Do you also fear weight gain or it stresses you out, make you an insomniac? Are you unable to maintain body weight, unable to eat, you starve, seem abnormally low body weight, disguise your thinness or eating habits? Or develop an unrealistic perception of body weight with irregular heart rhythms and severe other emotional and physical issues? Be aware! Cause you can be living with Anorexia Nervosa-often simply called Anorexia.
I know most of you must not be familiar with the same, maybe also because we never came across much of any discussions related to this. Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychological and potentially life-threatening eating disorder.
And yes, you might be thinking now that Anorexia might not be for any particular gender? Yes, you are right but, one thing that most of you must not be aware of is that it’s most commonly diagnosed in adolescent women, but it’s been diagnosed in older and younger women and men. Extreme eating or dieting is an abnormal or unhealthy part of a woman’s life. Studies suggest that eating disorders affect some 30 million men and women in the United States. Both men and women can develop anorexia, but it is 10 times more common in females. Nearly 1 in every 100 American women experience anorexia at some time. It comes third in the most common chronic illness among teens.
When in some people, the worry becomes an obsession, it takes shape of a condition called anorexia nervosa. People with anorexia nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight so, they eat an extremely low-calorie diet and often feel better about themselves losing weight. These people use extreme efforts that tend to significantly disturb their lives. They may control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or by misusing laxatives, diet aids, diuretics, or enemas and may also try excessive exercise to lose weight. No matter how much weight is lost, the person continues to fear weight gain.
People with Anorexia often equate thinness with self-worth. It can take over your life and can be very difficult to overcome. But with the right treatment, recovery is possible, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia’s serious complications.
The exact cause of anorexia is uncertain. As with many diseases, it’s probably a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. A few more added to the ones mentioned above, anorexia symptoms may include:
- skin that is yellow or blotchy and covered with soft, fine hairs
- hair thinning/falling out
- absence of period
- dry skin
- low BP
- excessive exercise
- pushing food around the plate, or cutting food into small pieces
- social withdrawal
- depressed/ suicidal thoughts
- hunger denial
- Reduced interest in sex
Many with anorexia don’t believe they have a problem that can make treatment difficult. Primary care physicians (pediatricians, family physicians, internists & dieticians) can better identify early indicators of anorexia, help you learn how to eat properly, and prevent the development of full-blown illness. So, if you notice any such symptom in any of your that a family member or friend, consider talking to him/her about these issues and healthier options. After all, family therapy works under a doctor’s guidance.
Lakshika Thakur is a freelance content writer with femsay.com. She can be found on Instagram.