What is anorexia nervosa
Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder with three key features: refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
an intense fear of gaining weight
a distorted body image
Types of anorexia nervosa
There are two types of anorexia. In the restricting type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by restricting calories (following drastic diets, fasting, and exercising to excess). In the purging type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics.
Anorexia is not about weight or food
Believe it or not, anorexia isn’t really about food and weight—at least not at its core. Eating disorders are much more complicated than that. The food and weight-related issues are symptoms of something deeper: things like depression, loneliness, insecurity, pressure to be perfect, or feeling out of control. Things that no amount of dieting or weight loss can cure.
The difference between dieting and anorexia
Healthy dieting is an attempt to control weight.
Anorexia is an attempt to control your life and emotions.
Your self-esteem is based on more than just weight and body image. Your self-esteem is based entirely on how much you weigh and how thin you are. You view weight loss as a way to improve your health and appearance. You view weight loss as a way to achieve happiness.
Your goal is to lose weight in a healthy way.
Becoming thin is all that matters; health is not a concern.
Anorexic food behavior signs and symptoms
Dieting despite being thin – Following a severely restricted diet. Eating only certain low-calorie foods. Banning “bad” foods such as carbohydrates and fats. Obsession with calories, fat grams, and nutrition – Reading food labels, measuring and weighing portions, keeping a food diary, reading diet books. Pretending to eat or lying about eating – Hiding, playing with, or throwing away food to avoid eating. Making excuses to get out of meals (“I had a huge lunch” or “My stomach isn’t feeling good.”). Preoccupation with food – Constantly thinking about food. Cooking for others, collecting recipes, reading food magazines, or making meal plans while eating very little. Strange or secretive food rituals – Refusing to eat around others or in public places. Eating in rigid, ritualistic ways (e.g. cutting food “just so”, chewing food and spitting it out, using a specific plate).
Anorexic appearance and body image signs and symptoms
Dramatic weight loss – Rapid, drastic weight loss with no medical cause. Feeling fat, despite being underweight – You may feel overweight in general or just “too fat” in certain places such as the stomach, hips, or thighs. Fixation on body image – Obsessed with weight, body shape, or clothing size. Frequent weigh-ins and concern over tiny fluctuations in weight. Harshly critical of appearance – Spending a lot of time in front of the mirror checking for flaws. There’s always something to criticize. You’re never thin enough. Denial that you’re too thin – You may deny that your low body weight is a problem, while trying to conceal it (drinking a lot of water before being weighed, wearing baggy or oversized clothes). Purging signs and symptoms
Using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics – Abusing water pills, herbal appetite suppressants, prescription stimulants, ipecac syrup, and other drugs for weight loss. Throwing up after eating – Frequently disappearing after meals or going to the bathroom. May run the water to disguise sounds of vomiting or reappear smelling like mouthwash or mints. Compulsive exercising – Following a punishing exercise regimen aimed at burning calories. Exercising through injuries, illness, and bad weather. Working out extra hard after bingeing or eating something “bad.”
Although our culture’s idealization of thinness plays a powerful role, there are many other contributing factors, including your family environment, emotional difficulties, low self-esteem, and traumatic...
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