Anorexia symptoms arent always visible. The emotional effects of anorexia can cause a great deal of pain. Because anorexics usually try to hide their emotional anorexia symptoms, it adds to the overall complications of eating disorders.
When we think about the symptoms of anorexia, we tend to forget (or not even recognize) the extent of emotional torment that anorexia sufferers are going through.
I'm willing to guess that for most people, there are specific thoughts that come to mind with regards to the gaunt, emaciated appearance of anorexics:
"She (he) is so skinny!" or "They never want to eat!" are typical statements of frustration from friends and family.
While these reactions are common, it's important to remember that there are many anorexic people who do not appear to be underweight, even though they are gravely ill.
Recent studies show that these individuals have the potential to be sicker than someone who appears stick-thin.
An interesting note is that most of these people also fall into the category of EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified), which is a classification within the many types of eating disorders.
Anorexia can present itself differently in each individual, especially with regards to the physical symptoms of anorexia. However, there are some fairly common threads with regards to emotional and cognitive functions.
Health risks of dieting and living the anorexia lifestyle are:
Cognitive distortions are very subtle anorexia symptoms, and they occur early in people with eating disorders. These cognitive changes cause irrational thinking and "weird thoughts". Having a distorted body image is one of the most common, but these thought processes can take many forms.
There could be signs of addiction, such as an addiction to food in ways that only anorexics could exemplify.
You may also notice some odd, obsessive behaviors such as mirror checking, hoarding food, or calorie counting.
Anorexia and depression are examples of co-occurring disorders, or comorbidity - meaning that they can exist at the same time. Women with anorexia may engage in self cutting, and/or experience social anxiety, which can result in social isolation.
Social anxiety can trigger panic attacks in some individuals. If this sounds like someone you know, it might be helpful to be familiar with anxiety attack symptoms.
It's obvious that medical complications of anorexia are not the only issue. Quite often the first signs of anorexia are a result of strong or traumatic emotional experiences. One thing leads to another, and serious anorexia symptoms begin to manifest.
Remember - seek professional help if you have any concerns about yourself or someone you know.
The information provided here is offered only as a guideline based on my personal experience, and those I spoke to while I was in treatment at Remuda Ranch.
Learn more about the physical symptoms of anorexia.
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