Anorexia is one of several eating disorders that affects approximately 90% are women between the ages of 12 to 25. However, anorexia can occur later in adulthood, not just when a person is young. Although it is commonly thought that anorexia affects Caucasian women, anorexia nervosa affects people regardless of sex or ethnicity. Boys and men make up approximately 5-15% of anorexic cases Although the cause of anorexia is still unknown, some doctors think that certain factors may contribute to the development of the condition. These factors include:
Age - People in their teens and early adulthood are more at risk of becoming anorexic than older people.
Genetics - Having a family member with an eating disorder is linked to a higher probability of another blood-related family member having anorexia, or other eating disorder.
Emotional disorders - People diagnosed with emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression may be more likely than others to developing anorexia.
Gender - Women are far more likely than men to develop anorexia, although this eating disorder still does affect men (and may be connected to or result in steroid abuse).
Societal factors - Unrealistic social ideals of body type may influence the development of anorexia. Teasing can also occur from peer groups. Also, people may feel pressure to lose weight in order to compete within certain sports or artistic activities; comments from coaches or mentors, even if well-intentioned, may persuade someone that more drastic action is needed in order to remain competitive. Media stereotypes that equate thin with successful put extra pressure for people to emulate 'successful' behaviour.
Stress - Stressors that accompany major life changes, especially those during teenage and early adulthood years, may trigger anorexic behaviour.
It's important to be able to understand the differences between trying to safely lose weight to be within a healthy weight range, and the more serious consequences of anorexia. How can you know if someone you know is displaying signs of anorexia? To learn more, read here for more on the signs of anorexia.
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