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Anorexia in children

Alla Tsvetkova



“My child does not eat anything!”, More and more often we hear such a complaint from anxious moms. Lack of appetite in a child plunges many into shock and causes panic, and the solution to this problem is far from easy. But do not sound the alarm if your child is just naughty from time to time and does not want to eat the food offered to him. Initially, it is necessary to develop a sensible criticism, which, unfortunately, is not peculiar to many mothers and grandmothers who are trying to “feed” the child. But even if you get this "sensible criticism", you still think that the baby is not eating enough, this may already be a cause for concern.


To find out the reason for the reduced appetite or its absence at all, it is necessary to examine the child in all body systems - first of all, the digestive tract, as well as endocrine and nervous function. Most often, the reasons lie in them, since these are the main regulators of metabolism, and it is as a result of the interaction of these systems that we feel hunger or satiety. If no pathologies are found and the child is physically healthy, the psychological factor will become the second stage in the search for the cause. Analyzing children's behavior is a very complex process. But most refusals to eat can be corrected precisely as a result of psychocorrection.

So what is it - refusal to eat? And why does it arise?

Anorexia - This is a complete lack of appetite with the need for a normal diet and standard energy costs. It is accompanied by a sharp weight loss, deterioration of general health as a result of beriberi and disturbances of metabolic processes. All these changes lead to a catastrophe in the body: a rapid decline in immune functions, anemia (a decrease in the number of red blood cells and a drop in the level of hemoglobin in the blood), disruption of the sex glands, which further leads to infertility, hormonal disruptions, etc. Over the past 20- 30 has become very young this year, and now even children are at risk. A particularly dangerous type of the disease is anorexia nervosa, which is associated with the desire to lose weight or the fear of food (most often occurs in young children who are constantly forcibly fed). It is easy to guess that 90-95% of all patients who are overweight, are female. Therefore, it is on them that the most attention will be paid in this article.

What is the reason for not eating? Initially, you need to dive a little into the depths of child psychology. A child is born a “clean sheet”, which from the first days of life begins to be actively filled with information from a wide variety of sources. First of all, it is, of course, parents. The interaction between mom and dad in the family and their relationship to the child is the first trigger mechanism in shaping the outlook for life. Therefore, it is important to begin to inculcate elementary human values ​​as early as possible, including an adequate attitude to any appearance, and first of all to one's own. It is very important to explain to the children that each person is beautiful in his own way, and you need to learn to see and respect these features.

The second important factor for modern children is television, the Internet and other mass media, which are full of the 21 century. Ideal faces and figures appear infinitely on the screens, model appearance (in most cases being a product of computer correction), harmony is promoted and excess weight is condemned. This leads to the emergence of a young, unformed creation of the idea that the thinner you are, the more successful your life will be, and this is fundamentally wrong. Already before 7, a similar concept can be firmly established in a girl, which later becomes the cause of anorexia.

The third problem that increases the risk of occurrence of this disease can be considered the wrong patterns of raising a child. It is mainly about the authoritarian or, on the contrary, uncontrolled model. In the first case, the child from the first years of life feels infringed and seeks at least some way to self-expression, which is most often manifested by capriciousness, expressed resistance to any influence. In itself, this behavior expresses the child’s protest against oppression and lack of will. And one of the areas of the demonstration of his “I” can be just food.

Another point that is worth paying attention to is the mental state of the child. Unfortunately, anorexia in childhood quite often becomes a component of such disorders as schizophrenia and various neuroses, rather than an independent disease, no matter how scary it sounds. To clarify the diagnosis, it is necessary to include a psychiatrist in the list of specialists who should be addressed with this problem. Especially if there was any similar pathology in the genus.

All these factors are typical for different ages, so let's start from the earliest - raising a baby from the first years of life. The main thing in this period, in addition to attentive attitude to physical health, is also the creation of optimal conditions for psychological development. And power is also concerned. It is necessary to turn food into something pleasant, perhaps even fun, but not to do hard meal from eating. Forcing a child to eat is one of the biggest parental mistakes. Remember: the child will not die of hunger, he will still eat, because he absolutely needs to replenish energy reserves. If it seems to you that he is undernourished, then first analyze why this happens. Here are some common reasons:

· Too high in calories. The child may simply not have time to spend all the calories received, so he refuses the next meal.

· The frequency and volume of food offered does not correspond to the age and anthropometric indicators of the child (height, weight, sex, etc.).

· Sedentary lifestyle. In this case, you need to find a field of activity from which the child will be pleasantly tired. This may be any sports club, an extra walk or active games at home and on the street. Then energy costs will increase, which will contribute to the normalization of appetite.

· Food is simply tasteless. After two years, the child begins to actively form an idea about the taste of food, and this should be taken into account. No one wants to eat tasteless slush, so try as often as possible to make a variety in the diet of your baby.

· Snacks between meals with light carbohydrates (sweets, cookies, chips, crackers, sweet water, etc.).

· Lack of hourly diet. This does not mean that the child should sit at the table exactly in 12: 00 and not a minute earlier or later, but eat everything with the burning of a match. It will be quite enough to work out a corridor for meals in 30 minutes. It is important for the development of habit and the normal functioning of the body, which will remember that at a certain time it will receive the necessary portion of nutrients.

As mentioned above, very often children do not want to eat in protest at the parental model of education. How is authoritarianism in the family, and how will it affect children's health? Each person strives for self-expression, for the possession of his own space, for the realization of his desires and needs. If you forbid the child to be himself, do what he wants (of course, provided that it does not harm him and others), if you put your sense of comfort and convenience of an “obedient child” on importance above the true needs of a small person, this will necessarily lead to the consequences. We also know from Newton's laws that every action has a reaction. And the nature of your child, too, gives in to them. Food is one of the easiest ways to show one’s self and make everyone nervous. Therefore, do not be surprised, authoritarian parents, to the fact that your child contradicts you in some way, he is also a human being. Shoving food into your fidget, regardless of his desire, you develop a negative reflex in him. Food will now be associated with something terrible and unpleasant.

Also force-feeding by distracting the baby should be avoided. Reading to him at the table tales and including TV, you block the work of brain centers, which are responsible for the emergence of feelings of hunger and satiety. The appetite of such children can be sharply reduced only because they simply do not allow it to form normally.

With age, children begin to pay more and more attention to sex differences. Anorexia becomes more dangerous for girls, as has already been said. The desire to like the opposite sex is absolutely normal. If you do not inculcate in your child the normal perception of your appearance, then he will not be able to adequately assess himself. Add to this propaganda thinness in the media, we get an excellent help to food turned into the worst enemy. And especially for adolescent girls (starting with 12-13 years). This disease is characterized by some specific symptoms:

· Most often, patients with anorexia increase their physical activity in all possible ways. They often refuse to sit down because they think that they will spend more calories standing (even they eat, if they eat at all, standing), they deplete themselves with workouts, they become inadequately active.

· After a meal, which is rarely the case, one of the ways to get rid of food is to induce vomiting. Most often, fasting is carefully hidden from the parents, so with them the child can eat some amount of food, then run to the toilet and act according to the schedule. Also in their arsenal of means for losing weight you can often find laxatives and diuretics.

· Patients with anorexia feel very hungry, and they need to somehow cope with it. One of the methods is cooking. Perceiving food visually, feeling its smell, some psychological saturation already occurs. Therefore, these adolescents love to cook and feed their culinary masterpieces of friends and relatives, but they do not eat anything themselves, often justifying themselves by the fact that during cooking they already tried out and were no longer hungry.

· The constant psychological stress associated with hunger and panic fear to get better makes a person irritable and angry.

· Also in girls suffering from anorexia, the menstrual cycle may be disturbed, muscle spasms appear due to lack of electrolytes (substances conducting nerve impulses to the tissues), and sleep disturbed.

If you notice that your child has started to lose weight quickly, his usual behavior and eating habits have changed, then you should definitely pay special attention to this. Anorexia, which was not under control in time and did not respond to treatment, is fatal in 20% of cases. First of all, you need to contact a pediatrician and a child psychologist to find out whether this violation occurs. And in case of confirmation of the diagnosis of anorexia, it is important to immediately begin treatment. In nervous genesis, therapy consists of the following points:

· Adjust the diet. For this you need to gradually increase the amount of food, to comply with the ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals.

· Psychotherapy for anorexia patients is absolutely necessary. Improving self-esteem, the formation of an adequate perception of yourself and your body - this is the main thing that will save the patient from rejecting food again.

· Often medications are included in the treatment plan. Antidepressants that increase the activity of the brain, promote a more positive mood and increase the patient's appetite, sometimes play a crucial role.

Anorexia in childhood is very dangerous, because in an organism that is not yet formed, all the processes are very unsteady. Prevention and timely treatment of this disease can not only preserve health, but in some cases save children's life.

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