1. Propaganda of “healthy fat” is not appropriate here – it will be banned. So it’s better even not to join.
2. The most important thing: we do not impose our point of view on anyone. It’s just for those who have their own views on the human body, its aesthetics. People with different views on thinness – find another place.
4. <…> We also delete messages like “weight and height is like this, I’m fat, how to lose weight and is it necessary at all?” It is necessary”.
From the rules of the group “40 kg” on “VKontakte”.
There are more than three hundred such groups on “VKontakte” social network. The number of participants in such communities ranges from several hundred to five million people. And despite the fact that the indicator of 40 kg on the scales in the vast majority of cases is incompatible with a healthy life, hundreds of thousands of young girls aspire to it.
According to a study by the Coalition on Eating Disorders, 1 person dies every 62 minutes from an eating disorder in the world. Anorexia is predominantly a problem of adolescence and early adulthood. In approximately 90% of diagnosed cases, girls aged 16 to 25 years suffer from it.
What are the symptoms and causes of anorexia? How to recognize the presence of a problem in life and how to treat anorexia? We will talk about it in this article.
“I am 35. I have been sick of anorexia since 15 years. I was chubby in childhood, at 15 I weighed 62 kg, I was fat in the kindergarten, too. The reason of the disease was huge conflicts at home and, of course, the statements of the boys regarding my size. At the age of 15, any remark for a teenager is a great trauma, you can understand it”.
– Anastasia, losing weight up to 27 kg with a height of 160 cm
Anorexia is the absence or suppression of appetite in the presence of physiological demand in food due to damaged work of the feeding center.
Taking into consideration the peculiarities of the occurrence of anorexia, it is divided into the following types:
In terms of causes, anorexia can be true and false:
Anorexia also occurs in children. Infantile anorexia is divided into primary and secondary. Primary childhood anorexia is a disease caused by a malfunction and malnutrition in a baby. Secondary anorexia is provoked by disturbances in the digestive system or other body systems.
From the point of view of psychology, anorexia is a learned model of behavior, and it can be changed. One of the effective methods of correcting negative attitudes that provoke a rejection of food is the 7Spsy behavior modification technique.
“You must have forgotten that you are fat?
Remember the fullness, the feeling of heaviness that pulls you down, the hatred of yourself and your body.
Now remember the feeling of hunger. Lightness. Pride in yourself.
Remember that a moment in the mouth will stay all life – on the hips.
By the way, about them: look down and look at your huge hips.
Do you want them to become even bigger?
Do you want to be fat all your life?”
A fragment of the post in the group “40kg” on “VKontakte”
Diagnosis and treatment of anorexia begins with an assessment of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms of the disease are:
The behavioral signs of anorexia include:
Attention! The anorexia test below does not confirm the diagnosis, but only indicates some of the first signs of anorexia. Assessment of anorexia symptoms and confirmation of the diagnosis should be performed by a competent specialist.
For the statements below, note the grade, which is close to you.
Try not to spend a lot of time thinking, make a decision immediately after reading each statement.
The optimal testing time is from 1.5 to 2.5 minutes.
|Estimated Statement||Grade of assessment|
|1||I like the feeling of lightness in my stomach|
|2||I critically assess the condition and continuously measure the parameters of my body|
|3||I think about how to lose weight|
|4||I count calories before eating another serving of food|
|5||I refuse to eat high-calorie foods|
|6||I monitor my weight and get up on the scales after each meal (when there is such an opportunity)|
|7||I am terrified of the thought that I can get fat|
|8||I follow a diet and monitor the emergence of new means and methods of losing weight|
|9||I consciously skip meals, even if I feel hungry|
|10||I can resort to cleansing my stomach if I feel full or overeat (induce vomiting, use laxatives or diuretics)|
|11||I feel guilty after eating|
|12||People often talk about my thinness|
|13||Relatives make comments that I should eat more|
|14||It annoys me when people persuade me to eat more|
|15||I have delays of more than 2 months in the menstrual cycle|
If you have marked more than eight statements with degrees of “often” and “sometimes”, you may have a probable eating disorder and you should consult a specialist for more detailed diagnostics.
“I started to lose weight when my boyfriend, a photographer, said that I had cellulite on the hips. Although at that time I weighed 52 kilograms. When I looked in the mirror, I really saw cellulite”.
From an interview with Anna, who has lost weight up to 32 kg with a height of 170 cm.
The course of the disease from its first signs to death can develop quite quickly – from two to five years. Anya Zholobova, proclaimed to be an anorexia icon on the Runet and became the star of a live television show. She started to lose weight at the age of 19. After losing 20 kg, her weight began to grow again. When seeing on the scale 44 kg, Anna attempted a suicide – she jumped out of the window of the fourth floor and miraculously remained alive. But, unfortunately, her life ended soon: Anya died in her sleep at the age of 21 from exhaustion and lack of oxygen. 
A similar story happened with Margarita Aslanyan, who lost weight from 66 to 39 kilograms. Health problems forced the girl to gain ten kilograms, but this did not help. In 2011, when Rita was 20 years old, she fell into a hunger faint and suffocated due to the fact that her tongue sunk into her throat and blocked her breathing. 
There are three stages of anorexia depending on the manifestation of the patient’s symptoms and behavior during the illness: dysmorphophobic, dysmorphomanic and cachectic.
At this stage, a patient increasingly possesses the idea of obesity. It seems to him/her that everyone around is inclined to critically evaluate his/her appearance and note the flaws in his/her figure. He/she is in constant concern and despondency, afraid of condemnation and ridicule from others. Eating habits are changing: starting to count calories, rejection of high-calorie foods and regular weight checks. Appetite at this stage remains stable or even increases.
Unable to cope with hunger, a patient can break down and eat at night.
At this stage, a patient is deeply convinced of the fatness and imperfection of his/her body. He/she constantly examines himself/herself in the mirror and complains about being overweight to others.
During this period, an anorexia patient is inclined to diligently engage in physical exercises. While awake, he/she prefers to spend more time standing, even in those activities that involve a sitting position: reading, writing, working at a computer, eating.
He/she drinks a lot of water and tries not to eat in front of others, eats in small portions, and after eating causes vomiting. The facts of refusal of food are carefully hidden from relatives, coming up with various tricks: to discreetly hide, spit out food or give it to pets. Before eating, he/she tightens the waist with a belt or corset so that food does not enter the intestines. He/she seeks to empty the stomach as early as possible, stimulating it with enemas. A patient experiences guilt and remorse after eating food in a larger quantity than the “norm” determined by him/her, or eating a “forbidden” product.
Against the background of an obsession with the idea of losing weight, a patient becomes addicted to pharmacological drugs that accelerate metabolism and reduce appetite, as well as laxatives and diuretics. A crave for caffeine and smoking is increasing.
This stage is characterized by general depletion of the body. If no measures are not taken to cure anorexia disease in the first two stages, the third stage occurs in a year and a half from the start.
“At 10 years old, I became very sick, did not go out for four months, which led to the initial stage of childhood obesity. At 13, I became obsessed with the idea of losing weight. All methods of losing weight were dangerous: fasting, dozens of diets, vomiting, I even injured my gums so that it would be painful to eat. Probably I took all the drugs that supposedly helped to lose weight”.
– Maria, 16, weighs about 40 kg
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of nervous anorexia are more likely to affect young teenage girls. This is due to the fact that social networks, commercials and glossy magazines show images of extremely thin models. Trying to meet the model standards, young girls become obsessed with the idea of losing weight and fear of extra pounds. At the subconscious level, anorexia is becoming a key factor in self-esteem. Girls think that refusing from food will help preserve their beauty, support their self-esteem and increase social significance. The teenage mind focuses on this idea particularly sharply due to immaturity and inadequacy. Girls completely lose their sense of reality, developing an extremely critical assessment of their own appearance. Thus, the main factor in the formation of anorexia is a mental disorder.
Today, many representatives of social media and commercial companies pay attention to the problem of imposing standards of beauty and their impact on the mind of young girls. For example, singer, composer and art philanthropist Manizha Sangin developed her own project “Beauty Injury”. Through musical compositions, videos, and public appearances, she conveys to girls the idea of accepting herself and her body, even if it is far from established concepts of the ideal and has obvious imperfections. “Yes, I am not your ideal, but who showed it to you?” – the question that sounds in one of Manizha’s songs makes us reconsider the attitude to understanding beauty as thinness. According to her hashtag #traumaticbeauty on Instagram, more than 500 inspiring stories about reappraising and accepting own body have already been published.
And in 2019, the singer, together with the well-known cosmetic brand, which for several years has been inviting non-standard models to participate in advertising campaigns, launched a large-scale international action #showus. As part of this action, more than five thousand photos of ordinary women without digital processing and retouching are available in the project’s online gallery and are broadcast on billboards in central cities of 39 countries. More than eight thousand signatures were collected by the Internet petition for the introduction of the mandatory marking “photo was retouched” in advertising materials.
The psychological factors affecting a probable disease from childhood include:
Complicated relationships with parents often become worse during the disease, which makes it difficult to treat anorexia. In such cases, psychological assistance is required both for a child and parents.
Anorexia can also occur under the influence of nonpsychotic factors:
Genetic conditioning of the development of anorexia is also being discussed among genetic scientists, however, unambiguous research results on this topic have not yet been presented.
“Hi! Please help me get ill with anorexia. I really want to lose weight!”
“I also really want, but it doesn’t work out …”
From anonymous posts in a topical forum
The global difficulty in the treatment of anorexia is that patients themselves often do not recognize the fact of the disease, but, on the contrary, make it a cult: communicate in numerous forums, share photos and praise each other for extreme weight loss, publicly repent of breaks and overeating, make motivational appeals to each other. And they even want to get sick, seeing in this a solution to the problem with self-esteem and self-acceptance. Fans of the deceased Anya Zholobova, about whom we spoke above, continue to communicate in the community created by her, create memorial communities and “perform feats” – losing weight in her honor. In those cases when patients are aware of the danger of anorexia and try to eat, meals are accompanied by emotional discomfort, up to panic attacks.
Since anorexia is a disease that has obvious psychological problems in essence and physiological changes as a result, treatment should be comprehensive and include several directions:
One of the main tasks of psychotherapy is to eliminate the fear of control over weight change. In the process of restoring the body, the brain itself fixes the loss and allows you to compensate for the lack of weight. Full recovery is a very long process, you should be patient and should not lose hope, even in cases of relapse.
Mistake № 1
A successful therapy result is possible only when a patient is aware of the problem and wants to solve it. The task is to convey to the patient the danger of the consequences of anorexia and the need to treat it, that should be undertaken by a competent specialist – a psychologist.
Mistake № 2
The education in children and in yourself of adequate self-esteem is the best prevention of the disease. Watching and discussing documentaries, reading scientific articles and books will help a teenager understand that excessive passion for losing weight is a life-threatening problem. Set priorities: convey to a child the idea that there is nothing more important than health and that you should not chase the ideals inspired from outside.
In the search for psychological support, it is worthwhile to evaluate carefully the competencies of specialists and choose the best option for interaction with a psychologist. A convenient way to work is the 7Spsy behavior modification technique. This is a patented method based on the theories of the founders and authoritative experts in behavior psychology: I.P. Pavlov, A.A. Ukhtomsky, D.N. Uznadze, A. Banudra and others. Using this method, you can change the learned behavior model that provokes the disease. The method is compatible with both inpatient and outpatient drug treatment, as classes are conducted remotely, at a convenient time and in a comfortable environment. The psychologist supports the patient during the course, answers questions and gives advice via a convenient communication channel: by phone, in online chat or by e-mail.
The 7Spsy technique will make a healthy and happy life a reality at a normal weight.