Medically reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Shera.
How often do you find skinny people complaining about being fat? And then the first thought that crosses your mind after such a revelation is, ‘Wow what an ungrateful human!’. Many times, these individuals aren’t simply hungry for attention but suffering from eating disorders which are as serious as any other disease. Anorexia nervosa is one such eating disorder that is usually not considered as a disease. And the reason, as usual, is lack of knowledge.
How is being thin a disease?
You might find yourself asking the same question. While the whole world is killing themselves for ‘. figure, how is being thin a disease? The answer lies in the ‘. itself. A large number of people suffering from anorexia nervosa are under societal pressures. The unattainable beauty standards and the uber-cool Instagram profiles play a huge role in increasing the levels of stress, causing an intense fear of weight gain. As a result, these people restrict calories and always see themselves as overweight even though they are in fact, underweight.
Why is it alarming?
Consider a life without food. If a person who is eating less or not at all, they are of depriving themselves of nutrients that are necessary for survival. Because the nutrients in this condition are depleted to such alarming levels, they can result in grave consequences like abnormal heart rhythms.
Other complications can include:
- Loss of muscle tonicity
- Decreased testosterone in males
- Absence of period in females
- Bloating, abdominal cramps, and constipation
- Kidney problems
How does it present itself?
A person suffering from anorexia nervosa might show the following signs:
- Being underweight
- Hair thinning and hair fall
- Difficulty to sleep
- Generalized tiredness
- Low blood pressure
- Dry skin
- Decreased tolerance to cold
There might also be behavioral changes which include:
- Considering themselves as overweight, even though they are underweight
- Excessive exercise
- Fear of gaining weight
- Decreased social interaction
Bust those myths
There are a lot of misconceptions about eating disorders that change the overall perception of the disease. Here’s a list of a few:
1. You cannot die from anorexia
Yes, you can. People might switch to multivitamins to replace the nutrients that would otherwise come from food. However, they cannot prevent malnutrition just by taking multivitamins. Severe malnutrition can therefore be life threatening.
2. Anorexia is only a mind thing!
Anorexia nervosa is not always psychological. Yes, psychological impact forms a major role, but there can be other causes of the disease as well. These can include genetic and environmental factors.
3. Anorexia sufferers are always females
Even though majority of the sufferers are females, there are males who suffer from the disease as well. A pivotal part of treating anorexia is to know the psychological struggles a person might be dealing with. If you are dealing with anorexia it is important to tell yourself that nobody is perfect. In fact, our imperfections are what make us unique. And, as for people on the other side, be kind to all and say no to body shamming.
Guest Post Credits: Dr. Faryal Zaidi