What is Anorexia?
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by difficulty maintaining optimum body weight, distorted body image, and fear of weight gain.
People with anorexia will restrict the types of foods and numbers of calories they eat. Some people will also over exercise, purge, use diet pills or diuretics, and sometimes binge eat.
Anorexia can affect individuals of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, and ethnicities. It has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses, and if untreated, is a chronic condition that can affect all areas of a person’s life. An individual does not need to be underweight to be diagnosed with anorexia. Atypical anorexia can be present in someone who is not underweight regardless of significant weight loss.
Anorexia is a complex disorder that manifests from a variety of factors including environmental and psychological. Environmental factors could include our media’s obsession with thinness and the unrealistic standard of beauty that is portrayed, family and childhood traumas, or peer pressure. Psychological predispositions for anorexia can include anxiety, perfectionism, and personality traits related to high levels of cortisol in the brain. Many people with anorexia also have coexisting psychiatric conditions including depression, anxiety, obsessive behavior, and substance abuse.
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