Receiving an anorexia nervosa diagnosis can be the beginning of a very long and challenging process. Eating disorders don't develop all at once and anorexia nervosa recovery process takes careful planning, with the right aftercare steps in place and a good support system surrounding the individual in treatment. 

An anorexia nervosa diagnosis means that a serious and sometimes dangerous mental health condition has come into play; however, people with the disorder can enjoy long-term recovery. It’s more than great residential or day treatment programs. What to do after recovery is just as important. For those interested in finding a comprehensive anorexia nervosa treatment center, it's important to consider what kinds of different aftercare programs that have been put in place before making any final decisions.

What Are the Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, among the more severe mental health diseases affecting young women and men, is a potentially life-threatening psychiatric disorder that is characterized by restriction of caloric intake, extreme weight loss, and an inability to maintain a healthy weight and nutritional balance. Another common symptom of anorexia nervosa is body dysmorphia or a distorted body image. People who’ve received a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa generally make great efforts to restrict the number of calories or the types of food they eat. They may also engage in excessive or compulsive exercise, to the point of injuring themselves. This serious mental health disorder can affect people of all ages, genders, races and social backgrounds. However, it affects young women (from age 16 onwards, although there are examples of cases much earlier) disproportionately.

What Are the Warning Signs of Anorexia Nervosa?

While each person is different, some of the most common warning signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Refusal to eat certain foods going on diets despite being underweight
  • Avoiding public meals or finding excuses not to eat
  • An obsession or compulsive behaviors about food, dieting, exercise, counting calories, etc.
  • Cooking meals for others without eating
  • Refusal to eat meals around others, hiding or hoarding food
  • The inability to maintain a body weight that is appropriate for one's age, height, and general build
  • Changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle
  • Muscle weakness and dizziness
  • Consistently finding reasons to skip mealtime or social situations that involve food

Why an Anorexia Nervosa Diagnosis Should Be Acted Upon Early

Early intervention for someone with anorexia nervosa diagnosis could mean the difference between life and death. Even among eating disorders, anorexia nervosa can have the highest mortality rate out of any known mental health condition. If it is ignored or goes untreated, they can lead to a number of both physical and psychological health risks.

It’s vital for families trying to help their loved ones to reach out to medical and psychiatric professionals when they suspect anorexia nervosa or another serious eating disorder is developing. As families choose the right anorexia nervosa recovery center for their loved ones, it’s important to look for a program that offers medical and psychological care to help ensure the best possible outcome.

Anorexia Nervosa Aftercare: What Do Families Need to Know?

Before an individual discharges from anorexia nervosa recovery center, they should have a complete aftercare plan set in place. Heading home and back into a regular routine without a solid aftercare plan could set the patient up for failure, with much greater odds for relapse. Most repetitive mental health disorders can be triggered by stress or other difficult situations. Because of the health risk and the high chance of stress-related relapse, a quality anorexia nervosa recovery center will make provisions to ensure aftercare is available.

Committing to working through an aftercare plan is the best way to slowly transition back into day-to-day life after being discharged from treatment. Patients have the option for continued eating disorder counseling through day treatment services, group counseling sessions, family-based therapy and more.

If you suspect that you have anorexia nervosa, then don’t wait to reach out to a top quality treatment center.

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