What is Anorexia?

Those who are suffering with this illness have a low self-esteem and often a tremendous need to control their surroundings and emotions. The Eating Disorder, Anorexia, is a unique reaction to a variety of external and internal conflicts, such as stress, anxiety, unhappiness and feeling like life is out of control. Anorexia is a negative way to cope with these emotions. New research indicates that for a percentage of sufferers, a genetic predisposition may play a role in a sensitivity to develop Anorexia, with environmental factors being the trigger.

The person suffering with Anorexia may be abnormally sensitive about being perceived as fat, or have a massive fear of becoming fat — though not all people living with Anorexia have this fear. They may be afraid of losing control over the amount of food they eat, accompanied by the desire to control their emotions and reactions to

their emotions. With a low self-esteem and need for acceptance they will turn to obsessive dieting and starvation as a way to control not only their weight, but their feelings and actions regarding the emotions attached. Some also feel that they do not deserve pleasure out of life, and will deprive themselves of situations offering pleasure (including eating).

Some of the behavioral signs can be: obsessive exercise, calorie and fat gram counting, starvation and restriction of food, self-induced
vomiting, the use of diet pills, laxatives or diuretics to attempt controlling weight, and a persistent concern with body image. See Also, Signs and Symptoms. It is not uncommon for people suffering with Anorexia to waver through periods of Bulimia (binging and purging) as well.

It is important to point out that there can be a number of ways a person suffering from Anorexia can portray their disorder. The inherent trait of a person suffering Anorexia is to attempt to maintain strict control over food intake. In a number of cases a man or woman suffering will seem to eat normal meals with only periods of restriction. Anorexics are sometimes known to eat junk food, particularly candy, to drink a lot of coffee or tea, and/or to smoke. They may deny hunger, make excuses to avoid eating, will often hide food they claim to have eaten, use diet pills to control appetite, or attempt to purge the food away with self-induced vomiting, or by taking laxatives.

There are many similarities in both illnesses, the most common being the cause. There seems to be a common occurrence of sexual and/or physical and emotional abuse in direct relation to eating disorders (though not all people living with Eating Disorders are survivors of abuse). There also seems to be a direct connection in some people to clinical Depression. The eating disorder sometimes causes the depression or the depression can lead to the eating disorder. All in all, eating disorders are very complex emotional issues — Though they may seem to be nothing more than a dangerously obsessive weight concern on the surface, for most men and women suffering with an eating disorder there are deeper emotional conflicts to be resolved.