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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.
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.
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.
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.