Body image seems to mean everything to most people today, and always has. Sadly, society judges you quite harshly when it comes to weight, appearance and looks. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that so many suffer from, many of them in silence. The physical signs are there eventually. By the time most people with this disorder are diagnosed they weigh about 15 percent or less than they should for their age, height and bone structure. No matter how small and slender they are, they see themselves as fat.
This eating disorder is life threatening because of extreme weight loss and inevitable damage to major organs. Anorexia nervosa leads to very serious and dangerous health problems and sometimes, death. The individual’s intense fear of being over-weight, fat, and obese consumes their thoughts, perception and life. They continue to decrease their intake of food and compulsively exercise in excess. The individual is continuously striving for perfection but is always critical of them self. Many feel helpless and worthless inside and become socially withdrawn.
Sadly, weighing themselves becomes compulsive; they repeatedly get on the scale throughout the day to make sure that it doesn’t go up. Some wear oversized baggy clothes to hide the weight loss. Most of the time, they deny hunger but when they do eat, there is fear and anxiety associated with food. Using diuretics or laxatives and diet pills is another behavior that many who suffer from this eating disorder do.
Anorexia nervosa typically starts around puberty but can start at any time. This disorder is much more common in women than men. Many models, actors, actresses (just to name a few), have dealt with eating disorders. Many people in the public eye still are. There are many reasons some people suffer from eating disorders, their perception of themselves is distorted and they base their self worth on what they see in the mirror. Each person is different though, everyone’s underlying reasons are different but the out-come is very much the same.
If this eating disorder is gone untreated, the following complications can occur:
- Damage to the heart, brain and kidneysc
- Drop in breathing, pulse and blood pressure
- Hair and nails get brittle
- Hair loss
- Lowered body temperature
- Sensitivity to the cold
- Body hair becomes very fine
- Heart beat becomes irregular
- Osteoporosis or thinning of the bone
- Death from starvation or suicide
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa get worse not better if left untreated. If you suffer from an eating disorder or know of someone that does, it is vital that they get help and treatment. If bad enough, hospitalization will be essential. There are many steps involved in treating anorexia nervosa, medical attention is first. Cognitive behavioral therapy, individual psychotherapy and family therapy are all options in treatment that can help. It’s important that the individual finds the underlying reasons that have lead to this disorder but they can’t do it alone.