What is Anorexia?
Anorexia Nervosa, or, ana, is and eating disorder where people starve themselves. Anorexia usually begins in teens, or those nearing puberty. People with anorexia have extreme weight loss, usually 15% below the person's normal body weight. Anorexics have many varieties of losing weight, some of which include intake of laxatives, over-exercising, and not eating.
Symtoms of Anorexia
There are many symtoms of anorexia. Some are visible changes, like extreme weight loss. Others involve the inside of the body. The symptoms of anorexia are:
Avoiding social occasions involving food
Food rituals to eat less, such as eating in secret, Eating foods in a certain order, excessive chewing, playing with food, and eating unnaturally small amounts of food
Dramatic weight loss
Refusing to gain weight
Obbsessing over diets and weight loss
Excessive weighing, and obbsessing over small changes in weight
Fear of gaining weight, and/or being fat
Distorted body image EX)Perception of being over-weight, when actually underweight
Basing their worthiness on appearence and body image
Obbsessing over excercise routine
Changes in Behavior
Anorexia can induce many behavioral changes as well.
Intense feelings of lonliness
Sneaky behaviors involving food
Fear of others opinions on their eating disorder
Withdraw from daily life
Causes of Anorexia
- In many societies, Being extremely thin is important for women, and represents beauty, succsess, happiness, and self-control. Women are targeted with messages form the media that they must diet to meet this standard. But, this "ideal" body image is almost impossible to reach for most women, leaving them very dissatisfied with their body image.
Mental Issues - Psychological characteristics that can make a person more likely to develop anorexia include: Low self-esteem, feelings of being worthless, poor, or distorted body image, depression, difficulty expressing emotions, a need for control, obbsessing over perfection, physical or sexual abuse, a need to feel special or unique. People who are driven to lose weight are often determined in other areas of life, such as schoolwork, career, physical fitness, and/or exercise.
Family Enviroment - Some personal lifestyles can contribute to the development of eating disorders as well. Families with anorexic or bulimia can sometimes be: Overprotective, strict, and over-worrying. Other family issues that can lead to the devolopment of eating disorders are: Valueing body image and appearence too much, criticizing a child's weight or body shape, and being sexually or physically abused.
Genetic Factors - Anorexia occurs eight times more often in people who know, or have realatives with an eating disorder. But, scientists don't know what the inherited factor is yet. Also, anorexia occurs more often in families with a history of depression, physical, sexual, or alcohol abuse.
Life Transitions - Life transitions can often trigger the development of anorexia in someone who is already prey to the disorder, due to some of the reasons described above. Some ana-trggering life transitions include: Beginning adolescence, beginning or failing in work or school, breakup of a relationship, a death of a loved one. Even a normal diet can morph into anorexia.
Distorted Body Image
Stress, genetic makeup, or family conflicts are thought to play a part in distorted body image, or DI. DI Is also seen in some people who have depression, or psychosis. (an illness that prevents people from being able to separate fantasy and reality.) Reseach shows that DI occurs in females more often than in males.
The most common type of DI is found in anorexia, (where a dangerously thin person thinks they're fat). And extreme version of DI is called
Dysmorphic Body Disorder, or DBD.
When does DI, or DBD need treatment? When people have these disorders, they tend to withdraw from daily life. They spend less time with their friends, collegues, and family, and lose their focus on work and studies. It can make them very depressed, and it takes away their freedom and happiness.
Whats the Difference?
Anorexia Nervosa - An eating disorder characterised a misperception of body image. Individuals with anorexia nervosa often believe they are overweight even when they are grossly underweight. (www.project-aware.org/Health/Osteo/osteo-gloss.shtml)
Bulimia Nervosa - An eating disorder in which people eat large amounts of food in a sitting (binging), and then vomit (purging). The vomiting is triggered by a fear of weight gain, from stomach pain, or from the guilt of overeating. People with bulimia also use laxatives, diuretics, and vigorous exercise to lose weight. In order to be diagnosed with bulimia, this behavior must occur at least twice a week for three months in a row. (webcenter.health.webmd.netscape.com/content/article/45/1663_51211)