Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where weight loss becomes an obsession and starvation begins to affect thinking patterns and personality. It occurs overwhelmingly among teenage girls and only in developed countries.

Physical symptoms of anorexia nervosa include wasting of the body, including the muscle tissue, impaired sexual development and cessation of menstruation, drying and yellowing of the skin, loss of texture of the hair, pain to the touch, lowered blood pressure and metabolic weight, anemia, and severe sleep disturbances.

Mental symptoms include the patient still seeing herself as fat, having a preoccupation with death, and a frantic need for exercise to keep physically fit. Patients are often manipulative, trying always to be the center of attention, and may become socially isolated.

What To Consider

In both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, the underlying causative factors are commonly believed to be solely due to an obsession with body fat, a fear of being (or becoming) fat, or over-concern with perfectionism. Although all of these factors are important, recent research also shows that in most cases an underlying zinc deficiency may contribute to the both disorders.

Intravenous feeding may be necessary in acute cases to replace lost calories and reverse protein deficiency.

Psychological counseling by trained specialists, combined with Nutritional Supplementation, is highly recommended.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Follow a bland diet and avoid coffee, tea, and other stimulants. A well-balanced diet, high in fiber, should be followed when a regular eating pattern is being established. Avoid sugar and white flour products.

Nutritional Supplementation
Zinc deficiency can be a major contributing factor in anorexia. As a result, zinc supplementation has proven successful in overcoming dietary deficiencies and in helping anorexics regain their appetite and weight. According to eating disorder specialists, the inability to taste a tablespoon of zinc in the form of zinc sulfate heptahydrate (a liquid zinc supplement) in the mouth may be indicative of inadequate zinc status. If that is the case, it is recommended that patients take 100-120 ml per day of zinc sulfate heptahydrate until symptoms improve, which may take two weeks.
Note Vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E levels in the blood are often low in anorexia nervosa.

Aromatherapy
As antidepressants, take infusions of bergamot, basil, chamomile, clary sage, lavender, neroli, or ylang ylang.

Flower Essences
Various flower essences to address underlying emotional and mental states of imbalance and negativity, such as fears, perfectionism, manipulative behavior, depression, and anxiety, are recommended. Crab apple in particular, is useful for eradicating obsessive habits relating to body image.

Herbs
Cardamom, fennel, and/or fresh ginger can help regulate digestion and stop vomiting. For calming effect, the herbs valerian, nutmeg, ashwagandha, and sandalwood are very effective. To stimulate appetite, take ginger root, ginseng, gotu kola, peppermint. Gentian root helps stimulate the appetite and has been useful in helping anorexics regain their appetite.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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