Welcome to the 21st century, say Hi to our modern world, where great emphasis is overly placed on being slim, and thinness is grossly exaggerated and overhyped as being the quintessential characteristic of a good looking woman.
In professions such as modeling and dancing, keeping slim is now thought of as being paramount to improve one’s career prospects. Also, the incessant media frenzy portraying slim ladies as the ideal figure for contemporary women, has resulted in a psychological shift towards conforming to such standards. This has resulted in many ladies towing the path of stringent diet plans and rigorous exercises to meet up societal standards and achieve a sense of self-worth. Gradually, the dieting becomes more compelling, the victim continually eats less until the fear of putting on weight becomes an obsession. Psychologically, the individual may still think of herself as being overweight whereas the reverse is actually the case and the individual in reality is extremely starved. Thus, begins the onset of the condition; Anorexia Nervosa.
So What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body weight. An individual is suffering from severe Anorexia if the individual’s Body Mass Index is less than 15kg/m2.Anorexic individuals regularly skip or miss meals, obsessively count and monitor calories in food, become prone to taking appetite suppressants, regularly indulge in the intake of laxatives or diuretics. They also repeatedly weigh themselves or check out themselves in the mirror for any indication of fattening.
HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF ANOREXIA
Being anorexic triggers several health complications. Physically,the body tends to return to pre-adolescent stage such as the abrupt end of menstruation. Also, soft downy hairs may appear over the shoulder and over the edges of the face. Osteoporosis, sunken eyes,muscle wasting and emaciation are evident. There is also increased incidence of constipation, tooth decay,dizziness,low blood pressure and susceptibility to various infections. Psychologically, conditions like depression, extreme body dissatisfaction, and anxiety may arise. It could be fatal too, in severe cases.
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO ANOREXIA
Treating and managing anorexia nervosa may be long and arduous, nevertheless, recovery is achievable. The earlier the victim acknowledges she needs help and is willing to undergo professional guidance, counseling and therapy, the closer the individual is to full recovery. Improved dieting plans aimed at enhancing weight gain,restore normal eating and exercise habits are advised. Psychological treatments such as behavioural,cognitive analytic, and the maudsley family based therapies are also helpful in combating anorexia.
A health care professional who possesses specialized knowledge in eating disorders should be swiftly consulted if the glaring signs of one being anorexic is suspected .
Author: James Agu