What Happens if Anorexia is Not Treated?
Has your Anorexia gone untreated? Are you wondering what are the consequences?
People mistakenly think of eating disorders as phases, fads or lifestyle choices. They are actually serious mental disorders which impact you physically, psychologically and socially. Eating disorders should be taken very seriously. They can be life-threatening. Anorexia is the deadliest of eating disorders.
When you hear the word anorexia, you likely think of weight loss. The consequences of anorexia, however, go far deeper. While it is a psychological condition, it behaves like a physical condition—not unlike cancer, in that its impact spreads throughout the body destroying healthy tissue it encounters. And anorexia doesn’t stop there: It can destroy your mind, spirit, relationships, future and ultimately … your life.
If you or someone you love has an eating disorder, we can help. Have a confidential conversation with a counselor right now. Call (888) 837-6577.
The Long-Term Impact of Anorexia
Anorexia kills people. In fact, this disease owns the highest fatality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Make no mistake, even if you don’t die, this is a very dangerous condition and its long-term health risks are severe. Here are a few categories in which anorexia can profoundly impact your life:
The Medical Implications of Anorexia
Many health consequences of anorexia are visible—emaciated appearance, dry skin and hair, blue-colored fingertips, and so on. Unfortunately, the long-term and far more severe medical issues cannot be seen as easily.
Your brain shrinks due to lack of nutrition. Your skeletal system is at risk. Nearly 90% of women with anorexia experience osteopenia (loss of bone calcium) and 40% go on to develop osteoporosis (loss of bone density). This bone loss is permanent.
Because your hormonal system is compromised with malnutrition, infertility can result and can be permanent. Many young women with anorexia stop menstruating. Since so many people with anorexia are teenage girls and young women, this can have long-term consequences on their ability to bear children.
Your heart, however, may be the most endangered of your organs. The most common form of death in anorexia cases is heart disease. This is related to muscle deterioration—as your body strives to live, it consumes muscle, in effect, eating itself. The heart is not immune.
The Impact of Anorexia on Your Relationships
Anorexia’s destruction is not limited to the individual sufferer. If you love someone who battles anorexia, you’ll likely feel the effects, too. Work relationships, friendships and even marriages can suffer as the impact of anorexia spreads in someone’s life. Parents with teenage and young adult children battling anorexia may feel helpless as the relational distance with their child grows wider and wider.
The Spiritual Impact of Anorexia
Anorexia is not selective of any one belief system. But where your spirituality is concerned, increased focus on weight-loss and associated guilt and shame often contribute to spiritual drift—a losing sight of truths you might otherwise have stood upon, like the fact that God made every one of His children unique, and not to fit a cookie-cutter mold.
Anorexia is an exhausting condition. There is no room for healthy eating … and very quickly, diminishing room for maintaining healthy relationships and a growing faith.
Life Beyond Anorexia
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, they immediately seek treatment, knowing the sooner the medical intervention, the greater the possibility for a full recovery. Anorexia should be no different. Excellent, life-changing treatment is available.
Anorexia is treatable. Most who receive treatment recover and resume a healthy lifestyle. It is important for you to seek treatment as early as possible.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists understand that effective treatment for eating disorders requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach, involving healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres, offering each client his or her greatest chance at wholeness and transformative growth.