Anorexic people limit their food intake and become dangerously thin. It may begin as a simple diet but it grows out of control.
Not only is anorexia nervosa a physical problem but it is also a mental disorder. Anorexic people have a distorted body image. That is, even though they are extremely skinny, they see fat when looking in the mirror.
According to the Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc., about 24 million people in the United States suffered from it in 2006. It can affect both genders of all ages but is most common among teenage females.
People develop the disorder for several reasons including depression or stressful situations like moving, divorce, or a death in the family. A specific job or sport may cause them to obsess about their appearance.
Certain personalities may be more prone to developing the disorder like people who are perfectionists or worry that they never do anything right. It is also common for anorexia nervosa to be apparent throughout generations of the same family.
If the eating disorder is not treated, it will lead to lifelong problems that can be fatal. It will cause thin bones that break easily, kidney damage, and heart problems. Anorexic people can starve to death.
Loved ones should look for symptoms of the disorder in others like talking about weight gain, obsessing over diets, and physically weighing less than normal.They may also take laxatives or water pills.
They may have bad skin or thin hair that falls out easily. Anorexic people will most likely over exercise, even when they are sick, and deny they have a problem.
People with anorexia nervosa need to seek treatment with doctors, counselors, and dietitians. They need to not only gain weight but develop healthy eating habits and self-esteem.