Anorexia Nervosa is a mental illness in which a person will starve him/herself in order to lose as much weight as possible because of the fear of gaining weight. They believe that they are overweight even when their weight is so low that their health is in danger and they may die from starvation because an anorexic will severely restrict food intake and become extremely thin. Since thinness has become a primary measure of attractiveness, anorexia nervosa has become much more common in modern western societies. More then 90% of the cases reported are female and about .5% to 1% of young women in the United States have the illness.
The symptoms of anorexia nervosa range from psychological to behavioral. Anorexics are preoccupied with food, weight, dieting, and body image. They are obsessed with becoming thinner, regardless of their actual weight. Most anorexics actually become unaware of sensations such as hunger and fullness.
They may practice intense exercise and weigh themselves all the time. At meals, anorexics hide their illness from others by cutting their food into tiny pieces and eating very slowly. Anorexics often share certain personality changes, such as perfectionism, introversion, low self-esteem, difficulty expressing emotions, and a need for control. After a while, they can experience depression, irritability, problems with sleeping, lack of sexual interest and they may exclude themselves from family and friends.
About 30% of people with anorexia nervosa also develop another eating disorder, bulimia nervosa. This type of eating disorder is where a person goes through periods of binging and purging. Binging is consuming large amounts of food in a short time and purging is getting rid of the food from their bodies by vomiting or using laxatives. About 35% of people with anorexia nervosa also have obsessive-compulsive disorder. In this disorder, a person...