An estimated 5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders and most are teenage girls and young women. Among the three types of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa is the most common type. It is a disorder in which the person has a distorted body image and an intense fear of being fat. Binging, or eating large quantities of food in a short period of time, and then purging, or vomiting to empty the stomach of food, are all actions commonly found in anorexics. An anorexic is extremely afraid of becoming fat and might believe she / he is fat even when he / she is very thin. While there is no single known cause of anorexia, several things may contribute to the development of the disorder.

For example, social influences, genetic and biological factors, psychological issues, and family environments all contribute to the development of Anorexia. Social influences are a big contribution to anorexia. The American society places high value on thinness among women. Thinness is frequently mistaken or identified as beauty. As a result, young girls often think that they must be slender to be attractive. Kids are deluged with images of fat free bodies in the pages of heath, fashion, and teen magazines.

Such media that feature photographs of thin super models and actresses are under attack for encouraging young women to starve themselves. One factor possibly leading to anorexia nervosa is the way a person looks at the world, or the psychological factors. An anorexic might have a fear of growing up, a drive to be perfect, or family problems. Some psychological characteristics are low self-esteem, poor body image, need for control, and the need to feel special or unique. Additional contributions to anorexia are family environments. Some families of people with the disorder are more likely to be overprotective, rigid, and suffocating in their closeness.

Also parents who place too much value on appearance, diet themselves, and criticize their children's bodies are more likely to have a child with anorexia. Other contributions to anorexia nervosa are genetic, biological factors, stressful events, and life transitions. It occurs 8 times more in people who have relatives with the disorder. Women whose mothers or sisters have had the disorder are more likely to develop the condition than those who do not. Life transitions can trigger anorexia nervosa to someone who is already vulnerable. Things like starting a new school or job or being teased to traumatic events like rape can lead to the onset of anorexia.

Symptoms of anorexia vary widely and each child may experience signs differently. An anorexic might develop rituals around eating, such as excessive chewing, eating food in certain order, or counting bites. She / he might also follow an excessive, rigid exercise program and have the desperate need to burn off calories after eating. Some other common symptoms are bizarre eating behaviors, extremely low body weight, the denial of feeling hunger, excessive physical activity, and refuses to maintain normal body weight. Anorexics often have dry skin, dehydration, lethargy, and yellowing of skin, which were a result of starvation and malnutrition. Treatment for anorexia is difficult because people with anorexia believe that there is nothing wrong with them.

It is also difficult because there's specific treatment for each patient depending on age, extent of symptoms, and tolerance for specific medications, procedures and therapies. Some kinds of treatment are hospitalization, psychotherapy, and medications. Hospitalization is for patients with severe cases of anorexia. A patient with a severe case of anorexia would weigh 40 percent or more below normal, a severely disturbed metabolism, signs of mental disorders, and severe binging, purging, and depression. Psychotherapy is mainly for patients who are struggling with other issues. Unlike other disorders there are not specific medications that are used to treat anorexia nervosa, but an anorexic might be prescribed medications for other medical treatments like antidepressants, tranquilizers, and estrogen.

The number of eating disorders is increasing everyday. Most people don't think of anorexia as a dangerous disorder, but as we learned from this video, it is.