Most individuals try dieting once for a variety of reasons, such as out of medical necessity, in an effort to eat healthier, or trying to maintain a healthy weight. On the other hand, eating disorders are severe mental illnesses. They are not a simple lifestyle choice for an individual or a diet taken a little bit too far for a short period. All eating disorders are associated with a significant increase in physical complications and mortality. Some reports even claim the mortality rate for those suffering from an eating disorder is the highest among all psychiatric illnesses. Whatever the case may be, understanding at least the basics of all of the different types of eating disorders is the first step in identifying them and being in a better position to treat them or find support for loved ones afflicted with them.
Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is characterized by weight loss or a lack of healthy weight gain in growing children, and issues in an individual who are trying to maintain a healthy weight for their height, age, or stature, as well as a distorted body image. Patients with anorexia nervosa significantly restrict the calories and types of food they eat. Though anyone can be affected, anorexia most frequently first appears during adolescence and women are more at risk of developing it. While anorexia is associated with severe underweight individuals, someone with a larger body can still suffer from anorexia.
Emotional and behavioral symptoms include dramatic weight loss, dressing in layers or baggy clothing to hide the body, frequently commenting on feeling fat despite weight loss, refusing to say they are hungry, avoiding situations involving food, and having an intense preoccupation with weight, food, calories, and fat. Some physical symptoms are fainting or dizziness, always feeling cold, stomach cramps, acid reflux, anemia, irregularities in the menstrual cycle, enamel erosion, dry and brittle nails, fine hair on the body, thinning hair, yellow skin, and cold and mottled hands and feet.