Anorexia refers to an eating disorder which comes from starving; when people are obsessed with the idea of losing weight and becoming thin, they tend to shift towards an unhealthy diet plan, where they skip meals, eat extremely less and remain undernourished. As a result, they face tremendous weight loss and bear a skeletal structure.
'Anorexia isn’t really about food. It’s an unhealthy way to try to cope with emotional problems.
Usually physical symptoms are-
- Extreme weight loss
- Low haemoglobin
- Delayed menstruation
- Yellowing of skin.
Women are more prone to this disorder, because physical appearance, weight etc. are matters of graver concern for them, due to social and traditional definition of beauty, which promotes that a skinny figure is more appealing while the quotient of a beautiful body is concerned.
Hence women are often obsessive-compulsive about abandoning fat from their foods and shedding calories.
In that attempt, they never have enough even if they are hungry and this leads to a loss of appetite, which never builds up again, and this also disturbs the digestive system.
Initially it was believed, that anorexia psychologically associates with the ‘fear of becoming fat’ but recently, studies have proved that it is more about the ‘pleasure of becoming thin’.
It has been observed that women with anorexia love the concept of shedding some extra fat calories, and they are really excited to see thin people, who are underweight.
The study was carried out by researchers from Paris-Descartes University and INSERM UMR in France, and the University of Ulm in Germany.
71 women with and without anorexia were shown images of people with different body weights. Subjects who were normal weight and slightly overweight did not react much; however, subjects with anorexia were joyful and over excited on seeing images of thin skinny people, who were underweight and never reacted as much to those of healthy people’s images.
The idea of becoming thin gave them pleasure.
There can be genetic reasons for anorexia. Some people might be prim and proper and a lover of perfection hereditarily. Perfectionism about their looks, especially figure lead them to quit food and this can have drastic effects.
Besides psychological factors cannot be neglected. A person who loves everything to be just right, cannot compromise with his/her weight. They resort to impractical and unrealistic weight loss plans which only lead to anorexia.
A patient never realise when the fear of getting fat actually changes to pleasure in losing weight. When a person with anorexia observes him/herself getting thin, they enjoy the moment, and hence continue the practice.
Motivation towards losing weight is good, but increased motivation results in unrealistic weight management goals which can be hazardous to health.
Professor Gorwood and his team conclude that future research should be geared towards reward systems rather than phobic avoidance.
A psychological cure is significantly required to get rid of the disorder.
Beware of anorexia when you observe these things-
- Obsessive concern with weight
- Avoiding food in public
- Making excuses for not eating
- Obsession with calorie count
- Visiting sites which talk about food and calorie relation
- Checking weight on machines regularly
- Posting images with weigh loss mention on social networking sites etc.
Counselling can always help. We have discussed on this earlier in Obsession with weight can lead to anorexia in teenagers.
Psychologically, you have to be confident of yourself and appreciate the way you are, then you can avoid changing your shape and size; you need to be healthy and happy above everything else.