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Home > Health & Disease in Naturopathy > Neuro Disorders > Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa refers to toss of appetite resulting from nervous anxiety. This worrying condition is self induced and seen mainly in young women. It is considered to be a psychological disorder, which begins in efforts to slim. The women reduce the intake of food more and more until, she is virtually eating nothing and becomes very thin. She develops a distorted image of her own body and is not able to realize that it is very harmful and that it spoils the appearance rather than enhance it.

Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa are:
A women suffering from anorexia nervosa refuses to eat, sleeps very little, although she remains very active. She may lose weight upto 25 per cent of the normal weight. There may be a stoppage of menstruation and lack of sexual desire. She is often impatient, irritable and depressed. In course of time, emaciation become severe and may even result in death, if not treated properly.

Causes of Anorexia Nervosa:
Women suffering from this condition tend to have a somewhat neurotic personality. They set very high standards for themselves, and any failure to reach their idea of perfection results in much heart-searching. This attitude extends to their search for an `ideal` slim body. Fear of failure in any undertaking also plays a part in the onset of the disease. Specific criticism may be the final precipitating factor in the food refusal, as for instance, a chance joking remark from a school fellow about fatness.

Failure to eat an adequate nutritious diet can lead to metabolic upset and serious illness. Inspite of appearing to have a super-abundance of energy, the patient is living off bodily reserves and in the very advanced stages, the body chemistry is irreversibly upset.

Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa:
At the outset, patients suffering from anorexia nervosa must be helped to understand their problems so that they can begin to help themselves on to the road to normality again. Much loving understanding and support from family and friends will be needed.

To begin with, the patient should fast on orange juice and water for three to five days. The procedure is to take the juice of an orange in a glass of warm water every two or three hours during the day. If orange juice does not agrees, carrot juice mixed with water may be taken. Each day while fasting, the bowels should be cleansed of the poisonous matter thrown off by the self-cleansing process now set up by the body. This can be achieved through warm-water enema. After the juice fast, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for further two or three days. In this regimen, she should take three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits, such as apple, pear, orange, pineapple, grapes and papaya at five-hourly interval. Thereafter she may adopt a restricted diet of easily digestible foods, consisting of lightly cooked vegetables, juicy fruits and buttermilk for about 10 days.

After the restricted diet, the patient may, depending on the progress, gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet consisting of seeds, nuts and grains, vegetable and fruits. The emphasis should be on fresh fruits and raw vegetables. The patient should avoid white sugar, and white flour as well as products made from them, tea, coffee and fried foods.

The application of ice bag over the stomach for half an hour before meals will be beneficial in the treatment of this condition. Another usual application is wet girdle pack for an hour daily. The procedure is as follows: thin cotton underwear should be wrung in cold water and worn by the patient. Above this, wet underwear, a thick dry cotton underwear should be worn. A cold hip bath taken once daily will also go a long way in curing anorexia.

Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. The most important of this is the use of orange. It gives rest to the digestive organs and supplies nutrition in a most easily assimiliable form. It also stimulates the flow of digestive juices thereby improving digestion and increasing appetite. It creates suitable conditions for the development of friendly bacteria in the intestine.

The use of sour grapes is another effective remedy for anorexia nervosa. The juice of these grapes should be used in kneading the flour before preparing the bread. This bread should be used continuously for two to three weeks. It will tone up the stomach and create good appetite.

The apple is another fruit useful in anorexia nervosa. It helps digestion by stimulating the flow of pepsin in the stomach.

Garlic possesses special property to stimulate the digestive tone of the system and improve appetite. Soup prepared from this vegetable can be of immense help to a patient suffering from anorexia nervosa. This soup can be reinforced with lemon juice for better results.

The use of ginger has also proved valuable in the loss of appetite. About five grams of this vegetable should be ground and licked with a little salt for the treatment of this condition.

Other measures beneficial in the treatment of anorexia nervosa are daily sun and cool air baths, out-of-door life and general and abdominal massage.
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