It is a serious disorder in eating behaviour, in which an individual intentionally starves to maintain body weight and prevent weight gain. When a person is suffering from this psychological problem, he or she is obsessed with how his/her body looks. They desire to lose weight and attempt to achieve weight below their body mass index, by following unhealthy and dangerous methods to attain extreme weight loss. In this case, they often lose their appetite by excess production of hunger hormones (gherlin). Scientifically, it is proven that people who deliberately starve for a long interval of time or reduce their calorie intake despite their hunger pangs, and are frightened about their self-image after gaining weight, suffer from serious disturbance in eating patterns.
This disorder affects people of both genders, and all age groups. However, it is mostly found in females, approximately nine times more than males, according to a research. Another research mentioned that this psychological disorder usually begins at younger age (for both males and females), that is around the time of puberty. According to a report published in a renowned newspaper, this silent epidemic is spreading among young girls in UK's elite educational institutes. Moreover, in top British institutes, the highly competitive environment is making a teenage student more prone to eating disorders.
Anorexia is of two types: restricting and purging. In restricting, the extreme reduction in weight is obtained by decreasing calorie intake after going on fasting. They follow an intense and strict diet plans, followed by excessive exercising. Whereas in purging, the skinny or the bony body is achieved by using laxatives, diuretics, or by vomiting.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANOREXIA
To achieve weight loss, there are several physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms. People having eating disorders for reducing weight sometimes restrict themselves in the quantity of food they consume, or by doing vigorous exercise routine. Other signs and symptoms seen physically may include bony and thin appearance, excessive weight loss, insomnia, dizziness, fatigue or restlessness, hair loss, constipation, dry skin, low blood pressure, osteoporosis, disturbed menstrual cycle, and bluish discoloration of figures. Emotional and behavioural changes may include depression, excess in doing exercise, lack of appetite, fear of weight gain, and disturbed social and sexual life.
CAUSES OF ANOREXIA NERVOSA
The actual factor behind developing this eating disorder is unknown or not identified yet but the research conducted reveal that Anorexia is caused by the combination of several factors like biological, environmental and psychological. As sometimes the genetic alterations make some more defenseless for developing this condition. According to some researches, a chemical of brain named Serotonin which is responsible for having depression plays a key part in developing anorexia.
Psychologically some emotional features may aid in developing this problem especially in young women or teenage girls who want to become thin, no matter what problems they face by following strict diet plans. Environment also plays a key role in promoting Anorexia Nervosa by electronic and print media emphasizing on size zero figures, advertising models and actors also by having peer pressure.
As this psychological problem involves both mind and body, it's better to work simultaneously on both, healing the mind and body disorders by getting help from medical practitioner to treat the functions of body that are disturbed. At the same time, you should have a nutritional treatment from a nutritionist, and above all, the most important step is to take a counseling or therapy sessions with a psychotherapist for complete healing of mind and soul.