QUICK STATISTICS

  • Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.(Mental Health America).

  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia nervosa is 12 times higher than the death rate of ALL causes of death for females ages 15-24 (Mental Health America).

  • Without treatment, up to 20% of people with serious eating disorders die (Mental Health America).

  • 9% of American Women will suffer from anorexia in their lifetime. (Eating Recovery Center).

DEFINITION

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and extreme weight loss. 

RISK FACTORS

Biological

  • Having a close relative with an eating disorder, specifically a first-degree relative.

  • Type 1 Diabetes

    • Approximately 25% of women with type 1 diabetes develop an eating disorder (National Eating Disorder Association). ​

Environmental

  • Bullying

    • 60% of people say that bullying contributed to the development of their eating disorder (National Eating Disorders Association).​

  • Acculturation

    • Those that are undergoing changes in cultures and are from racial and ethnic minority groups are more at risk for developing an eating disorder. ​

  • Trauma

  • ​Weight Stigma​

    • The societal norm that thinner is better can increase body dissatisfaction. ​

    • Specifically, weight stigma is discrimination based on a person's weight.

  • Social Media

    • Overall, social media has spread the thin idealization, increasing weight stigma. ​

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

  • Food restriction leads to extremely low body weight in the context of age, sex, health, and more.

  • Fear of gaining weight or being "fat."

  • Behavior that interferes with weight gain.

    • For example, fasting, excessive exercise, forced vomiting, and more. ​

  • Disturbed and/or distorted appearance of one's body shape or size.

    • This can be influenced by a lack of recognition of low body weight. ​

  • Purging eating behaviors.

EFFECTS

  • Signs of depression (see page on depression).

  • Obsessive-compulsive features, often related or unrelated to food intake.

  • Elevated risk of suicide.

  • Compromised height and weight.

    • This can delay puberty and development. ​

    • Hormonal imbalance can result.

  • Amenorrhea (menstrual irregularity).

  • Gastrointestinal Issues

    • Acid reflux, constipation, bloating, and more. ​

TREATMENTS

Medicine​

  • Studies have shown that medicine is an ideal treatment for ADHD.

  • the focus of medicine is to improve focus and behavioral impulsivity.

​Behavioral therapy​​

  • Teaches the child how to control actions and behaviors.

  • Improve the frequency of better behavior.

  • Reinforce schedules or plans in daily life.

  • Uses the environment to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the child.

  • This may occur with the child or the child and parents, many times families will alternate with these different sessions.

School​

  • Working with the school is a good way to make sure your child has an academic plan that accommodates them in their academic life. (See the upcoming blog "Parental Rights" to learn how you can help your child.)

  • Kids with ADHD can be put on an IEP (individualized education plan) or a 504. An IEP focuses on academic help in different subjects, whereas a 504 focuses on giving the child extra time in tasks, and creates an environment to help the student focus.

HOW CAN A PARENT HELP THEIR CHILD WITH ADHD?

  • Recovery is possible.

    • It is important to turn for help if you think your child is suffering from anorexia nervosa. ​

    • Therapists, dieticians, psychiatrists, and even your primary care physician can provide help and guidance.

  • Eating Disorders are extremely complex illnesses.

    • Remember, eating disorders are much more complex than a choice to not eat or eat in a certain way. These behaviors are extremely difficult to change, and your child is going to need lots of support during this time. ​

  • Eating Disorders consume someone's life and can impact relationships with family members and more. 

    • Remember that it is not your fault they are struggling with this disorder, and the best thing you can do is be there for them. This disease can impact all aspects of your child's life, just remember it is not your fault and they need your support. ​

  • Sources:NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)

Mental Health America

National Center for