Anorexia Nervosa or more commonly known as Anorexia is an eating disorder characterised by restricted eating and extreme weight loss. It is fueled by an extreme fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.
When people restrict their eating, essential nutrients are not entering the body for it to function normally. Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy. This can lead to serious medical consequences.
Misusing laxatives, diet aids, extreme exercising or vomiting after eating are some ways people with Anorexia try to control their weight. However, people with Anorexia are never satisfied with how much weight they have lost. They often equate thinness to self worth.
Anorexia usually develops during puberty. It affects every gender and race.This disorder is also highly linked to death, as many die from starvation or suicide.
Signs and Symptoms
- Extremely restricted eating
- Extreme thinness
- A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight
- Brittle nails
- Hair that breaks, thins, or fall out
- Dry skin
Women are more likely than men to develop Anorexia. This could be due to media portrayal that women need to be thin to be beautiful.
People with eating disorders in their families are more likely to develop eating disorders. This could be because there was maternal concern about the child’s weight, or family exposure to stress.
Peer pressure from friends or colleagues to be thin. Professions that focus strongly on outward appearances such as modelling, acting and dancing.
Stressful life situations
People feel that they cannot control their life because of stressful events such as bullying, unemployment or abuse. Not eating can be one way for them to take control of their life.
People with obsessive compulsive traits have extreme drive for perfectionism. People with such traits that want to lose weight are unlikely to be satisfied with their weight.
A dietician can assist with weight restoration, by devising a tailored meal plan to help meet weight goals. Additionally, they provide education on appropriate eating patterns.
People may undergo psychotherapy to address the underlying issues associated with eating disorders. They learn healthier coping methods and a more balanced way to look at their body image.
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