Currently, the exact cause of anorexia is not known and there are no known ways to prevent anorexia nervosa. The risk of developing anorexia can be decreased by addressing the risk factors.
Some factors that increase the risk for anorexia nervosa include:
- Family history of eating disorder (such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa).
- Having certain personality traits such as perfectionist, perseverance or low self-esteem.
- Having emotional problems such as depression and anxiety.
- Social or cultural ideas about health and beauty such as very thin body types being considered as beautiful.
- Being excessively concerned about weight or body shape.
Recognising the early signs and symptoms of the disorder and seeking treatment right away improve response to treatment and help prevent complications of anorexia.
Some ways to prevent Anorexia Nervosa
According to experts, the best way to prevent anorexia is to develop healthy eating habits and a strong body image from an early age. If you have children and teens
- Do not encourage cultural values that consider thin as perfect bodies. Avoid linking being thin to looking good, popular or healthy. Talk to your children about the side effects of malnourishment and the life threatening nature of anorexia.
- Help your children to develop a healthy view of self and others. Encourage and teach your children to take good care of their bodies.
- Teach your children to eat healthy and do exercise. Do not use food as a means ofpunishment or reward for your child.
- Show your children the healthy way of eating and exercising by being a good role model.
Some ways to prevent relapse in a person, who has been treated for anorexia, are:
- Do not talk about the person's condition, food or weight especially, at meal times. Meal times should be devoted to social interaction and relaxation.
- Family and friends should be educated about anorexia so that they can be watchful for signs of relapse.
- Monitor the person’s weight and eating patterns carefully. This can help you diagnose a relapse at an early stage.
- The person should be given cognitive behavioural therapy or other forms of psychotherapy as it can help him or her develop coping skills and change unhealthy thought processes.
If you (or someone you care about) think you have anorexia, consult a health professional. Early diagnosis and treatment improves the chances of recovery and prognosis.