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Why is Anorexia for Weight Loss Unhealthy?

H. Lo
H. Lo

The use of anorexia for weight loss is an unhealthy choice because it can lead to serious physical and psychological health problems that are potentially irreversible. Anorexia, also called anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder in which a person continuously tries to lose weight through starvation, excessive exercising or other harmful means, such as vomiting or using laxatives. To an anorexic, no matter how much weight is lost, it is never enough. This is what makes anorexia for weight loss so dangerous and unhealthy. The human body needs food to function correctly, so anorexia can eventually lead to health problems that affect the entire body, from a person’s skin to his or her brain.

There are many different physical and psychological effects of anorexia. A person who is anorexic might have skin that is dry, flaky and yellow-tinged. In addition, he or she might feel cold all the time. Fine hair might grow all over the face and body, and the hair on top of the head might decrease. The hands and feet might become swollen, and the nails might become brittle.

Dizziness, fatigue, and the cessation of the menstrual period are some anorexia effects.
Dizziness, fatigue, and the cessation of the menstrual period are some anorexia effects.

An anorexic who frequently vomits might erode his or her dental enamel. This causes tooth decay or gum damage. The body might also suffer from problems with the heart, blood, bones and abdominal area. These problems can include a slow heartbeat, anemia, low blood pressure, bone loss, osteoporosis and kidney failure. Constipation, bloating, nausea, acid reflux and abdominal pain also can occur.

Anorexia can cause hair loss.
Anorexia can cause hair loss.

In females, anorexia can lead to the absence of a period. Males who have anorexia might have decreased testosterone levels. All of the problems associated with anorexia come from treating the body poorly through malnutrition and can make a person feel weak, faint, tired or dizzy. The psychological or mental effects of anorexia for weight loss can include depression, insomnia, mood swings, decreased attention span and thoughts of suicide.

Anorexia is one self-esteem disorder that is caused by a person's body image.
Anorexia is one self-esteem disorder that is caused by a person's body image.

It is important that a person with anorexia seek help because although some of the health problems that anorexia can cause are less severe than others, practicing anorexia for weight loss can also lead to death. Anorexia is treatable, but the longer a person stays anorexic, the harder the condition will be to treat. Treatment can be expensive and might require different types of health professionals because it is both a physical problem and a psychological problem. A doctor is needed to treat physical health problems, a dietitian is needed to help with nutritional and eating habits, and a counselor is needed to treat emotional or psychological problems.

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Discussion Comments

Fa5t3r

@clintflint - I think it's just reflective of our society at the moment that this kind of disease even exists. I'm sure it wouldn't be around in a culture where being as skinny as possible is considered to be ideal.

If you do know someone who suffers from this, try to convince them to see a doctor about it for blood tests, if nothing else. If their levels of particular nutrients fall too low, they can have serious consequences, up to and including death.

clintflint

@pastanaga - Anorexia isn't a weight loss fad though. People don't just start anorexia like a diet and then somehow get psychologically ill from the process.

They usually are depressed or anxious before they start obsessing about their weight and they try to gain control over their lives through their eating habits.

I think anorexia is taken too lightly and not very well understood by the public. It's not just about rapid weight loss through bad decisions. It's a disorder that completely takes over someone's life and even apart from the physical health issues, I'd call it unhealthy emotionally.

pastanaga

The thing is, anorexia isn't even effective. It's such a severe measure that your body goes into shock and tries to conserve as much fat as possible. So either you continue monitoring your weight for the rest of your life or you rebound and end up with more body weight than you had before.

If you want to know how to lose weight effectively, you have to basically just start living the way you expect to continue living forever. If that means eating 2000 calories per day, you shouldn't try to get under that so that you will lose weight quickly and with the expectation that you'll change your habits once the weight is gone.

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    • Dizziness, fatigue, and the cessation of the menstrual period are some anorexia effects.
      By: Valua Vitaly
      Dizziness, fatigue, and the cessation of the menstrual period are some anorexia effects.
    • Anorexia can cause hair loss.
      By: Barabas Attila
      Anorexia can cause hair loss.
    • Anorexia is one self-esteem disorder that is caused by a person's body image.
      By: trekandphoto
      Anorexia is one self-esteem disorder that is caused by a person's body image.
    • Excessive vomiting can cause negative physical side effects.
      By: lightwavemedia
      Excessive vomiting can cause negative physical side effects.