Anorexia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Anorexia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Anorexia, or medically known as anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder characterized by drastic weight loss. This happens because the sufferer is on an excessive diet.

Apart from dieting, sometimes you can try to get rid of food by vomiting food and using laxatives.

Anorexia is different from another well-known eating disorder, namely bulimia.

Although sufferers both make efforts to expel food, the basis of anorexia is the sufferer’s belief that he is too fat.

Meanwhile, people with bulimia usually do this due to guilt because of uncontrollable eating addiction.

Anorexia Symptom

The main symptom of anorexia is drastic weight loss. Generally accompanied by behavioral disturbances such as refusing to eat, excessive exercise, and using laxatives or trying to vomit food.

People with anorexia generally feel guilty every time they eat.

Drastic weight loss causes various health problems. Ranging from fatigue, decreased blood pressure, dizziness, regular menstruation, dry skin, cold body temperature, hair loss, to irregular heartbeat.

If anorexia is left untreated and not handled properly, it can cause serious health complications, such as:

  • Heart rate slower than it should (bradycardia)
  • Low blood sugar
  • Disorders of fertility hormone and parathyroid hormone
  • Low white blood cells, which indicates low body resistance and becomes susceptible to infection

Anorexia Reason

Anorexia occurs due to many factors. Starting from biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Some conditions that can predispose a person to experiencing this eating disorder are:

  • Experiencing anxiety or depression
  • Not able to manage stress well
  • Having excessive worries about the future
  • Perfectionist
  • Have a bad self-image
  • Had an eating disorder as a child
  • It’s easy to get carried away by emotions


Anorexic eating disorder is experienced by someone if the symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) are met. These symptoms are:

  • Doing food restrictions that lead to significant weight loss.
  • Excessive fear of being overweight even though the body weight is less than normal.
  • Impaired perception of his body (feeling that his body is very fat when in reality it is already very thin).
  • If this disorder has been going on for a long time, the doctor also needs to ask anorexic sufferers to do blood tests. This blood test is needed to see hemoglobin (red blood cell) levels, blood sugar, and electrolytes which can be disrupted to below normal levels.

Anorexia Treatment

Treatment for anorexia involves medication, psychotherapy, and nutrition education. The drug used is an antidepressant drug.

Meanwhile, psychotherapy is carried out to explore the sufferer’s thoughts that cause anorexia, and to discuss together how to change these thoughts.

Nutrition education is carried out by nutritionists to correct nutritional deficiencies experienced by sufferers.

Treatment of anorexia requires good cooperation between the patient and the treating psychiatrist. Usually, this treatment takes a long time, can be up to years.

If serious complications occur due to anorexia, it is not uncommon for sufferers to be hospitalized. If there is a shortage of electrolytes and blood sugar, the addition of electrolytes and blood sugar is usually done through an infusion.

In addition, to overcome the complications of anorexia, improving the patient’s nutrition is very important. However, this nutritional improvement must be done gradually. For example by increasing the calories from food intake little by little.

Improvements in nutrition that are done too quickly can harm the heart and can cause chaos in the body’s metabolism.


Until now there is no action that can be done to prevent anorexia.

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