Society demands a perfect body. One cannot afford to be too thin, too fat, have acne or hyperpigmentation on their face, have less or more hair. A Barbie doll is what the society wants, and the people of it strive hard to gain a perfect look which leads to eating disorders that are extremely dangerous and have tremendous brutal consequences mentally and physically—one of the most common ones being anorexia nervosa that begins during puberty.
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Anorexia Nervosa- A Psychological Disorder
Those suffering from this eating disorder consume very restrictive and limited quantities of food which then leads to starvation. It is a psychological disorder but affects physical health immensely.
Those affected by this disorder become very thin and malnourished, but they still perceive themselves to be overweight. They end up becoming so malnourished that they have to be hospitalized for days.
Sub-types and Consequences of Anorexia Nervosa
There are mainly two subtypes of anorexia. One being bulimia which is continuous bingeing or purging where a person eats and then forcefully or deliberately vomits all the food intake. The other subtype includes a strict restriction on food and calories. The long-term consequences of anorexia are extremely dangerous and harmful to one’s life.
Those who are affected by this particular eating disorder are very much concerned about food and weight. They might develop particular eating ways or rituals, for instance, refusing or not eating in front of other people, or trying their best to arrange the food on their plate in a different disciplined way.
Those affected also collect many cookbooks and prepare delicious meals for their friends and families, but they never indulge in eating with them. There is no single cause for anorexia; however, if a person in the family is suffering from an eating disorder, then the other members in the family are most likely to follow in their footsteps. Thus, it can be hereditary. Also, it can be triggered due to psychological, environmental, and societal factors.
People who have this disorder believe that they would be better off being the thinner version of themselves.
The long- term consequences of Anorexia Nervosa
The long-term consequences of anorexia nervosa are extremely dangerous. Although it is not a physical disorder, it affects every organ in the body and kills the person, leading to death.
This is usually associated with an aggressive form of cancer where, even before it is apparent and can be seen, it starts to eat up all the different parts of the body. According to facts, this disorder has the highest mortality rate of every and all mental disorders.
People suffering from anorexia nervosa will eventually die from it, but there are chances of recovery, there is hope! The longer an individual suffers from anorexia, the greater the risk of them dying. Anorexic adolescents are open to being diagnosed with other mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. They are suicidal as well.
Immediate Physical Changes
The immediate signs of physical changes are constipation, dizziness, abdominal pains, poor circulation of blood, resulting in feeling cold constantly, muscle weakness, yellow, dry, and coloured skin.
Bloating and early morning waking are some of the most common signs showing that the anorexic individual is suffering from this eating disorder. They also have disrupted menstrual cycles, and they tend to have hair all over their body.
Mostly the long-term effects of this particular disorder end in killing lives. The brain actually shrinks over time due to lack of nutrition as the person who is suffering does not eat anything regularly. Also, their IQ levels are extremely low.
In case the disorder occurs during the adolescent age, the overtime consequences show that the person suffers as the skeletal system starts to fall apart and damage.
Anorexic Boys and Women
90% of women that have anorexia face loss of bone calcium and 40% witness loss of advanced bone density. Also, in the long run, bone loss becomes permanent. As there is a lot of starvation that happens, infertility issues often arise that stay forever.
Anorexic boys also face stunted growth due to this disorder, and their testosterone levels start falling as they start to lose weight. There can be chances of weight production, but this will not help in the entire growth of the person.
Due to extreme starvation, one of the most common diseases that can occur is usually with blood, anaemia. When the disorder becomes extreme, the bone marrow stops the production of blood cells, and this can be life-threatening.
One of the most important organs in the entire body is the heart. However, this disease does not let the heart win either. Most people facing anorexia are diagnosed with heart disease due to muscle deterioration. The body has nothing it can live on as there is no food intake. Thus the body starts to eat itself, muscle by muscle, and finally, nothing remains in the end.
An anorexic person is not affected individually, but a person diagnosed with anorexia suffers from relationship issues. This disease spreads and affects everyone surrounding the anorexic person and often leads to breakups and broken hearts. If not destroyed, these relationships are negatively impacted to a great extent.
A woman continues to lose weight, and every time she does, she changes. She becomes extremely obsessed with food and weight. She moves on to isolating herself and quickly loses interest in normal life and daily activities. An anorexic individual completely transforms themselves into a totally different person.
Friendship, relationship, families, and marriage usually fall apart as the anorexic person changes, so does the relationship as it withers away or remains in total self-destruction, frustration, and fear.
Anorexic individuals also suffer extreme neurological problems such as seizures, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet, and disordered thinking. The brain goes through various abnormal changes during this disorder.
The Digestive System
As this disorder associates itself with food and weight, it also connects itself with the digestive system and puts a lot of stress on it as well. Anorexic people face stomach bloating and constipation regularly.
The body’s organs, not only the heart, simply stop working. Hormonal changes that come as an extra package with this particular disease can cause severe health consequences. Thyroid levels do drop, but stress hormones increase.
In extreme cases, even after the restoration of food and calories, the menstrual cycle will not return to normal. Among those who have type one diabetes, low blood sugar levels are a major risk.
There is hope; there is good news. If the person goes back to weighing their normal weight, then there are chances of recovery. The main focus has to be on weight restoration. Yes, the world wants a perfect body, and yes, we strive hard for it. But in the end, is it actually worth it? Giving your life for something that is not permanent is what you’re worth? Think about it.