What Is Anorexia And Who Needs Anorexia Counseling?

Anorexia (or “anorexia nervosa”) is a potentially deadly eating disorder that has claimed the lives of thousands of young women over the past several decades. Characterized by severe weight loss, anorexics literally starve - as opposed to bulimics who overeat - themselves out of fear of becoming overweight.

Statistics regarding anorexia

Many people underestimate the prevalence of anorexia in our society. Yet the numbers are actually quite astounding. Consider the following information:

  • 90% of anorexics are women
  • The average age of anorexia onset is 17 years old
  • Anywhere from 1% to 5% of all adolescent and young women are believed to be anorexic
  • 20% of those individuals who have anorexia and do not receive treatment will die from the disease.

Who is at risk for anorexia?

Although anyone can develop an eating disorder, anorexia tends to strike women from higher socio-economic classes as well as those who are involved in industries where image and body mass are very important, such as: film and television, dance, modeling and gymnastics. Anorexia is especially prevalent among young women, who are at an age where they feel unsure about their own bodies and appearance.

The devastating consequences of anorexia

Those with anorexia starve themselves to death. These individuals will deprive their bodies of even the most basic of nutrients. The situation can be so bad, that even after seeking eating disorder counseling and checking into a hospital, many die while under a doctor’s care – their bodies simply unable to recover from the stress of continued starvation.

And even if death is not the end result, the lack of nutrition begins to take a toll on the body in a variety of ways. Other physical effects of anorexia include:

  • Hair loss
  • Fertility problems
  • Stunted growth
  • A variety of serious heart problems
  • Kidney failure
  • Symptoms of anorexia
  • Besides a significant drop in weight (over 15% below normal weight), there are several other symptoms associated with anorexia. These symptoms include:
  • Anxiety
  • Refusal to eat in front of others
  • Weakness or exhaustion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rough, coarse skin

Challenges of treating anorexia

The driving force behind anorexia is the individual’s belief that she is overweight – even if physical evidence suggests that just the opposite is true. Those who wish to help individuals with anorexia must understand how difficult it is to break away from this idea and become open to eating disorder treatment. Concerned family members and physicians alike will be met with great resistance and denial when approaching the individual with anorexia and confronting them about their disease. Education and caring are two of the most effective weapons in the battle against anorexia.

At Moonview Sanctuary, there is hope for those struggling with anorexia and their families. Through their groundbreaking Transformation Health Program, Moonview uses holistic practices and advanced neuroscience to help rebuild the self-esteem of the individual and help them carry through to a healthier, more stable life. Contact Moonview Sanctuary today if you, or someone you know is suffering from anorexia and needs a helping hand.

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