3 Things About Atypical Anorexia Nervosa That May Surprise You

Atypical Anorexia Nervosa | Pennsylvania Makin Wellness

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Atypical anorexia nervosa is a term used to describe an eating disorder that doesn’t quite fit into the traditional diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. This can be due to various factors, such as different symptoms or causes. It’s important to understand atypical anorexia nervosa, as it can be very damaging both physically and emotionally.

In this blog post, we will cover everything you need to know about atypical anorexia nervosa. We will discuss what it is, how it differs from other forms of anorexia nervosa, and how it can be treated.

What is Atypical Anorexia Nervosa, and What are the Symptoms?

Atypical anorexia nervosa refers to the intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat with the addition of restrictive eating behaviors. This can include people that don’t even experience extreme weight loss or those that are at a normal weight.

It’s easy to think that a normal body weight means this eating disorder can’t be that serious. However, atypical anorexia nervosa is a very real and dangerous eating disorder. People with this eating disorder often have a distorted view of their body. This can lead to severe body dysmorphia, which is when a person becomes fixated on a perceived flaw in their appearance.

Atypical anorexia nervosa can also have severe physical consequences. People with this eating disorder often restrict their food intake to the point where they’re not getting the nutrients their body needs. This can lead to a whole host of health problems, such as hair loss, brittle nails, and fatigue.

The main symptom of atypical anorexia nervosa is food restriction, which can be either intentional or unintentional. Other symptoms may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Intolerance to cold temperatures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Decreased libido
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone with this eating disorder will experience all of them. So it’s important to speak to a trained professional if you think you or someone you know may be struggling with atypical anorexia nervosa.

How is Atypical Anorexia Nervosa Different from Other Forms of Anorexia Nervosa?

Even though there are a few similarities between atypical anorexia nervosa and traditional anorexia nervosa, there are also a few key differences.

People with atypical anorexia nervosa often don’t experience the severe weight loss that those with traditional anorexia nervosa do. But, as we mentioned before, atypical anorexia nervosa can even occur in people who are at a normal weight or even overweight.

Another key difference is that atypical anorexia nervosa often begins in adulthood, whereas traditional anorexia nervosa typically starts during adolescence.

Atypical anorexia nervosa can also be more challenging to spot than traditional anorexia nervosa. This is because the symptoms can be more subtle and less obvious to friends and family.

It’s important to be aware of atypical anorexia nervosa, as it can be just as damaging as traditional anorexia nervosa.

What are the Different Causes of Atypical Anorexia Nervosa?

There is no single cause of atypical anorexia nervosa. Instead, it’s often the result of a combination of different factors, including genetic, psychological, or environmental.

  • Genetic factors: A person’s genes may make them more likely to develop atypical anorexia nervosa.
  • Psychological factors: A person’s psychological state may make them more likely to develop atypical anorexia nervosa. This can include things like anxiety, depression, or body dysmorphia.
  • Environmental factors: A person’s environment may make them more likely to develop atypical anorexia nervosa. This can include things like stress, trauma, or a history of dieting.

 

Some specific examples of possible causes may include:

  • A history of dieting or yo-yo dieting
  • A history of disordered eating
  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Stressful life events

What are the Different Ways Atypical Anorexia Nervosa can be Treated?

Atypical anorexia nervosa is a complex and severe eating disorder that requires professional treatment. The good news is that there are a variety of effective treatments available.

Some possible treatments for atypical anorexia nervosa may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that can help a person to change their thinking and behavior. It can be used to treat atypical anorexia nervosa by helping a person to develop healthy eating habits and coping skills.
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy that can help a person cope with difficult emotions. It can be used to treat atypical anorexia nervosa by helping a person to develop healthy coping skills and reduce their stress levels.
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): IPT is a therapy that can help people improve their relationships. It can be used to treat atypical anorexia nervosa by helping a person to develop healthy communication skills and build positive relationships.
  • Nutritional counseling: Nutritional counseling can help a person to develop healthy eating habits. It can be used to treat atypical anorexia nervosa by helping a person to develop a healthy relationship with food.
  • Medication: Medication can treat atypical anorexia nervosa by helping reduce stress levels and improve mood.

Atypical anorexia nervosa is a complex and severe eating disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling with atypical anorexia nervosa, it’s important to seek professional help. There are a variety of effective treatments available, so there is hope for recovery.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Atypical Anorexia Nervosa?

Atypical anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with a wide range of potential long-term physical, psychological, and social problems:

  • Physical health problems: Atypical anorexia nervosa can cause various physical health problems, including heart problems, bone loss, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Psychological problems: Atypical anorexia nervosa can cause various psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia.
  • Social problems: Atypical anorexia nervosa can cause various social issues, including isolation, job loss, and financial difficulties.

 

Some other possible long-term effects of atypical anorexia nervosa may include:

  • Anemia
  • Bone loss
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle loss
  • Osteoporosis

If you or someone you know is struggling with atypical anorexia nervosa, help is available. Makin Wellness specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. It can provide the resources and support you need to heal and recover. Schedule an appointment with us today to get started on your journey to wellness.

Watch our YouTube video: Eating Tips to Improve Your Mood

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness Research Team.

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