Anorexia Nervosa refers to an “intense fear of gaining weight”. People suffering from the disorder are called anorexics.
An individual with anorexia thinks about food a lot and limits the food she or he eats, even though they might be underweight.
Unlike previous perceptions, anorexia is more than just a “problem with food” or an “eating disorder”.
Anorexia is used by anorexics as a way of using food or starving themselves to feel more in control of life and to ease tension, anger, and anxiety.
Females are majorly anorexics and display these signs
- Low body weight in comparison to height
- Resist keeping a normal body weight
- An intense fear of gaining weight
- Thinks she is fat even when very thin
- Miss 3 menstrual periods in a row (for girls/women who have started having their periods)
Although eighty-five to ninety-five percent of anorexics are females, men also suffer from it, though with a lower population.
There was an earlier postulation of women of color not being affected by anorexia because their culture accepts every body shape and size.
It is still subject to debate whether African American, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian and Alaska Native people develop eating disorders because “American culture values thin people”.
Just like culture shock, a group of people from a free culture can feel “fat” and compelled to anorexia when thrown amid cultures that value “thin” people.
This theory is called “culture crash” – It opines that many minority races or cultures who develop eating disorder are caused by the stress of the “thin culture” overshadowing their own “free-size culture”.
Though there are no obvious causes of anorexia besides personal experiences; these disorders are real and treatable.
Certain factors that affect eating disorders include:
- Culture. Women in the U.S. 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, women are also feeling pressure to have a perfect body.
- Families. If you have a mother or sister with anorexia, you are more likely to develop the disorder. Parents who feel looks are important, diet themselves, or criticize their children’s bodies are more likely to have a child with anorexia.
- Life changes or stressful events. Traumatic events (like rape) as well as stressful things (like starting a new job), can lead to the onset of anorexia.
- Personality traits. Someone 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.
- Biology. Genes, hormones and chemicals in the brain may be factors in developing anorexia.
Two obvious signs of an anorexic is they may look very thin and/or may use extreme measures to lose weight.
Red-flags of anorexia.
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
Eating very small amounts of only certain foods
Moving food around the plate instead of eating it
An anorexic may also have a distorted body image, shown by thinking she or he is fat.
Believing they are plus-size, they wear bigger clothes to mask their size.
They check their weight several times a day to note weight loss or addition.
An anorexic also has the tendency to get psychiatric and physical illnesses through any of these:
- Obsessive behavior
- Substance abuse
- Issues with the heart and/or brain
- Problems with physical development
The Body and Anorexia
As an anorexic, the individual’s constant lack of appetite doesn’t allow the body receive the necessary energy it gets from food – as there’s so little on your plate. Rather, it slows the individual’s metabolism.
Anorexia is treatable.