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I always thought of my daughter (she is 16 now) as of a sensible young girl, hard - working, excellent student, confident and ambitious and also good - looking, healthy and physically fit. And then she started fainting when going out, loosing really too much hair, getting death - pale and later I discovered that she had also been missing her periods for about six months. Our family doctor was appalled and could not believe his own eyes. My daughter is now in hospital, with a disorder called anorexia. The doctor explained that her current condition had been developing for more than a year, but she always seemed healthy and normal to me. What actually is anorexia? Is it possible that it’s been going on for a year and that I couldn’t notice?

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Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder which manifests in obsessive fear of eating too much and getting weight. It is very common among teenage boys and girls and it is associated with certain mental and emotional problems. The cause of the appearance of anorexia is not known or scientifically explained. Those who are not mentally stable are more prone to develop this disorder. The symptoms of anorexia are those you described, plus growing greater amounts of hair on the body or the face, sensitivity to low temperatures, anxiety, weakness, brittle skin, shortness of breath and, of course, the excessive loss of weight. The fact that you didn’t notice how your daughter keeps starving herself to death is rather strange and it pretty much explains the mental condition of your daughter. The usual situation is that a girl who is in every possible way perfect develops this condition because she cannot live up to the expectations of others. She believes she is not perfect enough and food becomes her way of getting things under control even more than before. This indicates low self - respect, fear of not being accepted or even the feeling that, in spite of all her effort and hard work, she does not deserve pleasures in life and so she tries to punish herself by depriving of pleasures (eating being one of them). Since this turned into a year - long starvation, your daughter is hospitalised and should get proper care there. This means that a team of experts will take care of her physical symptoms and aggravation of any aspect of them and that she will also have to be submitted to a serious treatment concerning her mental state. The good thing is that your daughter is already in hospital - people with this problem usually don’t see it as a problem and think there is nothing wrong with them. With full cooperation of her closest family and friends and a radical turn in her way of thinking, your daughter has good chances of fighting anorexia.
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