Around one percent of the population is believed to suffer from anorexia, and it causes devastation to their lives and the lives of those around them. Sadly, it has one of thehighest death rates of any mental disorder as it is incredibly difficult to successfully treat.
Anorexia goes far beyond a normal desire to be thin; they have a very distorted perception of theirweight. Even when their body mass becomes dangerously low it is impossible for them to look in the mirror and see themselves as anything other than fat. Anorexia completely takes over the sufferer’s lifeand everything starts to revolve around losing weight. This will predominantly be restricting calorie intake to an excessive degree, but they may also take laxatives. A person with this disorder mayalso exercise to extremes which are particularly dangerous in light of the fact they are not receiving sufficient nutrients and protein to function normally.
Over time, the lack of food starts to haveserious effects on the body. Menstruation will stop, they will struggle to concentrate, downy hair grows over the body and bones become brittle. As the sufferer effectively starves themselves theheart is unable to function correctly and in extreme case of anorexia will eventually fail.
There is a strong correlation between certain personality traits and the likelihood of developing an eatingdisorder such as anorexia. Sufferers are usually intelligent, high flying achievers with a tendency towards being obsessed with perfectionism or routine. They are usually very introverted and may comefrom a family environment which is supportive of academic achievement but perhaps falls short when discussing emotional problems.
Combined with any traumatic life events such as a bereavement, stresssuch as imminent exams or personal problems such as being bullied, the person is at greater risk of developing anorexia. Because of the complex emotional issues involved when treating anorexia it is...