One of the most common misconceptions about anorexia nervosa is that sufferers are underweight, which is not always the case. In many instances, a patient with anorexia may appear to be healthy, but in truth is malnourished. That’s why it’s important to understand all the warning signs and symptoms of anorexia.
Medical symptoms of anorexia
- Weight at or below 85 percent of Ideal Body Weight (IBW) for age
- Significant/dramatic decrease in normal growth chart curve for weight
- Excessive or compulsive exercise
- Bradycardia (abnormally low heart rate) and/or orthostasis (a form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down)
- Absence of or delayed onset of or sporadic/light menses
- Fatigue, cold-intolerance, dizziness and/or hair thinning/loss
Common behavioral warning signs of anorexia
- Extreme weight loss
- Calorie restriction
- Obsession with food, weight, calories and/or dieting
- Sudden interest in “healthy” or clean eating, elimination diets, etc.
- Intense fear of being fat or weight gain
- Refusal to eat certain foods or entire groups of foods (i.e. carbohydrates or desserts)
- Strange eating habits or food rituals
- Denial of hunger or weight loss
- Compulsive exercising
- Withdrawal from friends, family and “normal” activities/routines
Seek help if you see any of these symptoms
If you suspect that someone you know has an eating disorder, it’s imperative that he or she has a medical and psychological evaluation as quickly as possible. If left untreated, there can be far-reaching health consequences, including the potential of dying.
If you don’t have a medical doctor or psychological therapist you feel comfortable with discussing these issues, we can help you get connected. After your evaluation, you can begin work directly with us to compliment your prescribed treatment plan and address your issue from our areas of expertise – the subconscious mind and the energy fields surrounding your body.
The health risks associated with anorexia (low body weight and prolonged starvation) are serious and potentially lethal. The most serious health risk of anorexia is increased mortality rate; anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
Other anorexia health risks include:
- Cardiac complications (ranging from irregular heart rhythms to heart failure)
- Heart, kidney and liver failure
- Bone loss/osteoporosis
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Low blood sugar
- Constipation, bloating and other gastrointestinal issues
- Amenorrhea (loss of menses in women)
- Fertility challenges
- Low testosterone (in males)
The conscious or logical mind enables us to think rationally, whereas the subconscious mind harbors our memories, beliefs, fears and traumas. The conscious mind is dominant when we’re awake, and the subconscious is most dominant when we’re in a meditative or relaxed state, before and after sleeping and during sleep.
A lot of people who aren’t familiar with eating disorders wonder where the intense fear of food comes from. To the conscious mind, food is just food, and it can’t do anything unless you enable it to, but the subconscious mind may perceive food very differently. This also applies to beliefs concerning weight and appearance. Unfortunately, this is why so many people relapse during or after their recovery (be it the recovery from eating disorders or some other disorder or addiction). What’s harming the person is taken away, but the subconscious beliefs or traumas aren’t always addressed.
The subconscious mind isn’t trying to hurt us or make our lives miserable. It’s actually just trying to protect us from things that hurt or scare us, even if the logical mind doesn’t find those things frightening. Also, many of us have fears and anxieties without knowing where they came from because the core memory/belief/trauma was forgotten or repressed (in other words, just pushed back into the subconscious mind).
In order to conquer disorders and addictions, we first have to find the core memory, belief or trauma surrounding them. Then we have to overcome the fear and beliefs associated with it. To put it simply, find the cause of the disorder and how it’s effecting you mentally.
Conquering your eating disorder is not always as simple as changing the beliefs in your subconscious mind. You have to find the core belief, memory, or trauma surrounding the disorder, then acknowledge the fears and behaviors associated with it. Depending on your medical and/or psychological treatment plan, together we may choose to address either the cause or the symptoms first.
NOTE: A big part of changing subconscious beliefs is through repetition (either repetitive actions or affirmations), images, thoughts and feelings. Even though it can take the subconscious mind as little as a day to cling onto a memory or trauma, it can take a bit longer to reverse beliefs. It also helps to avoid entertaining or validating the beliefs by acting on them. The more you act on the beliefs, the more you confirm to your subconscious that those beliefs are still relevant and real to you, in spite of no longer wanting them.
If you’ve been telling yourself something over and over for a prolonged amount of time, it’s difficult for your mind to accept something new at first. Over time, it will adapt to and accept what you’re trying to teach it. It just takes time. This may be hard at first, but remind yourself that you are the master of your mind and at the end of the day, and what you say goes.
Anorexia nervosa – oftentimes simply called anorexia – is a serious medical and mental health condition that can be life-threatening. Anorexia is characterized by an obsessive fear of weight gain and inability to maintain a healthy body weight and typically a distorted body image.
Sufferers may restrict caloric intake or purge calories consumed through vomiting (also called purging), laxative/diuretic abuse and/or compulsive exercise.
Anorexia often occurs alongside other mental illnesses, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
- Substance abuse
When any of these co-occurring mental illnesses are present, they can intensify the sufferer’s symptoms and health risks of anorexia.
Anorexia nervosa is the most deadly mental illness, with a higher mortality (death) rate than any other mental illness. Due to the complexity of this condition, anorexia recovery requires comprehensive treatment from multiple disciplines including medical and psychiatric stabilization, nutritional intervention and psychological support.
Our work with your sub-conscious mind and energy bodies supports your work with other medical professionals by addressing the very specific triggers of symptomatic behaviors as well as the source of anxiety rooted within the disorder.
Is recovery from anorexia nervosa possible?
The good news is that, by incorporating both traditional and complimentary care, a full and lasting recovery is possible.
If you think that you or a loved one is suffering, please take our short anorexia self-assessment test or call us at 1-866-941-3797 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.