Understanding Anorexia: It is Not Just About Wanting to be Thin

September 22 2016

Jacqueline Rosenhek


There are many ways to not only be in good shape, but to love your body. Unfortunately, there are some that suffer from the physical/psychological disorder known as anorexia nervosa (more commonly known as just anorexia). Anorexia is an eating disorder where the individual has an unhealthy obsession with being thin to the point that they barely eat or even go through periods where they do not eat at all. Obviously it is not as simple as just starving oneself, there are many different psychological intricacies and tricks that go behind anorexia. Many people misconceive anorexia as just some rich girl’s disorder that one delves into when bikini season is around the corner or is an after effect of the indoctrination of western media based culture, but it is so much more than just that. There are many aspects to this disorder that affects all genders.

To understanding anorexia, we need to understand the psychology behind it and how it is so much more complex than someone who desperately wants to be thin. People with anorexia or any other eating disorder typically already suffer from depression, anxiety or abuse drugs and/or alcohol yet everyone seems to classify sufferers as just vapid and fail to recognize that this is, in fact, an illness based on a deep seated phobia of being fat. The exact cause for one to develop anorexia is not known but it is typically a mixture of psychological, social and biological factors such as peer pressure to be thin. If you think that you or someone you know may be anorexic, here are the following signs:

  • Missing meals or obsessively counting calories
  • Continual weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Frequently gets cold
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of energy
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Thinning hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry skin
  • Lack of a menstrual period in women or low sperm emission in men
  • Low sex drive

Anorexia comes with a particular side effect called body dysmorphia. This is when someone sees their body differently than how their body really is, usually in a negative way. Someone with anorexia will typically see themselves as overweight no matter how thin they actually are and it does not register to them that they are dangerously underweight and that their eating habits are not healthy and can even result in death. Unfortunately in many cases, anorexia sufferers do need to be hospitalized due to long term starvation. Along with therapy and support from family and friends, there are many natural supplements one can take to help to regain some weight and to help balance the mind. Certain vitamin B supplements, like brewer’s yeast has been known to help regain any excessive weight that has been lost and will help to re-balance the vitamin B levels in the body. A protein supplement is also very useful when recovering from anorexia due to the fact that the person recovering from it will likely not be able to eat a full meal at first, so a protein supplement along with a multivitamin would likely help the recovery process. Society may set some pretty unrealistic standards for what we are supposed to look like, at the end of the day it is important to remember that what matters most is how we see ourselves and to strive to love ourselves as we are.



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