One of the eating disorder is anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to simply as anorexia, characterized by: * self-imposed starvation * refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, * an obsessive fear of gaining weight, even when they are underweight * a distorted self image.
It is a serious mental illness with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder: by some estimates, it leads to death in 10% of cases. It can cause severe complications in every major organ system in the body and it can be irreversible. Experienced treatment programs have a good success rate in restoring normal weight, but it is common for the disease to return.
It can affect everybody but anorexia usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood. It is more common in females, but may also be seen in males. The disorder is seen mainly in Caucasian women who are high academic achievers and who have a goal-oriented family or personality.
2 types: * Restrictive type: Starvation * Type with bulimia or vomiting crises or taking of purgatives (use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics)
CAUSES = fin
The exact causes of anorexia nervosa are unknown. Many factors probably are involved. * The pressure from society and the media to be thin is thought to play a part. This is probably why anorexia is much more common in westernised countries. * Personality and family environment probably play a role too. People with anorexia often have poor self-esteem (not much self-confidence) and commonly feel that they have to be perfectionists. Often there are disturbed family relationships. All sorts of emotions, feelings and attitudes may contribute to causing anorexia. * There may be some genetic factor. We know this from studies of families with identical twins. If one twin has anorexia then the other has a 1 in 2 chance of getting it. This tells us that it has a tendency to run in some families and that the condition may have a genetic part. However,