What feelings does a person with anorexia have?

Losing weight can start to feel like a sense of accomplishment or a way to feel a sense of worth, perfectionism, having other mental health conditions, particularly depression, self-harm and anxiety. The rigid rules and rituals of bulimic behavior are a definite way to distance oneself from feelings that seem uncontrollable, overwhelming, or simply frightening. These can be as creepy as the fear that comes from memories of abuse, the silent pain of not being loved or not being considered important, or the feelings that are buried in past events or just out of daily life. A binge takes away all feelings by providing something else to focus on.

In addition, the disease brings with it a completely new set of complications that mask old feelings and often worsen them. Doctors used to diagnose anorexia nervosa with strict weight criteria, which required a BMI less than 17.5.Therapy for anorexia nervosa addresses symptoms such as emotional dysregulation and inflexible “black and white” thinking. These are coping strategies that are learned early in life and, although they are dysfunctional in nature, they are often the only way a person with anorexia has learned to tolerate difficult emotions. Recently, the colloquial term “drunkorexia” has emerged to describe fasting or restricting eating habits to compensate for excessive consumption of alcohol, but according to current criteria, a person with intoxication cannot be formally diagnosed.

In most cases, treatment that addresses anorexia and other mental health needs and symptoms may work better for you. Recognizing the signs in time and seeking help can reduce the impact of anorexia nervosa and help a full recovery. If you think you (or someone you know) might have anorexia nervosa, it's important to see your doctor as soon as possible. At least 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder at any given time, and 0.9 percent of women experience anorexia nervosa (or anorexia for short) throughout their lives.

One study also suggests that people with anorexia are likely to have low self-direction or adaptability. Anorexia can cause you to feel dissatisfied with your body, leading you to restrict food, exercising excessively, or abusing medications in an effort to achieve ever-present weight goals. Eating is vital for life, but eating disorders such as anorexia affect at least 9% of the world's population. A person who has anorexia but does not lose a significant amount of weight may be diagnosed with a form of eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) known as “atypical anorexia.” Patients with binge eating and purging anorexia may show knuckles in calluses (from self-induced vomiting), erosion of tooth enamel (from exposure to stomach acid due to vomiting) and inability to defecate (due to abuse of laxatives).

What works for you may not work for other people, and you can try several approaches before you find what feels right to you. If you have atypical anorexia, you may have lost a significant amount of weight in a short time, but you are still considered to have an average weight.

Brianna Reichenbach
Brianna Reichenbach

Devoted beer fan. Wannabe web maven. Lifelong tv geek. Infuriatingly humble travel guru. Devoted bacon advocate.

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