Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental health condition. It's an eating disorder where a person keeps their bodyweight as low as possible. People with anorexia usually do this by restricting the amount of food they eat. They may also make themselves vomit and/or exercising excessively. There are two sub-types of anorexia nervosa: restricting type and binge/purge type. The standard criteria for diagnosing anorexia are:

  • The patient's refusal to maintain a bodyweight normal for age and height
  • Intense fear of becoming fat even though underweight
  • A distorted self-image that results in diminished self-confidence

The condition can develop out of an anxiety about body shape and weight that originates from a fear of being fat or a desire to be thin. However, it is a very complex illness, and there may be several factors contributing to the development of anorexia. Many people with anorexia have a distorted image of themselves, thinking they're fat when they're not.

Anorexia most commonly affects girls and women, although it has become more common in boys and men in recent years. On average, the condition first develops at around the age of 16 to 17, though anyone at any age can suffer.

Health hazards of starvation

  • Severe weight loss
  • A growth of downy hair across the body
  • Hair loss
  • Visual difficulties
  • A drop in body temperature which might cause your hands and feet to turn blue
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Dizzy episodes
  • Insomnia because the body cannot rest when its hungry.
  • Dry and flaky skin
  • Constipation
  • Water retention causing swelling in your hands and feet
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • A loss of bone density and risk of osteoporosis (bone thinning)
  • Anaemia caused by blood cells being produced too slowly
  • Depression from lack of nutrients
  • Lack of concentration due to a constant preoccupation with food and weight
  • Distorted body image

Excessive exercise

  • Dangerously low sugar levels can lead to coma and death
  • Bones are thin so can easily break
  • Muscles and joints can be damaged from increased strain
  • Destroys muscle and shape as your body eats its own flesh.