Danger of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a psychical eating disorder that is characterized by body image distortion and excessively low weight. The self esteem from people suffering from anorexia does not only depend on claimed performance in the job, hobbies or private life but especially the ability to control their body weight. This can be achieved by starvation, excessive exercise, vomiting, or using laxative and diet aids. Anorexia takes a huge physical and psychological toll on those afflicted with it and it has the highest death rate of any other psychiatric illness.

Figures and Statistics

Read also our article "Purging to Perfection".

How Anorexia Nervosa Affects the Body

Anorexia puts a great deal of strain on the cardiovascular system, particularly the heart. It can slow the heart rate to dangerous levels. Anorexic individuals also tend to have an electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to muscle pain and permanent muscle damage, compromised immunities, and low phosphate levels, which can cause heart failure.

For younger sufferers, Anorexia can stunt growth of the body permanently and cause decreased amounts of hormones that are required for physical and sexual development. Furthermore, due to poor nutrition and lack of nutrition associated with anorexia nervosa, osteoporosis can affect as much as 50% of those suffering from the condition.

The Causes of Anorexia

There are several psychological, emotional, physiological, and even social factors that can trigger anorexia in an individual. Some of these factors include:

Symptoms to look for

There are a number of symptoms and warning signs to look for if you think that someone you know is suffering from anorexia nervosa. These can include:

Anorexia nervosa is hard to treat, with many patients resisting treatment. Only about 50% of those with the condition ever fully recover from it. Treatment usually involves hospitalization or outpatient treatment to increase weight safely, psychotherapy, and drug treatment (for depression). There are many non-profit groups who offer support to those who are suffering from anorexia, and for those who have a loved one afflicted with the condition. Treatment takes time, support, and understanding, but anorexia can be overcome.

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