Understanding Anorexia Nervosa: What is it and Why Does it Happen?

Person with an Eating DisorderOne of the most common eating disorders is anorexia nervosa (AN), which is often characterized by weight loss. Children and teenagers may exhibit a lack of appropriate weight gain because of it. A person with AN may find it difficult to maintain a body weight appropriate for their age, height, and stature. Sadly, many sufferers have a distorted body image.

Not limited to females

Popular belief suggests that sufferers of AN are female. Although there are more adult females who have the disease than men, the number of sufferers among adolescents is divided equally between males and females.

A study suggested that the incidence of AN over the last five decades is increasing only in females 15 to 24 years of age. It is more common for girls and women to limit their diet in an attempt to fit a culturally accepted body image. Boys and men often limit their diet and excessively work out to build their muscles.

People of all ages, sexual orientation, and race may suffer from AN. Anorexia follows asthma and Type 1 diabetes on the list of the most common chronic diseases among the young.

Common behavior

People suffering from anorexia often resort to different ways to restrict or prevent weight gain. They may limit the amount of food they eat or induce vomiting (purging) after eating. Some use laxatives, diet pills, enemas, or diuretics. Excessive exercising is also common.

Anorexia is sometimes likened to bulimia nervosa, in that sufferers of AN may binge and purge. The difference, however, is that someone with AN is likely to have an abnormally low body weight. Someone suffering from bulimia, on the other hand, may have normal weight or even above normal weight.

Underlying reasons

Someone with anorexia nervosa is likely to associate being thin with self-worth. The disease is not about food; it’s about coping with emotional issues. The problem is that it’s an unhealthy coping mechanism.

If you or someone you know is suffering from anorexia nervosa, EDCare and other experts say that there is a way to beat the disease. It may be a long and difficult process, but anorexia nervosa treatment centers have professionals who can help.

A person with anorexia may not be able to return to normal and healthier eating without help. You should get the help you or your loved one needs before complications get worse.

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