Anorexia is a common neuropsychological disorder with high incidence in the young population. Anorexia is not just an eating disorder, it also involves many addictive behaviors and the development of various phobias related to food and being fat. Anorexics develop inaccurate perceptions of their physical appearance, and they often see themselves as fat, regardless of how much they weigh. Anorexia is a very complex disorder caused by multiple interrelated factors. Although in the past, anorexia was thought to be a purely physiological disorder, recent studies have revealed that it occurs on the premises of neuropsychological dysfunctions. Certain environmental factors also play a major role in the development of anorexia, and the disorder seems to occur due to poor adaptation to the requirements and the ideals imposed by society.
In many cases, anorexia is developed by teenagers who come from very restrictive, demanding families. Children raised in a cold, insecure, non-functional familial environment are exposed to developing anorexia. Young people who originate from dysfunctional families often suffer from depression, emotional insecurity, and low self-esteem, features that can facilitate the development of anorexia or other types of eating disorders.
Despite its pronounced environmental valences, anorexia is not entirely a psychologically-induced disorder. Medical scientists also suspect certain genetic factors to contribute to the occurrence of anorexia. Various studies have revealed that most patients have a family history of the disorder, suggesting a pronounced hereditary character of anorexia.
Scientists believe that genetic predispositions to this disorder can be easily transmitted from one generation to another. Hence, people who have blood relatives with anorexia are also at risk of developing the disorder.
Although anorexia can occur in both sexes, the disorder has the highest incidence in the female gender. Anorexia is common in adolescents, but it can also affect very young children or adults. Even though the disorder can occur in virtually any ethnic group and culture, anorexia is a common problem in Western society. The high prevalence of anorexia among people who belong to well-developed socioeconomic groups confirms the pronounced influence of environmental factors in the development of the disorder. The excessively promoted topical ideals of beauty and the pressure exercised by modern society upon the young have a great contribution to the occurrence of the disorder in teenagers.
The categories of people exposed to the highest risk of developing anorexia are teenagers, athletes, people with carriers that require maintaining a slim body (models, actors, dancers), people with a family history of the disorder, people who come from dysfunctional families, and people with emotional problems (low-self esteem). Overweight children and teenagers are also very exposed to developing anorexia. People who suffer from anorexia may, in time, also develop bulimia, a similar type of eating disorder.
People who suffer from anorexia need help and support to overcome their condition. Although people with eating disorders need to show a lot of ambition and cooperation in the process, anorexia can be effectively overcome with psychiatric therapy.