Anorexia is not a lifestyle choice, it is a mental illness that impedes you from eating the necessary amount of food that your body and your brain need. People who have anorexia nervosa have a deep-seeded fear of putting weight on and for this reason they eat very little, or nothing at all, thus putting their health and life at risk. Often, some people with anorexia also do a lot of exercise to burn off calories. Anorexia is a complex condition and cannot merely be treated by telling someone that they need to eat more, as usually the person knows that she has to eat more but her ‘terror’ of food does not let her eat.
Some people with anorexia do not feel they are thin and think they look fat, even though they look extremely underweight. Anorexia nervosa is more common in women than men and symptoms tend to develop during the teenage years, though in recent years, the illness has seen its onset even in women in their 30’s. In recent years there has also been an increase in the number of men and children, as young as eight years, developing the condition. What causes anorexia nervosa? There is no ‘one’ single cause of anorexia but it is a combination of factors that can often contribute to an individual developing the illness. Some people have personality traits that make them more likely to suffer from anorexia, such as those who are perfectionists, worriers and anxious, those who suffer from lack of confidence and low self esteem, those who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, and those who are extremely competitive.