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Anorexia

January 01, 1994

* Gene Wojciechowski's article about Stacey Asbury (Dec. 18) and the tragedy of anorexia went a long way toward helping dispel some of the misunderstanding about this disease. Like many ailments, early detection increases the chances of successful treatment of anorexia. It's crucial that parents and friends know the warning signs, so they can intervene quickly.

Anyone who consistently refuses food or denies that they are hungry is suspect. Other warning signs include abnormal weight loss, recurring complaints of nausea or bloating after eating normal amounts of food and excessive exercise. Physical symptoms include the appearance of fine, downy hair on the arms. Like Stacey, anorexics will often complain of being fat even though they are dangerously thin.

Tom and Carlie Asbury obviously did everything they could for their daughter. However, early detection and team treatment--including medical care, psychotherapy, nutrition counseling and family therapy--can cure many anorexics and spare their families the loss suffered by the Asburys.

MARY DONKERSLOOT

Nutrition Therapist

Beverly Hills

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