A thin, skinny, or athletic person is not the same as someone with anorexia. Regarded as an eating disorder, it is a disease that sees people focus too much on their physical structure, specifically their weight. Their focus is intense to a point that it becomes an obsession. This obsessing includes not only their body image, but also everything they eat. The goal of an anorexic person is to maintain a body weight that, to them, is considered thin, but, medically is considered unhealthy, as it is generally far below a healthy weight for their age and height. To achieve their goal of weight loss, anorexic people will often go without food to the point of starvation, or participate in excessive amounts of exercise.
There is also the condition known as pregorexia, which refers to a woman’s weight gain during pregnancy. As with the more common form of the disease, a woman obsesses about her weight and attempts to control it through extreme measures of diet and exercise. This particular form of the disease is more commonly found in women who have a history of eating disorders.
Causes of anorexia
There is not one exact cause of the disease, but several factors that together may cause people to obsess about their weight.
Psychologically, emotional changes can contribute to the development of the disease, as can striving for perfection. People with an obsessive-compulsive personality can be more susceptible to becoming anorexic.
Biologically, it is thought that genetic changes in the body may make some people more vulnerable to anorexia than others. Serotonin, for example, which may have a role in the development of the disorder, is a brain chemical associated with depression,.
There are also countless images in the media, such as glossy fashion magazines, of rail-thin models and actresses that can influence young people to turn towards becoming anorexic. Peer pressure to be thin is also a noted environmental factor, especially in young girls.
Treatment of anorexia
There are several options of help for people suffering from the disorder. For severe cases where a life may be in danger, medical care in the form of hospitalization or emergency room treatment may be required. This would include patients suffering from dehydration, psychiatric issues, problems with heart rhythm, or electrolyte imbalances.
Often, it is possible to restore a healthy weight. This is the first step to recovering from anorexia. Their goal of treatment should be to learn about proper nutrition and weight. For those suffering from anorexia, this is best done with a dietitian who can offer the proper guidance. A dietitian can also help create meal plans that will ensure that the proper calorie requirements are met on a daily basis.