The types and treatment of anorexia

Print Diagnosis If your doctor suspects that you have anorexia nervosa, he or she will typically do several tests and exams to help pinpoint a diagnosis, rule out medical causes for the weight loss, and check for any related complications.

The types and treatment of anorexia

Altered food intake Activity The association of psychologic and neuroendocrine changes in patients with anorexia nervosa has led investigators to speculate that abnormalities of neurotransmission may be involved in the pathogenesis of the syndrome.

Excessive dopamine and norepinephrine in particular have well-documented effects on behavior and appetite. These peptides have been isolated from other areas than the brain, including the gut, and it is not unreasonable to consider that the messages mediated by these neuropeptides may play a role in the alterations seen in anorexia nervosa.

Catechol estrogens may have the potential for interacting with both the catecholamine and the estrogen-mediated system in the central nervous system, thereby influencing dopamine and norepinephrine synthesis.

A number of investigators have been interested in the concept that anorexia nervosa occurs as a continuum of chronic dieting behavior. Weight loss-related amenorrhea and exercise-induced amenorrhea have similar endocrine profiles, suggesting that all three entities have similar hypothalamic mechanisms.

The fact that some of these activities are fertile breeding ground for the development of anorexia nervosa is becoming evident.

Anorexia nervosa - Treatment - NHS

Recent research indicates that excessive exercise is an integral aspect of the disorder in its acute phases. Findings on comorbidity of excessive exercise and anorexia nervosa highlight the detrimental effects of combining strenuous physical activity with immoderate dieting.

Bulimics gorge themselves and use artificial means to purge themselves of calories. These means include vomiting and abuse of laxatives or diuretics.

Gorging episodes may alternate with periods of severe food restriction. The bulimic's weight may fluctuate, but usually not to dangerously low levels. There is often a history of other impulsive behaviors, such as alcohol or drug use, and features of this disorder are not unlike those seen with drug addiction.

Depression is also common. Stealing and shoplifting, as well as unrestrained promiscuity, may be part of the syndrome, in contrast to the restrictive anorectic, who remains generally asexual. The patients tend to be older than anorectics, usually between 17 and 25 years of age.

A separate condition, known as bulimia nervosa, has been described in which the bulimic behavior evolves from the completely restricting, anorexia nervosa-type pattern.

Bulimics have a wide variety of medical problems that may be superimposed on the anorectic syndrome. These include severe tooth decay, parotid enlargement, stomach rupture, metabolic alkalosis, carpopedal spasm, hypercarotenemia, and pancreatitis. These persons may also have adequate estrogen secretion and present with an anovulatory syndrome.

This type of problem may be difficult to diagnose because the menstrual disorders and the amenorrhea can develop even when the weight remains normal.

The behavior is often chronic, and increased anxiety, irritability, depression, and poor social functioning are common. A number of neurologic problems have been seen in association with bulimia, including Huntington's chorea, schizophrenia, and seizure disorders associated with a postictal phenomenon.

Bulimic behavior has also been described after amygdalectomy, with frontal lobe tumors, and after prefrontal lobotomy. Bilateral destruction of the ventromedial hypothalamus has been associated with hyperphasia and obesity and has been a sequela to encephalitis.

The types and treatment of anorexia

Bulimia can also be seen in association with hypersomnia in cases of Kleine-Levin syndrome and in patients with parkinsonism, who have been reported to improve in their eating patterns after treatment.

An underlying neurophysiologic dysfunction may be present in patients with bulimia. Electroencephalographic abnormalities have been reported in response to bulimic behavior. The association of neurologic abnormalities raises the intriguing possibility of underlying neuroendocrine dysfunction as a cause of both the nutritional and the menstrual disorder.

A high incidence of substance abuse and alcoholism is seen in association with eating disorders, particularly bulimia. Some data suggest that diagnosis of one of these disorders in women is an indicator for close monitoring and counseling for both.Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological and potentially life-threatening eating disorder.

Those suffering from this eating disorder are typically suffering from an extremely low body weight relative to their height and body type.

Often referred to as BMI (Body Mass Index) is a tool that treatment. What is an Eating Disorder?. Eating Disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape.

From the Chair The UNC Department of Psychiatry is committed to excellence in our missions: clinical service, teaching, and research, and we are national leaders in each of these domains. Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body weight.

Anorexia (or anorexia nervosa) is a serious mental illness where people limit their energy intake, leading to a low body weight. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background.

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