Anorexia is a serious eating disorder and this guide isn’t designed to teach you how to become anorexic. Instead, it is designed to help you recognize the warning signs of anorexia in yourself and in others.
People who suffer from anorexia deserve compassion, proper medical care and psychological counselling. Anorexia provokes a lot of emotional turmoil, along with an array of health issues which may even be fatal.
The sooner a person with anorexia gets the help that he or she needs, the better…
Now, let’s talk about what Anorexia (which is also known as Anorexia Nervosa) is. Once we’ve defined the disorder, we’ll look at its warning signs…
What Does Anorexic Mean?
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which is triggered by psychological problems. It is sometimes life-threatening and it’s characterized by very low body weight in relation to height. People who suffer from Anorexia will embark on dieting with the goal of extreme weight loss. This weight loss is typically not necessary.
As well, Anorexia sufferers will have an illogical fear of putting on weight. In addition, sufferers will not perceive their bodies and self-images accurately.
Those who have this disorder are typically fixated on being slim. They adopt eating patterns which are abnormal in order to achieve their weight loss goals.
If you know someone who starves him or herself and seems to lack a normal appetite, you should be concerned for that person. The person may already be too thin or may be losing weight rapidly.
There are many articles on this site which help people to understand whether or not they are at risk (or whether or not people that they care about are at risk). For example, you should be able to find an Anorexia quiz online. Answering the questions or your own behalf, or guessing how another person would answer the questions, may be very enlightening.
Does Society Promote Anorexia?
Unfortunately, we live in a world where society often rewards people for starving themselves. When considering how to become anorexic, it’s important to look at the value that society assigns to low body weight. Does society’s beauty ideal (or ideal for handsomeness in men) set the stage for this eating disorder?
Fashion models and actresses set themselves apart from typical women by being thinner than average. They are rewarded with money, fame and admiration. Male actors and models are also typically much leaner than average. They too are rewarded for their slim bodies.
The next time that you compliment someone on rapid weight loss, bear in mind that you are assigning value to thinness and rewarding thinness. You are focusing on the person’s shell, rather than who they are inside. It’s always possible that the person you’re complimenting is taking extreme and unhealthy measures in order to lose weight!
Distorted Body Image is a Bad Sign
People progress to anorexia. They learn how to become anorexic because they don’t see their reflections in full-length mirrors in a realistic way…and want to change what they see!
A disturbed body image is therefore a precursor of Anorexia, as well as a feature of Anorexia.
It’s possible that disturbed body image is the primary reason why Anorexia Nervosa develops. Many experts feel that this is the case. Deep-seated psychological issues may lead to disturbed body image. In this sense, people may learn how to become anorexic in childhood.
They learn to put too much emphasis on their outward image. This may be the result of psychological trauma. They may focus on body image in order to feel in control, as they feel that they have little control over anything else.
If you know someone who feels that they are much heavier than they really are, and this person seems to have obsessional thoughts about weight and body image, it will be wise to reach out to that person. Help is out there.
How to Help An Anorexic Person
Offering support which is free of judgment is important. If you notice the warning signs that we’ve talked about here and feel that a person that you care about is learning how to become anorexic, the best strategy is to talk to the person about your concerns.
Indicate that you are worried and that the person is important to you. Show love, hope and kindness.
Then, offer to help in any way that you can.
A person with this eating disorder lives with a lot of obsession, anxiety and emotional pain. As well, the person may have fears about being confronted over unhealthy eating habits and noticeable weight loss. With this in mind, the best approach is to gently broach the topic with the person.
Let the person know that combination treatment, which includes medical supervision and psychological therapy, is hugely helpful, especially when it begins early. There are also outpatient and residential programs at rehab centers which allow anorexia sufferers to access incredible support from skilled and experienced medical personnel and psychologists. These programs offer intensive treatment.
Do You Have the Symptoms?
If you see the signs and symptoms of anorexia in yourself, please talk to a doctor. It’s hard to get over this eating disorder alone. It’s a time to reach out and lean on others.
You can get better. You must focus on yourself and surround yourself with people who are committed to helping you. If you don’t have a good support system, look for resources in your community. Your doctor will be able to point you towards the right services.
When you find the courage to ask for help, a brighter future will be on the horizon.