Approximately 1% of women will develop anorexia nervosa in their lifetimes.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition with symptoms that vary based on the length and severity of the condition. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, the following are present in all diagnosed cases.

  • Restriction of energy intake, resulting in significantly low body weight
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat (despite having a significantly low body weight)
  • Disturbance in the experience of body weight or shape; undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight

The symptoms of anorexia nervosa can be severe and, in some cases, potentially deadly. Without treatment, between 5-20% of individuals with anorexia nervosa will die from the condition. With eating disorder treatment, this number decreases to 2-3%. In fact, anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental health condition. Typically, anorexia nervosa appears in early to mid-adolescence. It also disproportionately affects women.

What is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder?

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or ARFID, is similar to anorexia nervosa in that it limits the food that a person eats. However, ARFID often doesn’t involve body image issues, but rather fears about the consumption of specific items.

Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Weight loss (significant or sudden)
  • Preoccupation with weight, body, food, calories, fat grams, exercise, and/or dieting
  • Refusal to eat certain foods or food group
  • Complaints of constipation, abdominal pain, cold intolerance, lethargy, and/or excess energy
  • Distorted self-image
  • Expressed anxiety about gaining weight or being “fat”
  • Denial of hunger
  • Development of food rituals (e.g. eating foods in certain orders, excessive chewing, rearranging food on a plate)
  • Avoidance of meals as well as other situations involving food
  • Participation in an excessive, rigid exercise regimen
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and/or activities
  • Increased irritability
  • Concerned about eating in public
  • Limited insight into and/or denial of the above mentioned unhealthy behavioral or cognitive patterns
  • Post-puberty loss of menstrual period
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Dental issues, such as enamel erosion, cavities, and tooth sensitivity

Health Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa

As the condition worsens, the symptoms of anorexia nervosa eventually become more severe. The following consequences can start to appear:

  • Slow heart rate and low blood pressure; the risk for heart failure increases, as heart rate and blood pressure decrease
  • Reduction of bone density (dry, brittle bones); the risk for osteoporosis/osteopenia increases as bone density decreases
  • Muscle loss and weakness
  • Dehydration (which can result in kidney failure)
  • Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness
  • Dry hair and skin, hair loss
  • Growth of a downy layer of hair (lanugo) all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm

Up to 40-50% of individuals with anorexia have a comorbid mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression.

How We Treat

Our clinical treatment modalities for treating anorexia include the following:

Dialectical behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Exposure and response prevention

Experiential and symbolic experiential therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy

Psychodynamic therapy

Narrative therapy

Symbolic modeling (metaphor) therapy

Reality therapy

Relational

Family therapy

Strength-based

Psychoeducation

Anorexia Treatment at Magnolia Creek

You don’t have to continue to battle anorexia alone. If you’d like to find out more about our anorexia treatment program, simply pick up the phone and call. Our caring staff is ready to help you. You can reach us at 205-650-8077.

“Just wanted to let you know that everything’s going great, and I’m not letting myself disappear. (My living situation) is ideal and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you for helping me learn to love life.”

Former Magnolia Creek Client

Your battle against anorexia nervosa can end today.
To learn more about our anorexia treatment center and compassionate staff, contact us now.