The desire to lose weight may arise as an attitude towards and against the pressures of adolescence. With anorexia, which occurs as a reaction to puberty, the person has to constantly resist growth so that growth stops. This effort, that is, the resistance to food, which is aimed at avoiding puberty, causes the person to direct all his energy to the behavior of not eating. This is an avoidance behavior that usually occurs in adolescence so that body weight is reduced to try to stop growth. In order to continue the stopped growth, it needs to continue the behavior of not eating. Personality development and behavioral changes in adolescence can cause psychological conflicts and as a result, the person may turn to diet. Cultural predisposition that encourages weakness increases psychological motivation. These factors can be effective in different degrees in people who develop the disease.

Excessive preoccupation with body weight in patients with anorexia nervosa is the visible manifestation of underlying problems. These patients may have internal conflicts such as insufficient self-confidence, high expectations, inability to adequately express their feelings and needs, and anxiety about leaving the family. If the patient is under the age of 18, family therapy is one of the most effective methods. In family therapy, the child is helped to emotionally separate from the family and to ensure his individuality apart from the family. Older patients are helped by individual therapy. In individual therapy, the needs of the patient are determined; It is ensured that they express their feelings, needs and expectations. Since progressive weight loss in Anorexia Nervosa is a life-threatening risk, the patient may need to be hospitalized. For a healthy treatment, both physiological and psychological support should be given by working with a multidisciplinary team.

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