Anorexia Nervosa Have you ever felt fat or self-conscious about the way you looked? These are questions that we may ask ourselves everyday, but anorexics ask themselves these questions every minute of everyday. Questions like this haunt an anorexic's conscience and ruin the way she / he perceives herself / himself . Anorexia is a very dangerous mental illness because it has many life- threatening effects. Anorexia is not a choice to be made. It is brought on by many pressures to be thin and it clouds one's ability to see herself / himself as she / he really is, which is usually dangerously thin. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder.

Sufferers starve themselves and have extreme weight loss. When starving themselves, anorexics may suffer from terrible hunger pains, but feel rewarded when they can make it through a certain time period, usually a day, then work up to two days and so on. Anorexics are terrified of gaining weight. Food and weight become obsessions. Many of these obsessions may show up in strange eating rituals, such as moving food around their plate and preparing a huge dinner and then refusing to eat any of it. An anorexic's diet will include restricting her / his total calorie intake to fewer than one thousand calories a day.

Many anorexics avoid fattening, high calorie foods and also eliminate meats. Their diet mainly consists of almost completely low-calorie vegetables, such as lettuce and carrots, or popcorn. A woman with anorexia will show obvious signs of being affected. She may have a horrible fear of gaining weight, along with a refusal to eat and denial of hunger. Excessive exercise is a warning sign of anorexia as well. A woman with anorexia may use extreme measures to lose weight, such as making her self throw up, taking pills to urinate or to have a bowel movement, and or taking diet pills.

An anorexic may isolate herself from all others and refuse to socialize. She may also wear baggy clothes to hide her appearance. With all the risks involved in being an anorexic, one would think that no one would be pressured into the cult of thinness, but that most certainly is not the case. Every part of the body is affected in a negative way. The brain and nerves are affected by the inability to think properly, having a bad memory, fainting, changes in the brain chemistry, and being sad, moody, or irritable. A sufferer from anorexia may have fine hair all over her body, while the normal hair may become thin and brittle.

An anorexics skin will bruise easily. It may also have a yellow tint to it and be very dry. A person with anorexia may have a strong sensitivity to cold temperatures. While an anorexic will be bone thin, she still will have constipation and bloating. A continued use of laxatives is harmful to the body because it wears out the bowel muscle and cause it to decrease function. Some laxatives contain harsh substances that may be reabsorbed into a persons system.

The media is not entirely at fault for the onset of anorexia. Several biological factors, including genetics and related hormones, may contribute to the development of anorexia. Women with a mother or sister with anorexia are more likely to develop it. Parents who put emphasis on appearance, diet themselves, and criticize their child's bodies are more likely to have a child with anorexia. Other factors include life changes, such as moving to a different town, or a traumatic event, such as rape can lead to the onset of anorexia.

Anorexia is a dangerous disease but it can be treated if it has not gone too long untreated. The first goal that must be attained, is to restore the person to a healthy weight. Healthy eating patterns play a vital role in gaining weight back. In some cases, medication is necessary in treating anorexia, especially where there is depression or serious compulsory symptoms.

Treatment by a family doctor is possible, though usually a psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in eating disorders is necessary. Most cases of eating disorders can be treated successfully by trained mental health care professionals. Anorexia is a very dangerous mental illness because it has many life- threatening effects. It is a monster that eats at an affected person's conscience. It strives for the unattainable perfection, and if treatment is not received in time, death may be a result. Our society today regards thin as being beautiful, even when thin means being dangerously unhealthy.

If young women do not give in to the media and societal view of extreme thinness as being beauty, they are at less risk of developing anorexia and can possibly help to turn our views of health around.