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!