What is Anorexia and How Does it Work?


Anorexia is an eating disorder characterised by restricted eating and an intense fear of weight gain. People with this disorder often have a distorted body image and see themselves as overweight, even when they are not. The symptoms are serious and can have devastating physical consequences. Waiting won’t make the situation better – it can only worsen, so if you or someone you know sufferingf, you should seek help as soon as possible. Treatment for anorexia can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that recovery is possible. Read on to know more about it.

What is anorexia?

It is an eating disorder that can have severe physical and psychological consequences. It is a mental illness that causes people to obsess over their weight and the food they eat. People with anorexia may starve themselves or exercise excessively, leading to serious health problems. It is a complex disorder that is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors.

People with this disorder typically have a distorted view of their bodies, thinking they are overweight even when they are dangerously thin. They may see themselves as fat even when they are emaciated. This can lead to a relentless pursuit of thinness through dieting and other methods of weight loss.

Anorexia can have serious consequences, including death. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people with anorexia will die from the disorder, making it one of the deadliest mental illnesses. People with anorexia often suffer from other mental illnesses as well, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.

Causes of Anorexia

Several different factors can contribute to the development of anorexia. In some cases, it may be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

It is thought that anorexia may be partly due to genetic factors. If someone in your family has anorexia, you may be more likely to develop the condition yourself. For example, if someone has a close family member who has had an eating disorder, they may be more likely to develop anorexia themselves.

Environmental factors may also play a role. For example, if you are exposed to images of very thin people, or if you are under a lot of pressure to be thin, you may be more likely to develop this disorder. Additionally, people who have certain personality traits, such as perfectionism or a need for control, may also be more susceptible to developing the disorder.

Many psychological factors can contribute to the development of the disorder. For example, people who have low self-esteem or are constantly comparing themselves to others may be more likely to develop this disorder. Additionally, people who have experienced trauma or abuse in their life may also be more susceptible to developing an eating disorder.

Symptoms of Anorexia

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is characterised by extreme weight loss and an intense fear of gaining weight. People with this disorder often restrict their food intake, purge after meals, and exercise excessively. It can have a devastating impact on both physical and mental health.

Symptoms may include:

  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat: if you find yourself constantly worrying about and fearing gaining weight or becoming fat. It might be a warning sign.
  • Extremely restricted eating habits: if you find yourself restricting your eating habits too much for fear of getting fat, it may be a symptom of anorexia.
  • Excessive exercise: a person prone to anorexia may even start doing excessive exercise. This can seriously impact that person’s physical health.
  • Problems with body image: a person with anorexia will constantly have a negative image of their body in their mind. They will always feel like they’re not fit, and that they’re fat and gaining too much weight.
  • Amenorrhea: a person facing amenorrhea or loss of menstrual period may even be prone to getting anorexia. 
  • Abnormal blood pressure and heart rate: if you find yourself overthinking about your weight, your blood pressure and heart rate may go haywire. This could be a warning symptom.
  • Dry skin: even too dry skin might be a symptom that you have anorexia
  • Fatigue: feeling too fatigued or exhausted is another symptom of the eating disorder.
  • Brittle nails: if you find that your nails are turning brittle, understand that it may be a sign that you may have anorexia.

If you or someone you know shows any of these symptoms of anorexia, it’s important to seek professional help.

How Does Anorexia Work?

There are many different ways that anorexia can work, and it often depends on the individual. However, some general patterns tend to be seen in those with anorexia. For instance, people with this disorder often restrict their food intake and may become obsessed with calorie counting and the nutritional content of food, as well as exercising excessively to burn off calories. In some cases, people with this disorder may also purge after eating by vomiting or using laxatives.

Anorexia often starts as a way to lose weight or control one’s appearance, but it can quickly turn into an obsession. Once someone is caught in the cycle of anorexia, they may have a hard time breaking free. This is because the behaviour has become a way to cope with stress or other negative emotions. It can have serious physical and mental health consequences, so it’s important to get help if you or someone you know is struggling with this disorder.

Consequences and Risks Associated With Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that can have serious consequences and risks associated with it. 

Some of the risks associated with anorexia nervosa include:

  • Severe weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Kidney damage
  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle wasting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Anaemia

People with anorexia may try to lose weight by starving themselves, exercising excessively, or both, leading to severe malnutrition, dehydration, and in rare cases even death. People with this disorder may also suffer from other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Treatment of Anorexia

The most important aspect of treatment for anorexia is re-establishing a healthy body weight. This may require hospitalisation, depending on the severity of the condition. 

Inpatient treatment provides a structured environment with regular meals and snacks, as well as close medical supervision. Medications may be necessary to treat anxiety or depression.

Psychotherapy is an important part of treatment. It can help patients understand the thoughts and emotions that contribute to their disorder. It can also help them develop healthy coping skills and a positive body image. And also, can help patients understand and change the thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to their disorder. Family therapy may also be helpful. Treatment also focuses on helping the person develop a healthier relationship with food and their body. Therapy can help address the underlying psychological issues that contribute to anorexia.


Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that can have devastating effects on the sufferer’s health. It is characterised by an intense fear of gaining weight, severe restriction of food intake, and often leads to dangerously low body weight. While the exact cause of anorexia is unknown, it is thought to be a combination of genetic, psychological, and social factors. If you or someone you know may be suffering from this disorder, please seek professional help as soon as possible.