What is Anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder that is characterized by low weight. An anorexic person consumes only limited quantity of food because of the fear of gaining weight or strong desire of being thin. They often have a psychological obsession of caloric or fat content of food. They usually deny hunger, make excuses to avoid eating, hide food they claim to have eaten. Also, anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. It is life threatening due to the effects of weight loss and starvation.
Type of Anorexia
- Restrictive type: In this, the person reduces the amount of food they eat in order to lose weight.
- Binge eating/Purging type: In this, an individual eats a lot in one sitting and then vomits it all out by self-induced vomiting or taking laxatives.
What causes anorexia?
The exact cause of anorexia is unknown. However, it may develop because of many biological and environmental factors such as peer pressure, family or childhood trauma, professions that promote thin weight, nutritional deficiencies, irregular hormones functions, genetics.
In addition, it is associated with loneliness, low self-esteem or need for approval.
Anorexia typically starts in teen years or in young adulthood. Also, although anorexia is more common in women, it’s worth mentioning that men suffer from anorexia as well. It’s common symptoms are
- Having the fear of gaining weight
- Restricting food that contains fat or sugar
- Having a low BMI
- Having distorted body image (seeing your body overweight, in spite of being underweight)
- Shrunken breast
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin, brittle nails
- Low blood pressure
- Gum disease and tooth erosion
- Suicidal feeling
- Performing food rituals and pretending to eat
It may also cause a sleep disorder, fatigue, muscle loss, liver disease, dehydration, calcium deficiency and many other different symptoms experienced by different people.
People with anorexia usually deny that they are ill. They often experience difficulty seeing their behavior as problematic. It is very important to seek treatment from a qualified treatment specialist.
Treatment is most effective when approached by a group of health care workers specialized in eating disorder. This team usually consists of a therapist, medical doctor, registered dietician, and a psychiatrist.
Goals of treatment of anorexia should include weight gain and restart of healthy eating.
It is important for a person to start treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of serious complications.
Many models in the business face this disorder because of the fear of becoming fat and losing their job. They are very common because they have the pressure to fit into size zero outfit. Just like these models, there are various people who also want to be thin and limit their food intake as they have distorted view of their own body.
But it is very important for people to understand that there is nothing more important in this world than their own health. Everyone must have a healthy view of self and others and have a healthy approach to food and exercise.