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Understanding Anorexia

Article by: Roxanna R.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by excessive weight loss, self starvation, and a distorted body image. Individuals with anorexia have an intense fear of being fat when they are actually very thin or underweight. Eating disorders affect 30 million people of all genders and ages across the U.S., and like all mental illnesses you can’t tell if somebody is struggling with Anorexia just by looking at them. Some of the symptoms are rapid weight loss, an unusual interest in nutrition, food, or calories, strange eating habits and routines, and sometimes a sense of worthlessness or social withdrawal.

“Anorexia” translates to “loss of appetite”, which isn’t completely accurate. People with anorexia often refuse food even when they’re hungry, strictly increasing their exercise and limiting their food consumption to lose weight. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with at least one person dying as a direct result every 62 minutes.

Anorexia can go undetected for long periods of time, but once diagnosed there are a variety of treatments that can help to develop and restore a healthy weight, self-esteem, and to correct distorted thinking patterns. People with this eating disorder often deny they need help, so it is very important that they get support from loved ones and help with recovery.

Although anorexia recovery requires long-term treatment and a strong commitment from the patient, it’s always possible. The sooner anorexia is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome will be.

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