Insights on Health: Anorexia Nervosa
Maintaining a positive body image in today’s society is a ferocious battle. Between keeping up with the Joneses on social media, and being bombarded by slick marketing from relentless advertisers, the fact that millions of people suffer from eating disorders triggered by low self-esteem should come as no surprise. According to research conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, 30 million people in the US live with eating disorders. To make matters worse, one person is killed every hour as a direct result of complications from eating disorders. Eating disorders happen in varying levels of intensity, however, Anorexia Nervosa is arguably the most brutal of them all.
What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa, often called anorexia, is a type of eating disorder that is more common among girls and women than boys and men. Anorexia happens when a person deliberately eats so little that they have unhealthy weight loss and become dangerously thin. Anorexics also exhibit such severe insecurity that they stubbornly perceive themselves as overweight or fat, even though they are underweight or thin as a matter of scientific fact. On average, most women tend to develop anorexia between the ages of 16 and 20. Even so, research shows that eating disorders are happening more often in older women as well.
What Causes Anorexia?
There are many different factors that can bring about anorexia nervosa. Generally speaking, however, anorexia is caused by a combination of environmental factors and biology. When it comes to the environment, for example, the pressure at school usually inflicts so much stress on girls that they resort to extreme methods of coping. Similarly, adult women who work in image-conscious industries can get involved in bad dieting in an effort to conform with unrealistic beauty standards. When it comes to biology, many women who develop anorexia share personality and behavioral traits that make them vulnerable to this condition. They are often emotionally controlled, have a tendency toward depression, find it difficult to handle stress, and worry excessively. Regardless of what causes it, Anorexia can make it hard to maintain interpersonal relationships. It can also have an irreversible impact on the body and cause infertility or serious pregnancy complications.
How to Find Help
Anorexia is a serious illness that leads to death if ignored. This is why diagnosing or treating it should be considered a matter of urgency. People who suffer from anorexia often also have other mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. Only a licensed healthcare professional is qualified to diagnose anorexia, so if you or someone you love could be suffering from this eating disorder, get in touch with your doctor immediately. It may be difficult to talk to a doctor or nurse about secret eating or exercise behaviors, but keep in mind that doctors and nurses want to help you be healthy. Being honest about your eating and exercise behaviors is the best way to ask for help.