Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person eats inadequately or exercises excessively, resulting in severe weight loss.
Incidence of Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is thought to affect one out of every 100 teenagers. It usually affects people in their teenage years or early adolescence. Girls are more likely to suffer from this eating disorder as compared to boys.
Effects of Anorexia Nervosa
Today’s word is obsessed with good looks and body image. Celebrities and models work hard to maintain a thin body. Most of the models endorsing big brands look emaciated and thin. These celebrities are often the role modes of teenage girls and boys. They try to achieve a thinner body as they think thinner body equals beautiful looks.
They usually have a false impression of their body size, believing themselves to be fat when to others this is clearly not the case. They have an intense fear of becoming fat and may obsessively collect slimming guides, recipe books and other information about food and nutrition. They will often spend a lot of time preparing food for others to eat.
Another reason that leads to this eating disorder is peer pressure. As their friends and siblings endorse thinner looks and they are criticized for being fat in spite of a healthy weight, these teenage girls and boys give in to the peer pressure and opt the fast and easy way to lose weight, which is by starving themselves. They do not take into consideration the long term health hazards associated with anorexia nervosa.
As a result of this they tend to starve themselves. They refuse to eat anything even when they are excessively hungry. Most people with anorexia severely restrict their food intake, some make themselves vomit and use laxatives, and many exercise intensely. The affected person may lose about one-sixth of their body weight, and often much more.
Their main focus is to lose the extra pounds quickly and to achieve and maintain a thinner waistline.
Health hazards associated with Anorexia
Teenage girls and boys choose to starve themselves in order to lose weight and maintain a thin body size. But they are unaware of their health risks associated with an unhealthy weight loss. Their body is deprived of the nutrients essential for their growth and development. As a result of this, they may suffer from patchy, scaly and dull looking skin. Many girls even complain of excessive hair loss. They may have irregular periods as a result of malnutrition. They may also suffer from anemia and excessive fatigue. Hunger affects their ability to concentrate. They may suffer from irritability as a result of starvation. Many young adults suffer from depression and insomnia as associated symptoms of this eating disorder. In some people, the consequences of anorexia nervosa may be potentially fatal. The serious life threatening conditions that occur as a result of this eating disorder include renal failure and cardiac failure.
The best treatment option is psychological counseling and support groups. Drugs can be used to treat the associated symptoms.