Anorexia nervosa (usually called Anorexia) is an eating disorder characterized by the restriction of food or nutrients, which results in significant weight loss.
In other words, the person does not eat enough calories to sustain a healthy weight.
Dr. Serin calls anorexia “an addiction of restriction,” meaning that the person with Anorexia can become obsessed with restricting what they eat and attempts to get them to eat are largely unsuccessful. This disorder more common in teenage girls than any other population, with the average onset around 15 years of age.
Anorexia nervosa also has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, meaning it causes actual death more than any other mental health issue (Morris & Twaddle, 2007).
Individuals with this disorder have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. They may constantly perceive themselves as overweight; even when significantly underweight for their age.
This disorder is also characterized by a lack of recognition of the detriment or severity of the low body weight and often experience a disturbance in how they view their shape or weight. Individuals many over-exercise to burn calories and are likely to be more physically active and involves in sports or dance.
This population is also at increased risk for medical complications including endocrine abnormalities, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular/pulmonary problems, electrolyte abnormalities, and bone demineralization (Sharan & Sundar, 2015).
More severe cases may also develop amenorrhea, which refers to an abnormal or nonexistent menstrual cycle.
Those who experience childhood trauma or display childhood traits of perfectionism, rigidity, or rule-bound behavior are increased risk for developing this disorder (Sharan & Sundar, 2015).
The characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder can be common in individuals with Anorexia.
Often, intensive inpatient treatment is needed to help the individual attain and maintain a health and stable body weight where caloric intake can be closely monitored. Additional therapy such as CBT can also be beneficial to help change unhealthy cognitive schemas or distorted beliefs about the self.
At Serin Center, we use an integrated approach to help the brain become less obsessive in conjunction with cutting-edge therapy protocols that can break the obsessive cycle of restriction and the unrealistic and distorted body image that goes hand-in-hand with the disorder.
Morris, J., Twaddle, S. (2007). Anorexia nervosa. BMJ, 334(1599), 894-898. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39171.616840.BE
Sharan, P., & Sundar, A. S. (2015). Eating disorders in women. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 57(Suppl 2), S286–S295.http://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.161493
What We Don’t Treat
We are not an emergency clinic. We are an outpatient provider so we do not have inpatient facilities. We are not a hospital and do not provide detox services for addictions. We do not treat schizophrenia or brain disorders related to advancing age such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. We are not contracted with any court system and do not provide court ordered services related to child custody or other matters.