Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes a person to be dangerously underweight. It’s an obsession to maintain a weight far below what is considered healthy by medical standards. A person with this disease is scared to gain weight, thinks about food constantly and has trouble seeing themselves in an accurate light with regard to their body weight. They may also exercise excessively.
At the root though, anorexia is not really about food, but rather a coping mechanism to manage stress. People with this disorder starve themselves in an effort to feel more in control of their lives (through their bodies). Many times they see thinness as a trait that they must have to be loved by society.
Anorexia is a very dangerous disease and if untreated, it can be fatal. It affects almost every area, from your brain and nervous system (depression, bad memory, mood swings) to your hormones (periods stop, infertility). Anorexics often also notice other changes in their skin, digestive functions, and bones. Most dangerous though are the effects of the disease on the heart and kidneys. When your body isn’t being fueled properly, the heart and kidneys can fail.
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Women are at higher risk for anorexia, simply because they often feel more pressure by society to be thin, especially young women. People who have previously succeeded at losing a large amount of weight are vulnerable to this disease because it’s likely that they received a wealth of compliments about their smaller size. If they feel like weight is creeping up on them again, they could resort to drastic solutions. Athletes, especially those expected to be thin (such as ballet dancers) and anyone who makes money in the public eye (like models or TV personalities) also run higher risks of developing anorexia. Again, their self worth is many times tied into their appearance. Emotional stresses can also increase the risk for anorexia.