Sunday, December 3, 2006

Anorexia nervosa in the beginning

Usually anorexia nervosa begins to develop at early teenage age, but sometimes it can reveal itself for the first time much later - after 30 and even 40 years. Before loss of weight is evident children with anorexia nervosa are described as soft, keen, hardworking, having no signs of psychological frustration. Usually their families are rather successful socially and belong to middle or high social class. As a rule, such children have very good results in school. Quite often they are slightly stout. And because of their coevals' sneers they put on a diet and when they begin to grow thin they deny it.

When exhaustion becomes obvious to relatives they at last call the doctor. The doctor should carry out a careful inspection in order to distinguish true anorexia nervosa from other somatic or mental diseases (such as heavy toxicoses, metabolic infringements or deep psychological infringement of thinking and delirium) in case of which loss of appetite and weight are only secondary symptoms. At this stage patients with anorexia nervosa (in typical cases they are teenage girls) are hostile, depressed, reserved and anxious. They can complain of chilliness and constipations. Laboratory analyses indicate exchange and hormonal shifts characteristic of starvation. In spite of danger connected with refusal from food, patients with anorexia nervosa hardly realize their unhealthy state, they don't want to change their nutritional behaviour and resist any kind of treatment. Astonishing enough, but a sick girl of 173 cm with the weight of only 27 kg still continues to think she's stout.

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