Dangers of Anorexia NervosaWho doesn't want to look good? Lean waist, thin arms, and thighs — but what happens when being thin becomes an obsession and takes over your eating habits? You may develop anorexia.

Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is an eating disorder that affects women and men of all ages. It is characterized by a distorted body image, extreme fear of weight gain, and acutely low body weight.

The signs and symptoms of anorexia

The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are similar to starvation, but it also includes emotional and behavior issues. People with anorexia are good at hiding their habits, so it's difficult for friends and family members to spot that there's something wrong. 

If you think your loved one needs treatment for anorexia nervosa, then take note of the following:

  • Physical symptoms

    • Excessive weight loss
    • Fatigue
    • Insomnia
    • Bluish fingers
    • Hair loss or hair that breaks easily
    • Constipation
    • Absence of menstruation
    • Dry, yellowish Skin
    • Low blood pressure
    • Dehydration
    • Osteoporosis
    • Swelling arms and legs
    • Cold intolerance
  • Emotional and behavioral symptoms

    • Refusing to eat
    • Denying that they are hungry
    • Irrational fear of gaining weight
    • Not showing any emotion
    • Irritable
    • Depression
    • Social withdrawal
    • Suicidal thoughts

Purging signs and symptoms

It's not uncommon for people with anorexia to purge whatever they have eaten. These are only some of the methods they do:

  • Using laxatives, enemas, diet aids or herbal products
  • Self-induced vomiting
  • Excessive dieting and exercise

Causes of anorexia nervosa

Although there is no simple answer to what causes anorexia, society's perception that thin girls are beautiful is deeply affecting young girls. Peer pressure, family environment, low self-esteem, and a traumatic experience from the past also plays a big role.

The road to recovery is not an easy one. The first step is to admit that there is a problem and seek proper help. Treatment requires a mix of psychological therapy and supervised weight gain. Prolonged exposure to this eating disorder can lead to serious complications, especially if you've already lost a lot of weight.