In the journey of exploring the different aspects of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa will be the first one we cover. Anorexia nervosa or more commonly known as simply anorexia is one of the more well known eating disorders. According to Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) the number of both men and women who suffer from eating disorders in the US reaches 30 million people.That being said, women are more likely to develop an eating disorder compared to men for a variety of reasons. It is estimated that only 5-15% of men will have anorexia, this number can be skewed due to self-reporting and social pressures. The number of American women who will experience anorexia is 1/200. For both women and men the number of those dealing with Anorexia is too high, here is a bit of information on it so you can be educated to help yourself and others if the situation arises.

Anorexia is technically called anorexia nervosa and is characterized by Johns Hopkins Medicine as a form of self-starvation. This can be carried out through fasting, binge-eating, excessive exercise, as well as self-induced vomiting. When a person starts down the road of anorexia they are acting on a belief that they need to lose weight. Just to clarify, losing weight is not the issue here. If done in a healthy manner, losing weight and staying in healthy condition is not wrong, its the way you approach it. Starving yourself has much more adverse side effects that outweigh the simple weight loss. On top of that scientist and health experts have proven that by not eating you actually slow the weight loss process down more than if one simply eats a balanced meal with the daily exercise.

Now just because someone wants to lose weight and goes on a diet does not mean that they are anorexic. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one, look for these symptoms. The most common indicated is seen by a person’s refusal to maintain a body weight which is consistent with their build, height, and age. They express a consistent intense and overwhelming fear of gaining weight, body image, or being fat. The key thing with this symptom is that this occurs regardless of their real weight. This is where the mental health issue comes in. Regardless of what is true the person suffering from anorexia believes that their worth and joy comes from their body’s weight, shape, and size.

After I post the next two eating disorder articles I will go over the treatments and solutions for them. Just because eating disorders are “common” does not meant that they should be taken lightly. Don’t be afraid to get help for yourself or a loved one.

~Be mindful of the mind


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