Anorexia nervosa – anorexia nervosa is a eating disorder in which people in which the disorder perceive that they are too heavy, even though they are underweight. This perception results in a refusal or inability to maintain a normal body weight.
Sign and symptoms of anorexia nervosa
ü Weight loss or at least 15% of ideal body weight
ü Continuous to diet when not overweight, may restrict food intake or binge on food and then purge
ü Person feels fat even when extremely thin
ü Obsessed with food, but denies being hungry
ü Intense fear of becoming fat
ü Excessive exercise
ü Stopping of menstrual period or never starting
ü Uses diuretics, laxatives, emetics and amphetamines
ü Depressed, moody, irritable, withdrawn, ritual or odd behaviors, and insomnia.
ü Hair loss, dry skin, feeling cold, brittle nails, low blood pressure, and poor blood circulation
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. In this, the patient eats large amount of food in a short period of time and then tries to get rid of the food by vomiting. Children and adolescents are conscious about their weight and do not want to eat but cannot help eating. They even store and hide food intake secretively. After eating, they either over exercise to get rid of the calories or purge or vomit. Some may also diet heavily in between overeating.
Sign and symptoms of bulimia
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. This rapid eating of a large amount of food in a short time (usually less than 2 hours), plus at least 3 of the following:
- Secretive eating during a binge, patients are aware that the eating pattern is abnormal, and they fear being unable to stop eating
- Following the eating binge with purging measures, such as laxative use or self-induced vomiting
- Preference for high-calorie, convenience foods during a binge
- Repeated attempts to lose weight with severely restrictive diets, self induced vomiting, and use of laxatives or diuretics
- Depression and guilt following an eating binge
- Frequent variations in weight
- No underlying physical disorder.
Clinical complications of eating disorders
Potential complications include cardiac dysrhythmias, electrolyte abnormalities, decreased gastrointestinal motility with increased risk of perforation, hypotension, depression, and increased risk for suicide.
Inadequate calorie intake may be severe enough to result in hair loss, amenorrhea, and growth arrest. Electrolyte and fluid loss may be exacerbated by laxative abuse, bulimic patients may have dental caries, loss of dentin, and dorsal hand abrasions from forced emesis.
Differential diagnosis of eating disorders
- General medical conditions – when evaluating patient with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, one must consider other possible causes of weight loss and binge eating.
- Gastrointestinal or GIT disorders, endocrine diseases, occult malignancies, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are among the medical conditions that should be considered.
- Individuals with the neurologic disorders Kleine-Levin syndrome may experience binge eating similar to a person with bulimia nervosa.
- However, patients who experience weight loss due to a medical condition usually not experience the distortion of body image that individuals with anorexia nervosa display.
- Psychiatric disorders. Several psychiatric disorders can cause severe weight loss
- Patient with schizophrenia may display odd eating behaviors and experience weight loss.
- Major depressive disorders may cause decreased appetite and weight loss
- Social phobia may provoke feelings of humiliation or embarrassment while eating in public
- Body dysmorphic disorder can cause altered perception of body image
- Some individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder may experience obsessions and compulsions related to food.
Homeopathic treatment of eating disorders
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat eating disorders but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat eating disorders that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of eating disorders:
Medicines for anorexia nervosa:
Ignatia, Prunus S, Calcaria Ars, Natrum Mur, Arsenic Album, Homorus, Ferrum Phos, Thuja, Phosphoric Acid, Platina, Aurum Ars, Lycopodium, Lecithinum.
Medicines for bulimia nervosa:
Argentum Met, Carcinosin, Ignatia, Natrum Mur, Pulsatilla, Medorrhinum, Staphysagria, Natrum Sulph, Thuja, Syphilinum, Sulphur, Silicea, Iodum, Calcaria Carb, Arsenic Album, and many other medicines.