Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)
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Introduction

 

Arochak or anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder. A person suffering from arochak will develop a strong dislike for food, which may cause the person to become underweight and poorly developed in body and physique. In severe cases, arochak can also lead to the death of the individual due to starvation or metabolic problems caused due to lack of food in the body.

Definition of Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)

 

The word arochak is derived from the Sanskrit ‘aruchi’, which means ‘lack of taste’. Lack of taste is what results in the condition of arochak. Arochak is defined as a bodily condition that is caused by reduced eating methods. Anorexic people are frightened of putting on weight, and are obsessed with extreme slimness. This causes a dislike of food in the person. Anorexic people are generally underweight and have erratic metabolic functions.

Today, arochak has become a very widespread disease, especially in the western world. This has been aggravated by the media that projects thin women as beautiful. Hence girls try to imitate those models and fast until they too get a slim figure. This notion has caused thousands of cases of arochak.

Arochak can be fatal if not cured early on. Since a person with arochak will lose interest in food, it will directly affect the health of the person. The person will have secondary problems like giddiness, dizziness, headaches, cramps, nausea, vomiting, digestive problems and may finally die out of malnutrition. About 10% of all the people diagnosed with arochak eventually die of it.

In this manner, arochak is not just related with the body of the person. The cause of the disorder is seated within the thoughts of the person, and its effects are felt in the functions of the body. Hence arochak is a physiological as well as a psychological problem.

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Types of Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)

There are two main types of arochak. They are as follows:-

(i) Self-induced – In self-induced anorexia, the person has a natural dislike for food. The person will eat less and less day by day and lose weight. The amount of food will be so little that it would almost border on starvation. Such a person might also exercise more in order to burn off whatever food has been consumed. The calories taken in the body are grossly insufficient to carry out the functions of the body.

(ii) Binge-eating or Purging – This is the more common type of anorexia seen in the modern world. Binge-eaters do have a craving for food, and they eat a full meal. But after that they induce self-vomiting or use enemas to regurgitate the food they have eaten. This makes them maintain their low weight. Binge-eaters are commonly found in social circles where lunching and dining is part of the social norm.

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Causes of Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)

Arochak is a kapha disorder. The major cause of arochak is when the tongue is unable to understand the rasa or taste of food. This happens due to a vitiation of the BodhakKapha which is situated in the tongue.

There are several factors that can cause arochak. The following is a list of them.

(i) Genetic and Parental Factors – About 50% of arochak cases have their roots in hereditary factors. In most cases, arochak and depression are both transferred genetically. The method of upbringing of children also contributes to arochak. Children who grow up seeing their parents’ frugal eating habits begin to cut short on their own feeding.

(ii) Likes and Dislikes – Most people develop likes and dislikes when they are young, which remain with them throughout their lives. Some children have dislikes for particular types of food, whereas some of them may dislike food in general. Some children do not like the process of sitting down in a place and eating. All such developmental attributes cause arochak in later life.

(iii) Social Factors – The advertising media vastly propagates the thin and waif-like figure as the ideal body. Most of the models shown in advertisements are deploringly thin, and this brings into the minds of the youth a false idea of beauty. Youth try to emulate these figures by themselves eating less. This is the leading cause of arochak today, especially in the progressive societies where it is considered very important to be body-conscious.

(iv) Metabolic Functions – People who suffer from hypothyroidism, Addison’s disease or Simmond’s disease have more chances of suffering from arochak as their digestive systems and taste buds fail to respond to stimuli. An imbalance in the chemicals of the brain can also be the root cause of arochak.

(v) Wrong Dieting Techniques – Today, there are as many weight-loss centers as there are weight-gain centers. The trends too have changed. It is now no longer the obese people who are enrolling for weight-loss; people with slim bodies are also joining for these programs. In order to make a quick buck, several of these weight-loss centers are making their clients almost starve. This is creating an impression that a slim figure is the ideal figure, and increasing the incidences of arochak.

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How to Diagnose Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)

Arochak is not a disease; it is a disorder. As such, there are no prominent symptoms in order to diagnose the condition. But arochak in a person can be easily found out by some signs and signals. These are given below:-

The person will not be eating even while in company. He or she will keep busy by playing with the food, talking with others or just generally pushing the food around the plate.

A major portion of the food will be left uneaten in the plate and finally thrown into the waste basket.

A person with arochak will serve others but not for himself or herself. He or she will wait until all have eaten.

The person will be reluctant to attend parties or social functions in which food is part of the event.

After attending any function, the person will spend a lot of time in the bathroom trying to vomit the food out.

The person will regularly pass comments or remarks on the slim figures of other people and complain about his or her own physique.

The person will try to skip meals and give excuses for not eating.

The person will not indulge in strenuous activity as he or she will not have the required bodily strength.

The person will be generally lackluster and apathetic to the surroundings.

The person will spend a lot of time looking at himself or herself in the mirror. He or she will keep pinching the flesh especially around the tummy to see if there is any excessive weight.

The person will be mostly seen in baggy or loose clothing to cover up for the low body weight.

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Effects of Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)

Arochak is a very complex eating disorder with several effects on the body. The following are some of the prominent effects that are observed:-

(i) The person will lose interest in food. This will cause malnutrition. Malnutrition can bring on a host of diseases in the person such as:-

a) Kwashiorkor

b) Marasmus

c) Night Blindness

d) Xeroderma

e) Beriberi

f) Pellagra

g) Scurvy

h) Anemia

i) Rickets

j) Goiter

(ii) Malnutrition will reduce the resistance of the body. This can make the body susceptible to other diseases.

(iii) Due to poor feeding, the bones will be underdeveloped and osteoporosis has a high probability of setting in. In all cases of arochak, 38 to 50% contract osteoporosis.

(iv) Blood circulation to the brain decreases. As a result, there is low coordination of the organs of the body.

(v) It is generally observed in people with arochak that they have low self-esteem and an inferiority complex. They always find physiques of other people better than theirs and keep comparing body shapes. This is an obsessive compulsive disorder.

(vi) Arochak will retard the sexual functions in both men and women. In men there is a decreased sexual drive which may culminate into impotence. In women anorexia may cause missing of menstrual periods.

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Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa (Arochak)

Since arochak is not a disease, its treatment follows a different pattern. Most treatment methods of arochak are designed at improving the eating habits of the individual. Ayurveda has been using several herbs since centuries to treat arochak. All these herbs are appetizers, which increase the need for a good diet in the person and help in the treatment. A list of such herbs is given below:-

Ayurvedic Name of the Herb

Biological Name of the Herb

Common English Name of the Herb

Action of the Herb

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera linn

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera improves the digestion and thus makes the person feel hungrier. It also treats menstrual problems which can occur in women due to arochak.

Amla

Phyllanthus emblica

Indian gooseberry

Amla is a stomachic, which improves the appetite of the person. Amla is the richest natural source of vitamin C. Thus it can prevent an outset of scurvy due to deficiency of this vitamin.

Ashwagandha

Withania somnifera

Indian ginseng

Ashwagandha helps in digestion and increases the appetite. Its secondary function in arochak patients is to boost the sexual drive.

Aruna

Sphaeranthus hirtus

Aruna is a stomachic that helps to tone the stomach and increase the appetite.

Gudmar

Gymnema sylvestre

Gudmar increases the appetite and takes care of bowel problems.

Jai

Jasminum

Jasmine

The oil of the jasmine flower is effective in reducing stress, depression and worries. This indirectly helps in creating a liking for food.

Jamun

Eugenia jambolana

Indian blackberry

Jamun is a stomachic, i.e. it improves the appetite.

Juniper

Juniperus communis

Juniper berries

Juniper is a stomachic that improves the appetite.

Jyotishmati

Celastrus paniculata

Staff tree

The oil of the jyotishmati is a known stomachic which improves digestion.

Khus

Andropogan muricatus

Khus is a wonderful cooling agent and a stomachic. It also aids in proper and quick digestion of food that has been eaten.

Pudina

Mentha arvesis

Mint

Pudina is excellent for digestion and treating gastrointestinal problems.

Vacha

Acorus calamus

Calamus

Vacha acts in both improving the digestion and in increasing the appetite.

There are some simple ayurvedic home remedies for the treatment of arochak. Some of them are given below:-

(i) A chutney preparation of adrak (ginger) in equal amounts of ghee, sweetened with some jaggery is a very good treatment method. This chutney is meant to be eaten twice in a day, once at dawn and once at dusk. This mixture increases the appetite and builds up a craving for food.

(ii) Take some extract of lemon and mix some sugar with it. Flavor it with cloves and black pepper. Drink this like a sherbet once a day. This sherbet also increases appetite. The clove and pepper add flavor and improve the taste buds of the person.

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