Anorexia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

American society places a huge amount of importance upon body image. Combined with the obesity epidemic, this has damaged a lot of people mentally as they have proven unable to attain this image, or afraid of losing it once they have it.

This fear of body image has led to an awareness and a proclivity towards eating disorders.

Anorexia is one of the most common types of eating disorders. Anorexia comes from this fear of gaining weight or messing with their self image. Other people use Anorexia as a way to show control in a life where they often have none. This need to avoid food is misplaced from other problems they are having.

Causes of Anorexia

Despite what some people believe, there are actually multiple causes for people who develop Anorexia. It’s not just a mental issue for people afraid of gaining weight. While many believe that Anorexia only affects women, it’s actually quite prevalent in adolescent men as well. Here are some of the things that cause Anorexia:

  • Genetic Predisposition - Most people who become anorexic do have some kind of genetic disposition towards the disease. However it’s not that simple. Typically that’s merely an accelerator for other causes.
  • Social and Cultural Pressure - Many become anorexic when they feel pressured to by people and images from the world around us. Too many men and women feel like they need to fit the exact ideals of models or Hollywood and will develop anorexia to try and attain this.
  • Self Image Delusion - Some people with anorexia have a distorted image of their own body. These people will always see themselves as too fat regardless of the image they are seeing in the mirror.

Anorexia Symptoms

There are quite a few symptoms of anorexia. This is because a lack of food and energy can affect so much of the body. Seeing someone with anorexia can be jarring and while it can be difficult, many of these symptoms lend themselves to offering help:

  • Extreme Weight Loss - This is the most common of symptoms.
  • Overtly Thin Appearance - This isn’t just a case of being thin, but being so thin that bones are prevalent and pressing where they should not.
  • Fatigue - The lack of energy intake makes the person often very tired at all times.
  • Insomnia - A lack of food intake will damage a person’s ability to get restful sleep through the night.
  • Fainting - Once again, the lack of food is directly responsible for dizzy spinning feelings and for the person fainting badly.
  • Damaged Hair - Those people with anorexia will often find that their hair will thin out or even fall out of their head quite easily.
  • Inability to Handle Cold Temperatures - The feeling of always being cold is often due to poor circulation throughout the body as well as the lack of physical mass working to insulate the body.
  • Social Withdrawal - Many with anorexia will move away from their social circles and will instead retreat inward.
  • Depression/Suicide - One of the worst potential outcomes for those with anorexia is that their ruined physical and emotional states push them towards suicidal thoughts and actions.

Anorexia Treatment

Anorexia treatment can be a very difficult thing. Since each person’s case can be so individual to them, it’s key that treatment is planned and customized. There are clinics that specialize in the treatment of eating disorders and these are often the best choices.

The most drastic treatment is inpatient medical care. This requires being admitted to a facility. These centers will work on both the mental and physical health of the person. The key when receiving treatment for anorexia is that the sufferer not relapse in the future. This makes psychotherapy one of the most common after treatments as well. 

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