Every year, many people become ill or even die from anorexia nervosa. There are an estimated eight million people in America alone who are currently suffering from anorexia and although the majority of those suffering from anorexia are young women, men can become anorexic as well. If anorexia goes untreated, a person could eventually die from it.
Anorexia nervosa is not just a physical disorder, but a psychological disorder as well. Anorexia is usually triggered by something unsettling happening in one's life, making them feel lost and uncertain about things. They will decide to starve their body as a way to feel they are in “control' of something.
Sometimes a person can become anorexic because they have low self esteem and it has also been suggested that eating disorders can be hereditary also. A person usually starts out eating less and less every day, until they're hardly eating anything at all. They may also become obsessed with exercising and weighing themselves. Here are some signs that someone may be anorexic:
• They get on the scale and weigh themselves several times a day
• They appear irritable and aggravated
• They're exercising a lot more than usual
• They're always complaining about being cold, even when everyone else is hot
• They don't seem to ever sleep much
• Their hair begins falling out
• Their menstrual cycles become irregular or even stop (and they're not pregnant)
• They're always looking in the mirror
• Their clothes appear to become baggy and loose
• They shift food around their plate but don't eat much of it
• They're very picky about the foods they do eat
• They talk about “fasting” often
There are two types of anorexics: restricting anorexics, and binge eating and purging anorexics. The restricting anorexics obviously are the ones who are picky eaters and mainly starve themselves (fast). The anorexics that binge eat and then purge are also bulimic and more than half of anorexics sometimes turn to bulimia as well.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia can cause many complications including heart problems, bad teeth, hair loss, illness and even death. Unfortunately many anorexics are already suffering from low self esteem and depression anyway, so the idea of dying doesn't bother them as much as it should.
Sometimes anorexics realize that they must go get help, but there is usually some sort of intervention from a concerned family member. Anorexics not only need physical help, but therapy as well and it can take a long time for full recovery. Unfortunately many anorexics will have a relapse later in life so there is no real “cure”.
There is always hope though, and the more support and love given to someone suffering from anorexia will help them pull through. If you fear that someone you love may be anorexic or bulimic, try to be gentle with them and listen if they have anything to say. You should not force them to get help. You should not get them to make any “promises' about eating. Take everything slowly. You can sit down and talk to them and express your concerns, but do not yell or judge them. If you can slowly ease them into getting help, they will most likely recover and not relapse in the future.
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