Anorexia Nervosa is defined as an eating disorder characterised by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight and an obsessive fear of gaining weight. It is diagnosed using the DSM-IV or the ICD-10.
The prevalence of the Anorexia Nervosa in the general population is thought to be between 0.3%-0.9%.
A person with Anorexia Nervosa may exhibit a number of signs and symptoms, some of which are listed below.
Anorexia Nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, but rarely early intervention is given to a sufferer until they have reached a dangerously low weight, and physical complications become to occur.
Although Anorexia is often characterised by extremely low weight, this is the focus of the disorder, and is for most sufferers a mere "side effect", what harms the sufferer more is the mental aspects of the disorder; the constantly feeling inadequate and 'fat'. A person can be suffering from Anorexia without being dangerously emaciated.
"Anorexia took me to lengths I didn't even realise I could reach. It robbed me of my adolescence and my happiness. It told me that I was not good enough, and I never would be unless I lost a certain amount of weight, and even when I did that, it was never good enough. It turned me into a deceitful and lying girl, to my friends, my family, my loved ones, everyone. I thought that everyone was out to get me, they wanted to make me fat.
I have no come to realise that this is not true, my happiness is not determined by calories or a number on a scale, I can be made happy by the people who love me and the things I do. Anorexia still haunts my everyday, but I know I am now stronger to start fighting it, day by day, and I know that one day, I will be free, and I will never look back."
"For all my life I have been fairly shy and have had a low self esteem. Throughout my school-life, I felt the need to 'fit in', to morph into some completely different person to feel accepted. I overcame a lot of obstacles throughout my childhood and my early teenage years. Yet the biggest obstacle was the one that, in my eyes, was an outcome of my previous issues, an outcome of bottling up my emotions for years, and this obstacle? Anorexia. I was diagnosed with Anorexia when I was 14. It began as a diet, a diet that allowed me to gain back a bit of control in my life. Anorexia took the spark that I had in my eyes. It swallowed me up into a hell, into a routine of regimental, structured and obsessive darkness. I hated who I had become. I hated the fact I was letting the people who loved me down. Alongside my Anorexia, my doctor diagnosed me with depression. Though both my Anorexia and depression still haunts me, I am finally finding myself again. Beyond the tears, beyond the anger...I can see the 'old' me. I know I cannot fully return to that person, as this illness has changed me. But I want this experience to have affected me positively. I want to embrace my reflection, to love myself again, to smile and to be ultimately happy." edit.