Written by Amy Pusey (last updated April 17, 2009)
We all have issues with our bodies at some point in our lives, and sometimes it is justified, but most of the time it is not. The world we live in today is increasingly image-conscious, and there are so many factors that contribute to an individual developing poor self-esteem, including size 0 designer clothes, magazines, and most importantly, personal relationships. Why is it that some individuals become so deeply affected by these influences they develop the need to hurt their bodies by not eating? But, are these the true root-causes that initiate a person's response to internal pain and conflict by spiraling into the realm of Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia Nervosa, as most are know, is an eating disorder. It is derived from an individual's greatest fear, which is becoming fat; it is then perpetuated by an endless pursuit to become thin. They often cycle between restricting their diet and purging after meals. People suffering Anorexia will take great measures to maintain incredibly low body weights, even to the point of emaciation. Unfortunately, it is never enough, and they are driven to make the figures reflected on the bathroom scale to continue to drop. For them, the only critical outcome they can conceive is to be as thin as possible. While historically, Anorexia studies have concentrated on women of varying ages, they are now broadening their study base as the disorder now afflicts men and children in greater numbers.
The goal of thinness is not necessarily the cause to be thin. There are a few major reasons individuals develop Anorexia. They include:
In the early stages of Anorexia, it may be difficult for a loved one to notice the disorder because Anorexia sufferers will go to great lengths to conceal it. And, if they are caught or questioned about some of their unique habits, they become very adept at giving excuses and involved explanations so as to deter anyone from focusing on their harmful routine. When a person is suffering from Anorexia, the symptoms can become numerous and will pertain to three areas related to the daily routine: food behavior, changes in body appearance, and frequent vomiting. Specifically, here are examples of symptoms to look out for in the event you suspect someone to be suffering from Anorexia:
Altered Body Image or Appearance
The key for any parent, family member, or friend is to pay attention to the eating habits, changes in body appearance, and suspicions of purging, and attempt to address the problems with the person with whom you are concerned and help them seek professional help. If left unchecked, anorexia will contribute to the deterioration of an individual's total well-being. Prolonged exposure to anorexia may eventually result in health problems, including stunted growth, osteoporosis, infertility, and kidney damage, and eventually death.
People who suffer from anorexia generally are unable to help themselves, and often do not realize the need for medical assistance. It may be up to you to recognize the symptoms and get them the help they will desperately require.
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