Anorexia Nervosa

What is it?

Anorexia Nervosa is an Mental health condition

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  • Tooth decay/bad breath 
  • •engagement in lots of high impact activities / over exercising 
  •  hard skin on knuckles 
  • excessive weight loss 
  • lying to others about food consumption 
  •  find it difficult to think about anything else but food 
  •  lying to others about weight loss 
  •  periods stop 
  • growth of fine hair on body/face 
  • loss of hair 
  • pain in abdomen 
  • swelling in feet / hands 
  •  intolerance to cold 
  •  light headed / dizzy 
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Environmental factors including:

•puberty or abuse 

•living in a culture where thinness is desirable /media related /social pressure to be thin 

Psychological factors including:

•Tendency/prone to toward anxiety and/or depression 

•poor/weak reaction to stress 

Biological factors including:


•affecting balance of hormones in the body 

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  • specialist counsellors
  • psychiatrists
  • psychologists
  • specialist nurses
  • dieticians 
  • paediatricians – in cases affecting children and teenagers 
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Physical impact

On the indivdual 

  • Dry skin.
  • Dry or chapped lips
  • Poor circulation resulting in pins and needles and/or purple extremities
  • Headaches
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Bruising easily
  • Frail appearance

On the family 

  • Joint pains from lifting the person up 
  • Won’t look after themselves because of them wanting to make the person with anorexia better 
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Intellectual impact

On the indivdual 

  • Distorted body image
  • Self-evaluation based largely or entirely in terms of weight and appearance
  •  obsessive thoughts about food and weight
  • Refusal to accept that one’s weight is dangerously low despite warnings from family, friends and/or health professionals

On the family 

  • Think that they have abandoned the person with anorexia 
  • Isolation- they think they made like they are  
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Emotional Impact

On the indivdual 

  • Low self esteem/Embarrassment
  • Mood swings
  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety/Guilt
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Fear of being discovered
  • Feeling out of control

On the family

  • Distressed – from seeing a love one looking like that 
  • Guilt/Useless- That they can help them 
  • Embarrassed 
  • Loss- because the person  who has the eating disorder has lost all ambition 
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Social Impact

On the indivdual 

  • Withdrawal from interpersonal relationships in favour of social isolation 
  • Secrecy
  • Interpersonal mistrust
  • Decreased sexual interest

On the family 

  • Not being able to go and meet up with friends because of looking after the person who has anorexia 
  • Not being able to bring a friend around 
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Financial Impact

On the indivdual 

  • Having to pay for private treatment or seeing a counsellor
  • Work- won’t be able to work because of being too frail  

On the family 

  • May have to quit work if the person with anorexia is a child 
  • Paying towards treatment and counselling for the Patient 
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