Some characteristics or family traits associated with anorexia include:

  • excessive concern within the family with outward appearances, including body shape and weight
  • parental focus on perfection and performance; harsh criticism for mistakes and inappropriate ways of dealing with conflict
  • family history of sexual abuse
  • strained relationship between husband and wife
  • arbitrary role boundaries where children are encouraged to act more responsible than their age should permit and to take on roles or responsibilities for which they are psychologically ill-prepared

Medical complications

The physical complications associated with anorexia-nervosa are potentially life-threatening. Damage to vital organs as a result of dehydration and malnutrition can result in:

  • low blood pressure
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • thyroid gland deficiencies which can lead to cold intolerance and constipation
  • appearance of fine baby-like body hair (lanugo)
  • bloating or edema
  • decrease in white blood cells, which leads to increased susceptibility to infection
  • osteoporosis
  • tooth erosion and decay from malnutrition and self-induced vomiting
  • seizures related to fluid shifts due to excessive diarrhea or vomiting

The course and outcome of anorexia vary. Catching it in the early stages is associated with better treatment outcomes. Affirming our daughters true beauty and unconditional worth is both the best medicine and prevention.

If you think your daughter has anorexia talk with your child’s pediatrician, or your family doctor. They can assist you in finding a qualified mental health professional.

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