Anorexia is an eating disorder characterised by a lack of desire to eat. It results in a decrease in body weight and abnormal restrictive eating behaviours in those affected by the disorder. It may be associated with psychological or physical factors and can negatively affect health and well-being.
Causes of psychological anorexia
The main cause of psychological anorexia is still somewhat unknown and unspecified. As with many diseases, many risk factors have been identified that can lead to psychological anorexia, including the following:
- Inherited genes. Some people may be at risk of developing anorexia due to changes in certain genes. People who have first-degree relatives, such as parents, siblings or children, who have experienced the disorder have an increased risk of anorexia.
- Diet quality and hunger. Dieting is a risk factor for developing an eating disorder. There is strong evidence that many of the symptoms of anorexia are actually symptoms of hunger. Hunger affects the brain, causing mood swings and rigid thinking, as well as anxiety and decreased appetite. Hunger and weight loss can alter the way the brain functions in at-risk individuals, perpetuating restrictive eating behaviours and making it difficult to return to normal eating habits.
- Psychological factors. This is one of the most common causes, and is the result of exposure to a painful event, or may present in children as a case of objection to the mother’s feeding of the child, so that it tends to get out of her control and control. The child’s belief.
- Social factors: It is the tendency to be intentionally thin and underweight on the part of the sufferer, due to their ambition to achieve a certain weight and shape for their body, in imitation of celebrities. In addition to some professions and jobs that require it, such as models, hostesses and ballet dancers.
Ways to improve appetite
There are a number of methods to help whet and stimulate the appetite, some of which are listed below:
- Eat several meals a day in small quantities, as eating three large meals a day can be a challenge, especially for people with a poor appetite, and these people can be encouraged by dividing their meals into five or six meals a day in small quantities. And when their appetite starts to improve, they can increase the portion size.
- Eat nutrient-rich foods: it is recommended to avoid eating foods with empty calories and focus on nutritious foods containing protein, healthy fats and whole grains to improve appetite.
- Increase the size of plates used for eating, as some studies have found that the use of large plates can lead to an increase in the amount of food eaten and therefore an increase in calories eaten.
- Reduce fibre intake: Consumption of fibre-rich diets has been found to increase feelings of fullness and satiety, and people seeking to gain weight are advised to cut down on these foods.
- It is recommended to drink water between meals rather than with meals, as the volume of water will take up space and reduce the volume of food intake.
- Get some exercise, as exercise leads to the release of chemicals in the brain that improve mood and increase appetite.
- Add calories and protein to food. Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts or nut butters can be added to recipes to increase the calorie content of food.
Symptoms of psychological anorexia
The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa are associated with starvation. Anorexia also includes emotional and behavioural problems, including an unrealistic perception of body weight and an intense fear of weight gain or obesity.
The signs and symptoms of psychogenic anorexia can be difficult to notice. This is due to the different perspectives of low body weight from one person to another. Abrupt and rapid weight loss and fear of gaining weight are among the most important symptoms seen in this group. Some symptoms that may be a warning sign are:
Physical signs and symptoms may include: fatigue, insomnia, dizziness or fainting, bluish fingers, thinning, brittle or falling hair, dry or yellow skin, constipation and abdominal pain, low blood pressure, inability to tolerate cold.
Emotional and behavioural symptoms
Behavioural symptoms of psychogenic anorexia may include the following signs and symptoms:
- Not wanting to eat in public places.
- Lying about the amount of food eaten.
- Fear of gaining weight, including measuring body weight.
- Repeatedly examining one’s figure in the mirror in the belief that it is flawed.
- Complaining about obesity or the presence of fat in areas of the body.
- Wearing too much clothing to cover the body.
- Apathetic mood (lack of emotions).
- Social withdrawal.
- Irritability and restlessness
- Decreased sex drive
Treatment of psychological anorexia
Treatment of psychological anorexia is through psychotherapy, nutritional intervention or nutritional supplements. Here the doctor advises eating foods rich in magnesium and zinc and avoiding caffeine-containing drinks. There are also other forms, including psychopharmacological treatments, which will accelerate the process of weight gain and alleviate the symptoms and abnormal psychological behaviours.