Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a fear of weight gain. People suffering from anorexia generally have an abnormal behavior toward eating and self-induce severe weight loss. Individuals suffering from anorexia will go to great lengths to avoid losing weight which can cause them to overexercise and starve themselves. Anorexia stems from a negative body image, even if they are very thin, which causes them to be unable to maintain a normal, healthy body weight. Researchers have found that individuals with anorexia are attempting to to deal with a lost sense of control and perfectionism which is manifested through extreme weight loss and food restriction. According to the article, “people with anorexia often feel that their self worth is tied to how thin they are.” Anorexia is found most commonly in teenagers in industrialized countries and is often brought on by a traumatic event or other emotional problems. Physical symptoms of anorexia nervosa include excessive weight loss, irregular of absent menstrual periods, thinning hair, dry skin, upset stomach, low blood pressure, fatigue, abnormal heart rhythm, among others. Psychological symptoms of anorexia nervosa include distorted self perception, preoccupation with food, refusal to eat, inability to remember, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.
The biological dimension of the illness is the extreme deterioration the body is put through when suffering from anorexia and also the other conditions that can arise from anorexia, such as heart problems and osteoporosis. Anorexia is a very prevalent problem in American culture, many professionals believe is the result of runways and advertisements showing increasingly impossibly thin models that young women think they need to look like to have any sense of worth. Individually, this disease can be very difficult to recover from as the recovery process can last throughout a lifetime.
Some treatments for anorexia include combinations of psychotherapy, family therapy, and medication. This combination can provide the sufferer with the psychological, physical, and familial support they need to fully recover.