Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which the individual literally starves herself(/himself), exercises excessively or eliminates food in any other way for example vomiting. These individuals try to stay 15% below their ideal body weight.
People with Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa( an eating disorder characterized by a binge and purge syndrome) may have similar symptoms, the difference between the diagnoses is that those with Anorexia consistently do not maintain a normal body weight.
Anorexia Nervosa is a life threatening illness that can lead to permanent physiological changes such as brittle bones and if not diagnosed on time, can lead to death- usually through a heart attack. Patients with this disorder have a distorted body image, often seeing themselves as fat even when they are wasting away. The disorder is 10 times more prevalent in females than males.
It is believed that Anorexia has been in existence since the last seven centuries- mostly in the form of ‘holy fasting’ to escape the flesh in the name of god.
Aetiology of eating disorders
Numerous studies have suggested that eating disorders have a genetic link on one hand and mood and anxiety disorders on the other and all these disorders are associated with Serotonin regulation. Many researchers have also emphasized on the environmental influence of mass media and cultural norms that equate beauty and thinness. Obsession with thinness is often related with eating disorders in women.
Other researchers have examined the personality as a way for the development of Anorexia and Bulimia. Researchers and clinicians have noted that women with Anorexia are often bright, talented perfectionist who enjoy being in control and controlling food intake seems to be a way of maintaining control in general, particularly over impulses.
Some Anorexic patients have reported saying that they wish to avoid becoming a physically mature woman. Severely restricting food intake can stop the development of secondary sex characteristic such as breasts, halt menstruation and make the body look like prepubescent girl.
People who suffer from eating disorders belong to one of three groups. The first group, which is high functioning, a perfectionist and is self-critical, suffers from either Anorexia or Bulimia. Patients from the second group are more likely to have Anorexia. These patients are depressed, overly controlled, inhibited and avoidant of relationships. Patients who belong to the third group tend to be Bulimic. They are under controlled , impulsive, sexually promiscuous and are frequently suicidal.
Angelina Jolie has battled Anorexia
Edited By – Keerthana Suresh
http://allthingstreatment.com/treatment-tube/anorexia-nervosa-2/ (Featured image)
Psychology 4th edition by Burton (click to buy)