Anorexia is considered a serious illness that can even lead to death. Its symptoms should be identified quickly to stop it from causing further damage to affected persons. Anorexia symptoms are usually easy to notice, as the disorder causes both physical and psychical changes. Once anorexia symptoms are confirmed, the patient needs to follow appropriate treatment, involving therapy and a period of physical recovery.
The most important anorexia symptoms are dramatic changes in physical appearance caused by inappropriate eating (usually people who suffer from anorexia have a lower body weight than the average), obsession with body weight, calories, food, and exercise, the refusal of eating normal amounts of food, irregular meals, attempts of replacing food with coffee, caffeine-based beverages, and diet pills, unusual eating habits and rituals (playing with food, avoiding to swallow food or throwing it away).
People with anorexia have a strong will and keep drastic diets to lose weight. Some eat less food than their bodies require and often even refuse to eat at all. There are moments when anorexics eat large quantities of food during a single meal, only to later purge it out of their system by vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics.
An interesting aspect of the behavior of people with anorexia is the distorted perception of their bodies. Even if they are underweight, anorexics still consider themselves to be fat. Also, they are never content with how much weight they lose, always trying to become thinner.
Anorexia symptoms include dizziness, lack of concentration, migraines, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, depression, and loneliness. People with anorexia isolate themselves from the world, fearing that they won’t be understood by other people. Although they usually refuse any social interaction, they long for acceptance and guidance deep inside. Anorexics experience considerable drops of self-esteem and self-respect and develop feelings of unworthiness. They often complain about their physical appearance, always considering themselves fat.
Women and girls who suffer from anorexia experience hormonal imbalances. Due to the lack of vital nutrients, their bodies produce less estrogen than usual, causing irregular menstruation. Sometimes menstrual periods even stop completely in the case of female anorexics that indulge in abstinence from food. Anorexia also affects the fertility of women and girls, reducing their chances of remaining pregnant. Hormonal imbalances also cause bone deterioration, leading to osteoporosis. Women and girls with anorexia have weak bones, teeth problems, and fragile fingernails.
Other anorexia symptoms are low blood pressure, irregular heart activity, low body temperature due to the bad circulation of the blood, muscular rigidity, and abdominal cramps.
People who suffer from anorexia or other eating disorders expose themselves to a lot of dangers. Inappropriate eating and exhausting physical exercises seriously weaken the immune system of persons with anorexia, making them vulnerable to many diseases. It is important to spot the signs of anorexia before it is too late. Although anorexics deny having a problem, they should be aware of the dangers they expose themselves to and they should be provided with advice, help, and support to overcome their illness.