Anorexia nervosa is one of the most prevalent and dangerous eating disorders known to man. It is known to many in that it is characterized by the sufferer refusing to eat and losing extreme amounts of weight until they often resemble nothing more than a skin covered skeleton which can often lead to death in the most severe cases.
The stages of anorexia can be different for different people but they all follow a similar pattern in that the symptoms and effects worsened as time progresses. Anorexia nervosa is a treatable disorder, but there is no known specific cure. It is important to note the different stages listed below and their characteristics so that you can begin to identify if you or someone you know is suffering from this condition. In either case, seek treatment immediately so that the condition does not worsen.
Stage Two occurs when the individual begins obsessing not only about exercise, but food as well. This can be constantly talking about what they had to eat or how long it's been since they had their last meal.
Stage Three is often characterized by the sufferer obsessing about trying to eat the fewest calories possible in order to still have energy to exercise and lose additional weight. This may be weeks or months and actually having the disorder and physical characteristics such as looking gaunt or pale or having circles below the eyes may exist.
Stage Four may be recognized as the person begins obsessing about their appearance in the mirror in a very public way. This may be pulling up their shirt to see how many of the ribs they can visibly count, or looking at their back to see if their spine or other bones are showing. Many people work to keep this condition private so friends and family may never witnessed this personally.
Stage Five shows just how much of a downward spiral can occur because of this harmful disorder. As anorexia progresses, one of the symptoms is that the sufferer will begin to gauge how many days they can go without eating before they faint. At this stage, fainting is common. Friends and family should certainly take notice and begin to seek treatment for this individual immediately. At this stage, the disorder has truly taken hold and the ones suffering may be completely helpless to do anything about it.
Stage Six and beyond simply sees the downward spiral continue, often at a rapid pace. Fainting spells, bloody noses, incredibly thin physiques, and extreme lack of energy are common characteristics of later stage anorexia.
Please keep in mind that the above stages are guidelines and indicative of many, but not all sufferers of anorexia. The most important thing to look for is long-term weight loss coupled with obsessive behaviors about exercise and food. It is extremely important that if you think you or someone you love may be suffering, seek treatment immediately. Anorexia kills, don't let this happen to you or anyone you know.