Anorexia is an eating disorder characterized by a pronounced fear of gaining weight and being fat. People confronted with this condition become obsessed with food and engage in exaggerated acts of preventing weight gain. It is very important to understand that anorexia doesn’t involve loss of appetite. Anorexics willingly refuse to eat properly, continuously pursuing their goal of having a slim body. People who suffer from anorexia keep very strict diets and often over-exercise in an attempt to become thin.
The main problem of anorexics is that they are never satisfied with their efforts and regardless of how much weight they may lose, they continue to indulge in self-restrictive food behaviors. In many cases, people affected by anorexia develop an altered perception of their bodies. They always complain about their physical appearance, referring to themselves as fat. People who suffer from anorexia often try to suppress their hunger by taking diet pills or they even try to replace food with energy drinks. Due to their very scarce diet and the poor intake of nutrients, anorexics often develop serious illnesses. Many people with anorexia eventually develop anemia, gastrointestinal disorders, or osteoporosis (deterioration of bones).
Anorexia has a very high incidence among teenagers worldwide. Statistics indicate that in the United States alone, anorexia affects more than 10 million people. Although anorexia can occur in both sexes, the disorder is very common in the female gender. Research results indicate that more than 90 percent of people diagnosed with anorexia are women. Anorexia is mostly common in teenagers and young adults, rarely affecting people at more advanced stages of life.
The actual causes of anorexia haven’t yet been clarified. The disorder seems to occur on the background of inherited genetic abnormalities, and the main triggers for anorexia are suspected to be various environmental factors Anorexia is more prevalent in well-developed societies, which suggests a pronounced environmental feature of the disorder. However, this type of eating disorder has been identified in virtually any ethnical group and culture, hence contradicting existing environmental theories.
Anorexia affects people on multiple levels and there are various signs that can point to this type of disorder. Physical signs of anorexia are: pronounced weight loss, body weakness, fatigue and anemia. Recidivating menstrual problems are clear indicators of anorexia in the female gender. From a behavioral perspective, the signs of anorexia are: strict dieting, refusal to eat in the company of others, excessive exercise, abusive use of diet pills and diuretics, refusal of social interactions. The emotional aspect of anorexia can involve depression, low self-esteem, inaccurate perception of body image and sudden changes in mood.
In time, people affected by anorexia become the victims of their own actions. Although they may not realize it, anorexics actually engage themselves in self-destructive behaviors. It is very important to pay attention to any signs that may suggest the presence of anorexia in your friends or family members. Anorexia can be treated and people can recover completely from the disorder if they receive appropriate encouragement and support.