Fight Anorexia nervosa and rediscover life

 

People around the globe are concerned about the harmful effects of obesity, and it is a global killer. Every year 35.8 million people die all around the world from the side effects of being overweight or obese. Around 2.3% of global disability-adjusted life year (DALY) which is defined as the number of years lost from disability, ill-health or early death is caused by overweight or obesity.

With the occurrence and awareness of obesity being prevalent worldwide, being thin is considered to be a mark of respect. Men and women all around the globe are conscious about their body weight and desire to maintain a slim or thin figure. In many parts of the world, people just want to be thin, to an extent of being unhealthily underweight. They do everything to remain as thin as possible and they fear gaining even a little bit of weight.

Anorexia nervosa commonly referred to as anorexia is an eating disorder where the affected person is extremely thin and fears gaining weight and he/she is excessively pre-occupied with their thin figure and they equate excessive thinness with self-worth. The main pre-occupation of people with Anorexia nervosa is to prevent weight gain or lose weight although their BMI is in most cases is much below the normal range. In order to achieve maintaining a thin body image, they try various methods to prevent weight gain or continue losing weight, by indulging in diuretics, diet aids and laxatives and all these are used in unhealthy proportions. They exercise abundantly as well with the ambition and intention to lose weight. There are people who use methods of binging and purging to lose weight or maintain weight and this behavior is similar with people who suffer from Bulimia.

Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder, and the root cause of it is mental disorders that affects the overall wellbeing of a person. The affected person commonly suffers from these mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, personality disorders and substance misuse.

It is not healthy to suffer from Anorexia nervosa, the behavior of wanting to remain extremely thin, by throwing out food through unhealthy methods of misusing diuretics and laxatives causes serious physical symptoms that can be life-threatening. Below are the physical symptoms of Anorexia.

Extremely thin body weight

Insomnia

Fatigue

Abnormal blood count

Low blood pressure

Soft thin hair

Appearance of bluish discoloration on fingers

Dry or yellow skin

Constipation

Low blood pressure

Irregular heart beat

Dehydration

Dizziness

Swelling of arms and legs

Osteoporosis

Anorexia nervosa causes severe complications on the body and it is a strain on the mind as well. Food is not the main pre-occupation for a person who is suffering from this condition. It is the emotional burden of being thin and pondering on the thought that being thin is equated to being normal and accepted. What goes on in the mind of a person suffering from Anorexia nervosa, let us browse through the behavioral and emotional symptoms.

Emotional symptoms of a person suffering from Anorexia nervosa:

No interest in eating

Denies recognizing hunger

Intense fear of weight gain

Preoccupation about how much to consume

The person lies about the amount of food they eat

They tend to exhibit reclusive behavior and withdraw from society

Reduced desires in sexual activity

Constant irritation

Depressed mood

Suicidal thoughts

Watch out for these behavioral symptoms in a person with Anorexia nervosa:

The person will restrict the amount of food consumed, and will use weight loss methods to maintain weight or lose weight through exercise, fasting or dieting.

The person is uncomfortable about eating more food than they desire, and will use various methods to get rid of what according to a person with Anorexia is called excessive food consumption. They use methods of diet aids, enemas or laxatives and even bingeing and self-induced vomiting to get rid of extra food consumed.

These are the signs to notice in a person who is suffering or is likely to have Anorexia nervosa:

The person develops fear of eating and tends to skip meals and makes excuses for not eating

A person with Anorexia is conscious about weight gain even though they are extremely thin. He/she will binge on foods considered to be safe like low calorie food or food with low fat content.

Restricted eating is a common behavior, he/she will tend to spit out the food instead of chewing.

The affected person is constantly on the weighing scale ensuring that they maintain their weight or lose weight.

They constantly complain about being fat

They avoid eating in public and cover themselves in many layers of clothing

After inducing vomiting, you will notice eroded teeth and calluses on knuckles.

Cause of Anorexia nervosa:

Till now scientists have not been able to determine the cause of Anorexia nervosa and the only experimental proof is it could be a combination of biological, environmental and psychological factors:

Biological:

It is unclear whether Anorexia is transmitted through genes, but experts say genetics is likely to play a role, in people who strive for perseverance, perfectionism and sensitivity and all these characteristics are present in a person with Anorexia.

Environmental:

Asian and western cultures emphasize on thinness, here it is cool to be thin and it is equated with success and being assured. It is the influence of ideologies of peers that puts a strain on individuals to be thin, and this is causing a lot of pressure especially with young girls.

Psychological:

Emotions play a major role in Anorexia, the affected individual particularly young women avoid the urge to eat even while feeling hungry. They maintain strict diets and binge on low calorie foods. Although society views them to be thin, they are not convinced, they consider themselves to be fat although they are not and it leads to high levels of anxiety causing them to eat less and restrict certain foods.

Risk factors that increase occurrence of Anorexia:

Media:

When individuals particularly girls are exposed to media, it increases chances of Anorexia, mainly because the media showcases series of skinny models and actors and here being skinny is associated with being beautiful and popular.

Being female:

Girls and women are at a higher risk of suffering from Anorexia, and there have been increasing incidences of boys and men also suffering from this condition and the main cause is growing peer pressure.

Sport activities:

Sport activities is one of the biggest triggers of Anorexia, here coaches favor skinny players and will advise the bigger ones to lose weight and it builds pressure on the mind of an individual, increasing susceptibility of the disease.

Family history:

A person whose first degree relative has Anorexia such as parent or sibling are at a higher risk of suffering from the disease.

Coping with Anorexia nervosa:

A person with Anorexia lacks self-worth and they are influenced by societal pressures of being thin, and they feel being even excessively thin is not good enough. They are unable to accept themselves for who they are, and believe being thin is equal to being accepted, being responsible and looking good.

An individual with Anorexia needs help to change the way they think and start accepting themselves. It is important for close family and friends to help such individuals. The affected individual can also gradually start practicing self-help techniques in overcoming this disease. The best form of recovery is to start accepting yourself for who you are and recognize your good personalities. Once you are aware of your good qualities you can build self-confidence and start loving yourself and enjoy the good things life has to offer.

Aim to recognize the emotion you are feeling, if you feel fat and don’t feel good about yourself, ask yourself what is bothering you, and write down your thoughts and feelings in a diary. Mingle with people who make you feel good about yourself and this way you will be able to rediscover yourself by recognizing your good qualities. Gradually work on giving little attention to your thoughts about being fat and try to do fun activities which you enjoy like music, reading, writing, movies and so on. A good way to accept yourself is to reward yourself, do something that makes you feel happy like enjoy the fresh breeze, go to a place where you can relax like a library or bowling center, buy some amazing cosmetics and home decorations like perfume, fruity lotion, scented candles and so on.

It is important to recognize your Anorexia nervosa condition and seek help from a doctor, therapist and nutritionist. Fight this condition and rediscover the good moments of life.

 

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Depression should induce power of togetherness

Depression is a feeling of constantly experiencing sadness and low mood. The affected person is no longer interested in the activities once enjoyed. It is common to experience sadness every now and then because life itself is a challenge and it is unpredictable. We never know when a bad news strikes, but for a person with depression the feeling of sadness and low mood is persistent.

Have you ever noticed a family member, friend or colleague who was energetic and happy is now non-energetic and unhappy? People do go through a phase of intense depression, and we need to take cognizance of it. Depression is rampant all over the globe, In United States one in six persons experience a depressive episode, and only 50% who experience high level of depression are given treatment. Based on data produced by National Institute of Mental Health, in United States 11% of adolescents experience a depressive disorder before they reach adulthood. The prevalence of depression in boys and girls is the same before puberty. From the period of adulthood till menopause, the rate of depression in women is 50% more than men.

Types of depression:

Although the emotions experienced by a depressed person is the same, which is feeling of deep sadness. The kind of depression one person experiences is varied from the type another person experiences. To get an idea about the kind of sadness a loved one is experiencing, let us browse through the types of depression.

Major Depressive Disorder:

People with this type of depression are depressed constantly for long periods of time and  many days of the week. This is a severe kind of depression, and if you notice your loved one is depressed for long periods of time, then encourage him/her to visit a doctor or mental health professional. In order to be able to determine if a close person is suffering from major depressive disorder, watch out for these symptoms.

Total loss of interest in the activities once enjoyed

The person has trouble sleeping or feels sleepy through out the day

The person loses or gains weight

Feeling of being worthless or unwanted and guilt

Constant feeling of tiredness or lack of energy

Difficulty making decisions and concentrating

Suicidal thoughts

Persistent Depressive Disorder:

This type of depression lasts for more than a couple of years, and another term for it is dysthymia. These are the signs to notice if you feel someone is or is likely to suffer from Persistent Depressive Disorder.

The affected person overeats or is not interested in eating

The affected individual tends to sleep a lot or get very little or no sleep

Constant feeling of tiredness or fatigue

Difficulty making decisions or concentrating

Feeling of hopelessness

Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar Disorder is referred to as manic depressive illness and here the affected person experiences extreme emotions, mood swings and activity levels. At one moment the person feels elated and at another time the same person feels depressed and experiences a total lack of energy.

Seasonal Affective Disorder:

This type of depression occurs mostly during winter months, and it can also start during fall. It is the lack of sunlight that transforms a persons mood and the person experiences low energy and mood swings. It is important to not take Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lightly and write it off as winter blues. It is important to encourage the affected person to seek help.

Psychotic Depression:

A sign of psychotic depression is you will notice an individual to have major depressive  symptoms and periods of psychotic symptoms. Watch out for these symptoms in a person suffering from Psychotic Depression

Delusions or false beliefs- The affected person dwells in false beliefs and is unable to differentiate between what is real and false.

Paranoia- This is a thought process that is heavily influenced by fear or anxiety to a point that the affected person engages in delusions (false beliefs) and irrational thoughts. The person feels others are out there to cause threat or harm.

Hallucination- The affected person loses sense of real-world perception and actually begins to hear and see things that don’t exist.

Causes of depression:

Depression should not be ignored and considered to be just a period of intense sadness and low mood. It is more than periods of sadness and it should be taken seriously, because this is a serious illness. It is medical factors along with life’s circumstances and challenges that causes depression such as change in hormone levels, genetics, grief or stress. One or a combination of these factors causes a change in brain chemistry and it leads to depressive symptoms. As mentioned earlier, depression is a series condition to look into and World Health Organization classifies this to be one of the most damaging disorders around the globe.

An important point to remember is depression does not happen only to a particular kind and section of society. It affects men and women equally from any type of socio-economic background. It is the circumstances in life that causes this condition like marriage, finance, career, parenting and friendship. The illness becomes more severe when it occurs with life’s challenges along with medical symptoms and behaviors like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, substance abuse, grief and stress.

How to really know whether you or a loved one is suffering from depression, and it is a disorder that affects the overall well-being of a person. Take a note of these symptoms of depression:

Depression affects the thought process of a person, and the affected individual suffers from difficulty in assimilation, has trouble with concentration, and has thoughts of self-harm. The occurrence of hallucinations or delusion happens when the person is suffering from a serious case of depression.

A person with depression experiences feelings of intense anger, guilt, hopelessness, moodiness, sadness and lack of interest in activities once enjoyed.

Observe these behavioral changes in a person with depression. The affected person attempts self-harm, misses school, work and regular commitments, indulges in substance abuse and is not interested in meeting friends or people in general.

Ways to cope with depression:

It isn’t a great feeling at all to go through depression, it makes a person feel down and helpless, and lack of drive to find hope and contentment. It is important for the affected person to gradually cope with issues that is causing him/her to feel depressed and it is also essential for friends or families to offer a source of encouragement.

Get into a social circle like a language class, dance class or a social club, here you will meet people who think alike or people who are also going through depression.

Exercise is important, go for a morning walk or do exercises at home, it releases feel good chemicals such as endorphins, endocannabinoids and neuro-transmitters that reduce immune system chemicals that can increase the severity of depression. The best exercises to fight depression are rhythmic ones where there is no pause in between such as walking, swimming, dancing, weight training and martial arts.

Steadily try to get your mind into the hobbies you enjoy like music, poetry, gardening, cooking, funny movies and shows and so on.

On a day you feel like relaxing take a long hot shower.

Maintain a journal and note down your thoughts and feelings and get inspired to overcome sadness and feel better.

Fight and overcome negative thinking and picture a positive and happy reflection of yourself. To do this write down your fears and the kind of life you desire with the intension of overcoming your fears and working towards the life you want to feel content and full-filled.

If you are upset about not being good enough, gradually work on your weakness and emerge content and victorious.

Try to avoid people who make you feel bad about yourself and mingle with people who admire and cherish you.

Maintain a healthy diet, do not skip meals, and take a note of these foods that fight depression. Turkey and other lean proteins help fight depression; these foods release feel good chemical serotonin. Walnuts and fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids known to effectively fight depression. Low fat dairy like low-fat cheeses, yoghurt and skim milk contain calcium, protein and vitamin D and all these are effective in fighting depression.  The healthy high-fiber carbohydrates found in whole grains like whole wheat pasta, sweet potato, oats meal, brown rice and whole-grains are excellent in improving positive mood symptoms by helping the body release serotonin. Amino acid Theanin present in green tea leaves has excellent anti-stress properties. Dark chocolate releases serotonin and excellent in fighting depression. Turmeric is an excellent mood enhancing food.

Most importantly if you feel you or a loved one is suffering from depression, find treatment immediately. The condition is treated with medication and psychotherapy.

It is important to not ignore a person who is suffering from depression, encourage them and it will help the world grow into a productive and caring place.