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             Anorexia Nervosa


Again, there is no home remedy. Any person who displays symptoms of anorexia nervosa (undereating, inducing vomiting, or abusing laxatives in an attempt to lose weight) needs medical and psychiatric attention. Some specialists are adept at treating these very challenging patients. Anorexia nervosa can cause severe medical complications or death if not treated.

Anorexia nervosa can result in life-threatening medical problems. The following signs and symptoms indicate need for emergency evaluation:

  • Suicide is a major cause of death in people with anorexia nervosa. Any person with severe depression  or suicidal thoughts or statements needs to be brought to the hospital’s Emergency Department immediately. Call 911 for an ambulance if you believe there is even a remote possibility of imminent suicide.
  • fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Profuse vomiting or diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit or diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Often the doctor may choose to admit a person with anorexia to the hospital for a variety of medical or psychiatric reasons.

The person may develop medical problems ( cardiac, endocrine, electrolyte ) from starvation, vomiting, diuretic, or laxative abuse.

Outpatient treatment of anorexia nervosa is often unsuccessful. Someone with anorexia may need prolonged treatment (including cognitive, behavioral, drug , and counseling or some combination) in a structured hospital environment or special inpatient eating disorders program.

  • family member or friend must recognize the possibility of a medical or psychiatric problem.
  • A person with anorexia nervosa often resists questioning and is extremely secretive, usually denying any problem and making excuses for weight loss or eating habits. If pressed on the subject, the person may become angry or withdrawn, further complicating attempts by others to help.
  • If you think a friend or family member has a problem, get that person to a physician, even if she or he strongly resists cooperating.

Treatment of anorexia nervosa often takes years, during which time close follow-up with a doctor is essential.


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