Anorexia is an eating disorder where people starve themselves. Anorexia usually begins in young people during puberty. Individuals suffering from anorexia have extreme weight loss. Weight loss is usually 10%-20% below the person’s normal body weight. People suffering from anorexia are very skinny but are convinced that they are overweight. Weight loss is obtained by many ways.
Youngsters with anorexia continue to think they are overweight even after they become extremely thin, are very ill or near death. Often they will develop strange eating habits such as refusing to eat in front of other people. Sometimes the individuals will prepare big meals for others while refusing to eat any of it.
Often anorexia is developed in higher socioeconomic classes where the special tiny type of body is appreciated and in some professions where body weight is very important (such as dancing, especially ballerinas; show models; sportswomen; etc.)
It is known that the following things could play a big role in development of anorexia:
If mother and/or sisters had anorexia – it could provoke anorexia at younger members of family. A lot depend on parents – parents who think looks are important, diet themselves, or criticize their children’s bodies are more likely to have a child with anorexia.
In modern world (especially in USA) women are under constant pressure to fit a certain ideal of beauty. Seeing images of flawless, thin females everywhere makes it hard for women to feel good about their bodies. More and more, men are also feeling pressure to have a perfect body.
Often after broke-up with boyfriend or husband, girls and women feel ugly and trying to become something very special. Traumatic events like rape, death of loved ones as well as stressful things like starting a new job, can lead to anorexia.
Unsatisfied and unhappy personality
The person with anorexia may not like her or himself, hate the way she or he looks, or feel hopeless. She or he often sets hard-to-reach goals for her or himself and tries to be perfect in every way.
Symptoms of anorexia can be different in different situations (depending on age, cause of anorexia, mentality and personality). Main symptom is inadequate weight and very weak body shape (not adequate to certain age and to norms, usually 10-20% less). Additional symptoms are the following:
Absence of the menstrual periods (in women) – at least 3 consecutive;
Absence of appetite and refusal of food;
Intense fear of gaining weight;
Weakness and tiredness;
Luck of life energy;
Shortness of breath;
Obsessive behavior concerning food calories.
How to recognize at early stages
Persons with anorexic disorder may look very thin. She or he may use extreme measures to lose weight by:
• making her or himself throw up
• taking pills to urinate or have a bowel movement
• taking diet pills
• not eating or eating very little
• exercising a lot, even in bad weather or when hurt or tired
• weighing food and counting calories
• moving food around the plate instead of eating it
Someone with anorexic disorder may also have a distorted body image, shown by thinking she or he is fat, wearing baggy clothes, weighing her or himself many times a day, and fearing weight gain.
Anorexic disorder can also cause someone to not act like her or himself. She or he may talk about weight and food all the time, not eat in front of others, be moody or sad, or not want to go out with friends.
Anorexic disorder – Medical Consequences
There are many medical risks associated with anorexic disorder. They include: shrunken bones, mineral loss, low body temperature, irregular heartbeat, permanent failure of normal growth, development of osteoporosis and bulimia nervosa.
As it is shown above – anorexic is not just eating habit and/or menstrual cycle disorder (amenorrhea). It is a serious pathology which should be recognized in time and should be prevented as soon as possible.
Before starting starving – better think about all consequences!
Disclaimer: It is strongly recommended to consult your doctor for professional advice. Above mentioned information and recommendations are just general and should be adapted to each person according to personal health indicators and status.