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Anorexia Nervosa – Not Just for Teens Anymore

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Anorexia Nervosa or simply Anorexia is a devastating problem in society today. It is an eating disorder in where the person intentionally starves themselves. Food and weight become obsessions. Compulsiveness may cause strange eating rituals or the refusal to eat in front of others. Although about 5-10% of men are anorexia sufferers, it is often found in many teenage women, about 1 in every 100 women have anorexia.

Originally only thought as a teenager’s disorder, many adult women today are indeed affected by this disorder. Each year millions of women in the United States alone are affected by serious and sometimes life-threatening eating disorders. The consequences of eating disorders can be severe - five percent to 20 percent of cases of anorexia nervosa lead to death from starvation, cardiac arrest, other medical complications, or suicide.

What are the causes of Anorexia? It usually begins as innocent dieting behavior, but gradually progresses to extreme and unhealthy weight loss. Other causes include but are not limited to:

• Social attitudes toward body appearance (Distorted image of self perfection)
• Family influences (Over bearing or controlling parents)
• Genetics (A family member previously involved with it)
• Neurochemical and developmental factors (Previous mental disorders.)

All of these are considered possible contributors to the cause of anorexia. Women who develop anorexia are more likely to come from families with a history of weight problems, physical illness, and other mental health problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Further, often women with the disorder come from families that are challenged by appropriate problem solving, being too rigid, overly-critical, intrusive, and overprotective.

Experts believe that more than 10% of anorexics are over 40. What drives an adult woman to starve herself? Though anorexia is the restrictive intake of food, it goes hand in hand with a mentality problem. The image of self is portrayed as imperfect or over weight. Therefore, a young woman or adult woman is forced to keep ‘control’ of her food intake to achieve this disrupted image of self.

There is help!

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I never thought anorexia make pregnancy almost impossible. I learn about the effects of anorexia of our body. More than about pregnancy, anorexia also claims lives of young people. Read this on:

July 2, 2009 - 6:35am
EmpowHER Guest

Such a great post Nita! I myself have never suffered from this, but my sister (the perfect athlete) really went through a terrible time trying to keep her body perfect. Emma Leigh wrote an amazing 3 part article on this http://www.flzine.com/anorexia-and-bulimia-closing-points/ and it really hit me hard, thinking about all the things my sister must have gone through and felt like. I never really thought about men going through this as well. It is so sad what society puts us through, you know.

April 22, 2009 - 3:23pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Oh wow! Thanks for sharing that, it's an excellent article! Sad to see someone close to you go through it :(.

April 22, 2009 - 5:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

You say that 5-10% of men have anorexia, but that 1% (1 in 100) of women may have it. That can't be right. I think you mean to say that 5-10% of anorexia sufferers are men.

April 22, 2009 - 12:51pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Ah, thanks for that! I did not notice this, I will reword ;)

April 22, 2009 - 1:01pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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