Anorexia Nervosa: What You Need To Know About This Eating Disorder

Here are the important facts about Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders which can be life-threatening but it can also be treated.

This disorder is described as extreme food restriction and an intense fear of gaining weight. People having this condition are conscious when it comes to the number of calories and the types of food they eat. Because of this, they have drastic weight loss and cannot maintain their appropriate body weight based on their height, age, stature, and physical health.

In order to succumb to their fear of gaining weight, anorexic people would intensely exercise or purge the food they eat through intentional vomiting and/or misuse of laxatives, based on the article in Cleveland Clinic.

anorexia nervosa
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Those who have anorexia nervosa have a distorted self-image of their body. They would think that they are gaining weight by just eating a small amount of food and even they perceive that they are already fat.

This condition can occur to anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or status in life. However, it is most common among adolescents and young adult women. It also occurs in men and is increasing in numbers in children and older adults.

At least 9 percent of the worldwide population is suffering from eating disorders and 1 to 2 percent of the population has anorexia. This affects 0.3 percent of adolescents.

The symptoms and causes of anorexia are not just the physical aspects because they also involve mental and behavioral components.

Here are the emotional and mental signs:

  • Intense fear of gaining weight.
  • Unable to realistically assess your body weight and shape (having a distorted self-image).
  • Obsessive interest in food, calories, and dieting.
  • Feeling overweight or “fat,” even if you’re underweight.
  • Fear of certain foods or food groups.
  • Being very self-critical.
  • Denying the seriousness of your low body weight and/or food restriction.
  • Feeling a strong desire to be in control.
  • Feeling irritable and/or depressed.
  • Experiencing thoughts of self-harm or su!cide.

It also has behavioral signs:

  • Changes in eating habits or routines, such as eating foods in a certain order or rearranging foods on a plate.
  • A sudden change in dietary preferences, such as eliminating certain food types or food groups.
  • Making frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss.
  • Purging through intentional vomiting and/or misusing laxatives or diuretics
  • Going to the bathroom right after eating.
  • Using diet pills or appetite suppressants.
  • Compulsive and excessive exercising or extreme physical training.
  • Continuing to diet even when your weight is low for your sex, height and stature.
  • Making meals for others but not yourself.
  • Wearing loose clothing and/or wearing layers to hide weight loss and stay warm.
  • Withdrawing from friends and social events.

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