Anorexia Nervosa


  • A body weight significantly lower than normal for age and height
  • Intense fear of becoming fat even though underweight
  • A distorted self-image and body image
  • Denial of the seriousness of emaciation and starvation
  • The loss of menstrual function for at least three months (in women who've begun menstruation)

Some of the behavioural signs of anorexia include excessive exercise, severe restriction of food, self-induced vomiting, the use of diet pills, laxatives or diuretics, and a persistent concern with body image. In many ways anorexia becomes part of a vicious cycle, since starvation itself actually brings on many of the symptoms (such as preoccupation with food, inability to think clearly, sleep, energy and mood disturbances, etc.) that are associated with the disorder.

Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of mental health disorders, leading to death for approximately 10 - 20% of those individuals who reach the diagnostic threshold for anorexia nervosa or bulimarexia (starvation combined with episodes of binging and purging).

One of the first challenges in starting on the path of recovery from anorexia is seeing it as a 'problem' at all. In many ways, our culture glorifies the very things anorexia takes to extreme: thinness, discipline and self-denial, demonstration of control of the mind over the body, etc. Aside from these ego-affirming attachments to anorexia, many people also find that anorexia helps them cope with experiencing a level of anxiety that would otherwise feel intolerable.

It takes courage, patience, and perseverance to loosen the hold that anorexia can have on one's life, but discovering the self that anorexia has obscured is well worth the effort.

The body says what words cannont.

- Martha Graham



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