"My mission is to empower people of all ages, races, and body sizes to embrace the body they have been given and learn to love themselves so they can live their dreams."
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-Gabrielle Forleo, age twenty-six
Chopra Center for Wellbeing
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Anorexia Nervosa, or commonly just called anorexia, is a psychiatric and eating disorder that is marked by the obsessive compulsion to be thin, even to the point of self-starvation.
The standard criteria for diagnosing anorexia are:
Anorexia is often approached in a two ways. First is the extreme limiting of food intake and second is a binge/purge behavior or excessive exercising. Anorexia is a complex disorder, which manifests itself physically, psychologically and socially. Besides the physical aspects, other sub-factors may include extreme perfectionism, over-dependency, isolation, lack of sexual activity, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and mood disorders.
Women make up 95% of anorexia cases but there are an increasing number of men who are also being diagnosed. Anorexia usually develops in adolescence with the average age of onset being between 15-17 years old.
If left untreated, anorexia can have serious, life-threatening implications. Severe cases require hospitalization and on-going patient care but there are varying degrees of anorexia that can be addressed through other avenues. Regardless of the severity, overall treatment must focus on more than just weight gain. A team approach towards treatment addresses all aspects of the patient?s life.
Though anorexia has serious health implications when left untreated, it is encouraging to note that 50% of those who suffer from the disorder will recover without relapse or multiple treatments, if they receive appropriate treatment. There are a wide variety of treatment modalities that can aid in the success of recovery. Anorexia does not have to be a lifelong struggle. It can be overcome.
The National Association for Anorexia Nervosa and Associate Disorders