Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

What is anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is a type of psychiatric diagnosis in the form of an eating disorder. It is characterized by low body weight, as well as body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining weight. It has been considered as a complex condition that involves psychological, neurological, and sociological components.

Individuals suffering from anorexia nervosa often control their body weight by voluntary starvation, purging, vomiting, excessive exercise, diet pills, diuretic drugs, and other weight control measures.

Who are affected?

The disease primarily affect adolescent females, while men make up a minuscule number of anorexic patients.

Causes of anorexia

There is no single cause for anorexia nervosa, as it is caused by a combination of social, psychological, and biological factors. However, the perceived media pressure on women to be thin has been discussed and debated, especially on how much of "superficial media exposure" greatly contributes to the development of anorexia.

How to know if you are anorexic

Anorexia nervosa is typically diagnosed by a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, or any qualified physician. Self-diagnosis should be avoided, although you can make your own evaluation according to your body weight as well as your attitude towards having your weight increased. Anorexics refuse to maintain their body weight on at least normal weight for their age and height. They also have a fear of gaining weight.

Effects of anorexia

The disease would cause a number of effects on a patient aside from smaller-and dangerous-body size. Anorexia nervosa can put a serious strain on many of the body’s organs, especially on the structure and function of the heart and cardiovascular system. It also affects one’s psychological, emotional, social, and behavioral self.