In order to fully understand anorexia and the individuals who suffer from this debilitating disorder, we first need to clear up some common misconceptions and myths frequently associated with the illness.
First of all anorexia is not limited to teenage girls. Although it is more common among them than any other age group, anorexia can affect both men and women regardless of their age. Young girls in their teenage years may be more susceptible to the disease simply because of all of the changes they are undergoing both physically and mentally.
Many women suffer from a lack of self esteem and anorexia may help them feel like they are more in control of their lives. In today’s very appearance conscious society, women are often very aware of their weight. In people with anorexia, their concern about their weight is overwhelming. Secondly, men who suffer from anorexia or any other eating disorder are not always gay. A person’s sexual orientation does not cause anorexia.
However, homosexual men may be more likely to suffer from this disorder than other men simply because they are more conscious of their appearance or they may use anorexia as a way of dealing with their sexual preference.
Since they cannot control their sexuality, they may feel more in control of their lives by taking control of their weight. Another common misconception about anorexia is that patients can never fully recover from the disorder.
This simply is not true. Although successful treatment often depends on the extent and length of time the condition has been present, many patients recover fully and do not suffer from frequent relapses.
One of the most important parts of treatment after successfully regaining lost weight is to deal with the emotional aspects of the disorder. Anorexia sufferers need to have counseling and support for a long period of time after they have recovered physically.
Those who recognize and understand the possible causes of this affliction are less likely to suffer from any type of eating disorder in the future. Both the body and the mind must recover from anorexia. Lastly, you cannot always tell by looking at a person if they suffer from anorexia.
Some people may be thin for other reasons not related to anorexia. Also, although patients with anorexia often are about 15 percent below the average body weight for a person their size and height, this is not always the case.
Even a person who is just ten pounds underweight can be suffering from anorexia. The illness may be in the early stages and not as easily recognizable by others. It is important for parents and family members to become involved if they feel a loved one may suffer from this disorder.
Although anorexia should be properly diagnosed by your physician, many times friends and family members are the first to notice the warning signs. Early treatment and recognition of this illness is important to prevent irreversible damage to the body.