Roderick Thorp once said, “We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies.” Rather than accepting and loving their figures, eight million Americans each year hate and dread the image of their bodies daily, resulting in becoming their own worst enemies; Enemies due to a vicious, cruel mental illness known as Anorexia Nervosa. More than just an eating disorder, anorexia contains many depths, with several theories to its cause.
Many people think that anorexia nervosa is just an eating disorder, but in reality it is much more than that. One thing that numerous people do not know about anorexia is that there are two types, restricting and purging. Smith and Segal (2012) explained that, “In the restricting type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by restricting calories (following drastic diets, fasting, and exercising to excess). In the purging type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics.” People who have anorexia have an intense fear of gaining weight. They severely limit the amount of food they eat and can become dangerously thin (“Anorexia Nervosa- Topic Overview”, 2011). Many with anorexia have a distorted body image. A distorted body image is when one looks in the mirror and sees something different than what others see, mainly negative. For example, a person with anorexia will look into the mirror, seeing somebody ugly and obese, when in reality they are dangerously thin. Anorexia is more than just a problem with food [though] (“What is anorexia nervosa?” 2009). While most people think anorexia is a mere cause of an un-wanted body image, they do not truly know what causes each case. For instance, starving oneself could be used as a method to feel more in control of their life, ease tension, anger, or even anxiety. More than just an easily fixed eating disorder, anorexia involves many more mental and physical struggles, not easily erased.
There is no specific cause for anorexia, but it is believed to be caused by psychological, environmental, and biological factors. The first theory to the cause of anorexia is psychological. Most people who develop anorexia share certain psychological factors that help define their personality and, to some extent, their behavior (“Anorexia nervosa- Causes” 2012). Some of these things consist of depression, poor reaction to stress, excessive doubt about the future, and feelings of obsession compulsion. Obsession compulsion does not necessarily mean obsession compulsion disorder (OCD), but simply an obsession with an unwanted thought, such as being too “fat”. Perfectionism and inhibition are also psychological factors that may contribute to the cause of anorexia. Environmental factors are also involved in the causes of anorexia. Puberty seems to be an important environmental factor