It’s been a while since we last discussed body image issues and what may transpire from it. So today we will address that by talking about anorexia nervosa. While not too common in the fitness community, it is still an important issue to discuss as they are related. After all, many people engage in fitness to be slim and toned. Others may take the dark path of anorexia to get the same outcome.
Another reason why I wish to talk about it is that I feel I had been down that path before, albeit only a short period of time. And yes, it is unusual for this condition to affect men. So in a sense, I can relate to some of the content in the rest of the article. I have also seen other people in my personal life go through this struggle, which is why I find it important enough to write about.
Anorexia Nervosa is a very common type of eating disorder. The main characteristic of the disease involves self-restrictive food behaviours, making the person diet drastically in order to lose weight. Anorexia involves a phobia of being fat and people affected by the disease develop obsessions with food. Although the actual causes of anorexia are not clear, it seems that the disease has a pronounced psychological character.
Anorexia occurs on the premises of emotional distress and mental instability and the majority of affected people have a low self-esteem and a poor self-image. While anorexics may at first only follow strict diets, in time they may also engage in acts of self-starvation. People who suffer from anorexia also exercise a lot in an attempt to lose “extra” pounds.
It is no surprise therefore that over time, anorexics become obsessed with food and dieting, and they eventually develop an altered perception of their physical appearance. No matter how much weight they may lose, anorexics are never satisfied with their achievements, as they are known to continuously try to become thinner by any means necessary.
There are many hypotheses regarding the actual reasons why anorexics constantly engage in unusual food behaviours. Medical scientists believe that people affected by anorexia are actually trying to achieve self-respect through their actions. It is believed that strict dieting and exaggerated physical exercise are anorexics’ ways of trying to maintain control over their lives.
People affected by anorexia engage in similar behavioural patterns. At first, anorexics keep very strict diets and exercise a lot in an attempt to lose weight. Later, anorexics become so obsessed with food and the idea of being fat that they may even engage in acts of self-starvation. They become depressed and isolate themselves from the outside world, developing complexes of inferiority.
As the disorder progresses, anorexics can’t think about anything else but food, dieting and their intake of calories. They may even have obsessive dreams about being fat and repulsive. They can then become more and more depressed and their perceptions are considerably altered. In advanced stages of the disorder, many affected persons lose their sense of reason and they become victims of their own actions.
It is very important to understand that anorexics can’t overcome the disorder through their own efforts. People affected by anorexia need all the help and support they can get! Anorexics often need to follow psychiatric programs that can help them confront their fears and fight their addictions.
Psychiatric therapy for anorexia is not aimed at convincing anorexics that their behaviour is wrong, but is to explore the actual causes of their extreme behavioural acts and to encourage them to overcome their addictions. It won’t be an easy path, but people can overcome it. So if you think you might be heading down this track, seek help immediately!
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