An eating disorder is a type of illness that is characterized by eating behaviors that deviate from the normal eating habits and is usually a response to a psychological or emotional need of self criticism and negative thoughts of oneself. In trying to satisfy these needs, a person develops certain rituals about food, weight, and body shape leading to indulgence in over eating or refusing to eat by ignoring normal body signals for example not eating even when hungry or consuming excess food even when the person is satisfied. Abnormal eating patterns which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating are the three major types of disorders.
Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder where a person has an extreme weight phobia and has an obsession to remain being thin always. Due to this fear, people with anorexia strive to keep their body weight to the low by self starvation or refusing to eat, self-induced vomiting, fasting or by doing excessive exercises and abuse of diet aids. Although there are few cases affecting men, this disorder is usually common with young women starting usually at the adolescence stage or early childhood. Causes of anorexia are not clearly known although certain mixed causes involving psychological factors, social factors, age, stress levels, family and genetic influence are believed to take role. Some of the symptoms of anorexia include intense weight phobia, desire to lose weight despite being thin, constant awareness of their weight, excessive exercises and keeping strict routines of them, certain food choices like salads and for women, lack menstrual periods.
Some of the effects of anorexia may include malnutrition, emaciation, hair loss, low blood pressure, organ failures, bone thinning, brain damage, infertility and even death. Treatment of anorexia has not been uniquely identified although many of the forms of treatment include medical supervision, psychotherapy and nutrition therapy. An attempt to restore weight to a healthy and normal size is the key component to any form of treatment but some extreme cases of weight loss may require hospitalization. The use of some medicines such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics has also been thought to treat anorexia. A better form of treatment involving a combination of supervised medical attention and supportive psychotherapy is also currently being proposed and is thought to be effective than therapy alone.