Anorexia, a potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss, has seen a threefold increase over the past 40 years among women in their 20s and 30s. The percentage of teens afflicted has remained about the same with the exception of male teens. Whereas males used to represent only 5% of the ED population, they now represent closer to 10% and are over-represented among wrestlers, professional ice-skaters, jockey’s and the male homosexual population.
Anorexia is usually characterized by resistance to maintaining a body weight sufficient for normal functioning and/or for survival. In a small proportion of cases, the individual is not resisting weight gain, nor is she consciously trying to lose weight. Instead she is simply unable to eat enough to maintain a normal weight as a result of excessive anxiety. The eating disorder for this relatively small group develops partly as a result of a defense mechanism called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which drives her to restrict more and more in order to control the number of calories she is ingesting. Eating less and less becomes an obsession. Unlike the majority of Anorexics, whose goal it is to loose weight, her goal is to control her calorie intake. Obviously, the outcome is the same, but it is important to understand the difference, otherwise she will be mislabeled and may end up being or feeling mistreated.
In most cases, the fear of weight gain or being “fat” is so intense that the individual consciously restricts to achieve a lower and lower weight. For such individuals, the number is never low enough. Suffers grossly distort the shape of her body, believing that she is “fat” in the face of deathly thinness. This condition is known as body dysmorphia and is a common symptom. In terms of personality, the anorexic tends to be a perfectionist, judging others and herself harshly.
*Dramatic or persistent steady weight loss.
*Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, fat grams, and/or dieting.
*Refusal to eat certain foods, progressing to severe food restrictions.
*Frequent comments about feeling “fat” or overweight despite weight loss.
*Denial of hunger.
*Development of food rituals.
*Consistent excuses to avoid mealtimes or situations involving food.
*Excessive, rigid exercise regimen-despite weather, fatigue, illness, or injury.
*Withdrawal from friends and activities.
*Life revolves around weight loss, dieting, and control of food.
If you are looking for anorexia treatment in Cincinnati for yourself or a loved one, there is help available! Call 513-300-8042 to set up a consultation with me!
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