Anorexia Nervosa is a serious condition where we can literally starve ourselves to death, thinking we're fat. The disorder can stem from physical, psychological and, sadly, intentional causes. In this article, we'll consider the different causes of anorexia, and discuss symptoms and treatment needs.
Physical Causes Of Anorexia: Studies are underway to determine if there is a genetic predisposition for anorexia, but short of that, any of a number of illnesses can actually cause a person to be anorexic. These include arthritis, colitis, kidney failure and cirrhosis of the liver. Also, advanced alcoholism and drug addiction can result in anorexia. If our diet is deficient in certain nutrients, like vitamins A, B3, or B8 we could develop anorexia as a deficiency symptom. Anorexia can be a medical drug side effect, too, so see your doctor. The cool thing about anorexia that had a physical cause is, once the physical condition is cleared up, the anorexia usually goes away, too.
Psychological Causes Of Anorexia: More difficult to treat are the psychological causes stress, depression and anxiety. In fact, anorexia nervosa is a severe anxiety over body weight. We actually see ourselves as being fat, even as we look in a mirror and see a body that's wasting away from hunger, with bones sticking out. It's this body image that's at the root of anorexia. Even when medical treatment restores a normal body weight, until the body image is corrected, the person will just lose it all again.
Intentional Causes Of Anorexia: This is probably the saddest part of the anorexia story. Some people actually cause themselves to become anorexic, accidentally, through fad diets or worse, intentionally, through a sick idea that the "anorexic look" is sexy. There are websites and companies making money by promoting self-starvation as a weight management tool. This creates the mindset of the negative body image which is at the heart of the disorder. I'm all for web freedom, but I think websites promoting anorexia are as bad as those promoting kiddy porn, and for the same reason...they're destroying lives.
Anorexia Symptoms And Treatment: Because the heart of anorexia is an irrational belief you're fat, most people are unlikely to look in the mirror and say, "I'd better get to the doctor." Since denial is a big part of the illness, the best way to see if you or a loved one needs to see a doctor is to take a self-test like this signs of anorexia nervosa quiz. Anorexia is never a self-treatment issue. You must see a doctor, get a proper diagnosis and get professional treatment. Anorexics, left to their own devices, often die. Often, treatment includes medical tests to determine the cause, food supplements to restore body weight, antidepressants or anxiety medicine and psychological therapy to get at the body image issue. How you see yourself is usually the key to the whole thing.
The cause of anorexia can be as simple as a vitamin deficiency or as complex as the human self-image. Often, those causes are physical, psychological and even intentional in nature. Whatever started it, anorexia is a serious condition that can be deadly if not treated. With proper treatment, though, recovery is very likely. If you suspect you or a loved one suffers from anorexia, get it checked by a doctor as soon as possible, so recovery can begin.