What is Anorexia?


Anorexia nervosa is a dangerous psychological disorder associated with extreme and unnecessary weight loss, an intense and illogical fear of weight gain, and a distorted perception of self-image and body. Women and men who suffer from anorexia often have a fixation with being thin and exhibit abnormal food consumption patterns. Anorexia is a dangerous eating disorder that can lead to depression, lack of energy, tooth decay and gum damage, and in extreme cases, death.


What Are the Types of Anorexia?


There are two main types of anorexia which exhibit similar symptoms.


Anorexia Nervosa (Binge/Purge) – This form of anorexia is associated with emptying one’s stomach after consumption of food, and is often the result of the overwhelming guilty feelings that a sufferer would experience after eating.


Restrictive anorexia – With this form of anorexia, the individual greatly limits the amount of food consumed, ingesting only a small amount of calories well below their body’s desires and effectively starving him or herself.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia?


There are several symptoms that manifest when someone is suffering from anorexia that differentiate this disease from regular dieting. The signs of anorexia include:


  • Dieting at a healthy weight
  • Banning certain foods considered “bad”
  • Obsessing over nutritional information
  • Continued fixation with food, recipes, or cooking
  • Lying about eating, hiding food, making up excuses not to eat
  • Showing dramatic weight loss
  • Development of soft, fine hair that grows on the face and body
  • Reported sensation of feeling cold, notably in extremities
  • Loss or cutting of hair
  • Avoidance of social functions, family and friends
  • Critical of own appearance
  • Being in denial that one is “too thin”
  • Using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics
  • Purging after eating
  • Exercising excessively


What are the Causes of Anorexia?


The causes of Anorexia can come from a variety of psychological, social, and biological sources.


Psychological Causes of Anorexia – Often seen as overachievers, people who suffer from anorexia exude confidence and control in many aspects of their lives. Their quest for perfection can lead to an obsession with maintaining an unhealthy image of their bodies associated with disordered eating.


Social Causes of Anorexia – Anorexia can be caused by social pressure from various forms of media, careers that promote being skinny, and peer pressure among friends and family.


Biological Causes of Anorexia – Anorexia can sometimes be influenced by genetics – certain studies have shown that people with siblings who suffer from anorexia are more likely to develop symptoms themselves. Anorexia can also be attributed to nutritional deficiencies or irregular brain chemistry.


Getting Help for Anorexia and Other Eating Disorders


Desert Star Recovery Center can help women and men of any age with anorexia. Our outpatient Eating Disorder Program, the Mesquite Program, offers teens and adults the therapy and counseling they need to overcome anorexia and help identify any causes of disordered eating. If you or someone you care about suffers from an eating disorder, do not hesitate to call and arrange a private meeting with one of our specialists to learn more about how we can help.


For more information about getting help for anorexia in Tucson, call Desert Star (520) 638-6000 today!


Anorexia Resources


https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/anorexia-nervosa – The National Eating Disorder Association Anorexia Information Page

http://www.anad.org/get-information/get-informationanorexia-nervosa/ – The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders Information Page

http://www.learnpsychology.org/mental-health/eating-disorders/ – Learn Psychology: Student Eating Disorder Awareness Guide