There are many types of eating disorders. One common eating disorder is anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder that is characterized by the behavior of not eating. There are theories about the causes of anorexia, but no one knows for sure why some people develop it. Some people develop anorexia after they begin dieting. This dieting turns people from a desire to be skinny toward a desire to have control over a specific aspect of their lives. Some people believe there may be a genetic link that makes a person more likely to develop anorexia if there are environmental factors in place. These possible causes of anorexia may include perfectionism, outside pressure to succeed, childhood abuse or maternal depression.

In order to better understand the causes of anorexia, we must begin by educating ourselves about the criteria used to diagnosis this disorder. Knowing the physical and emotional complications can also make it easier to help yourself or someone else recover from anorexia. If someone you know has anorexia, it is important to be a source of support to him or her.

As anorexia is a mental health disorder, there is a set criterion for diagnosis developed by the writers of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for Mental Health. Below are the criteria that can lead to a diagnosis of anorexia.

1. A person will not maintain a healthy body weight
2. The fear of gaining weight is present in someone who is underweight.
3. A person will not acknowledge the weight that has been lost, or has a disrupted view of their appearance.
4. A person may repeatedly miss their menstrual cycle.

Along with physical complications, a person with anorexia can also have emotional complications. People who are seriously underweight, or are overly concerned with people seeing them as overweight, can become socially isolated. This can lead to severe depression. In regards to food, people with anorexia can have obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. When someone is not eating on a regular basis, they can become extremely irritable. A person with a diagnosis of anorexia will often experience problems with maintaining attention in certain situations.

The medical conditions associated with anorexia are all primarily due to starvation. Affected areas include the heart and circulatory system, the gastrointestinal and endocrine systems, and the kidneys. Loss of bone density can also occur. Anorexia is even more detrimental to young girls as this is the time when bone density strengthens. People with anorexia are very susceptible to anemia as well.

If you have a loved one who suffers from anorexia it is important to be there as a support system to them. Understand that they may or may not be ready to receive help at this time. By letting them know that you are there for them, they will come to you when they are ready. Be educated about the various treatments and acceptable diets that can be used to help those with anorexia.

Author's Bio: 

The above article is based on the book, "Winning Overeating" by Ofira Shaul. Ofira is a Naturopathy doctor. This experiential, self-development leader has devoted her life to finding the best natural way to obtain permanent weight loss while improving the total quality of your life. Her all-natural program does not require you to use any pills, count calories, or starve yourself.

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