The exact causes of anorexia nervosa are unclear, but most specialists believe it's likely to be the result of a combination of factors.
Many people who develop anorexia share certain personality and behavioural traits that may make them more likely to develop the condition. These include:
It's also been suggested some people with anorexia have an overwhelming fear (phobia) of being fat.
Puberty seems to be an important environmental factor contributing to anorexia. It may be the combination of hormonal changes and feelings of stress, anxiety and low self-esteemduring puberty that triggers anorexia.
Western culture and society may also play a part. Girls and, to a lesser extent, boysare exposed to a wide range of media messages that constantly reinforce theidea that being thin is beautiful.
Magazines and newspapers alsofocus on celebrities' minor physical imperfections, such as gaining a few pounds or having cellulite.
Other environmental factors that may contribute towards anorexia include:
Anorexia often starts off as a form of dieting that gradually gets out of control.
It's been suggested changes in brain functionor hormone levels may also have a role in anorexia, although it's not clear if these lead to anorexia orif they develop later as a result of malnutrition .
These changes may affect the part of the brainthat controls appetite, or may lead to feelings of anxiety and guilt when eating that improve when meals are missed or after excessiveexercise.
The risk of someone developing anorexia is also thought to be greater in people with a family history of eating disorders , depression, or substance misuse, which suggests genes could play a role.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition. It's an eating disorder where a person keeps their body weight as low as possible. Anorexia most commonly affects girls and women, although it has become more common in boys and men in recent years.
The main symptom of anorexia is deliberately losing a lot of weight, although there are often a number of other physical and psychological signs there's a problem.
The exact causes of anorexia nervosa are unclear, but most specialists believe it's likely to be the result of a combination of factors. Anorexia often starts off as a form of dieting that gradually gets out of control.
When trying to determine whether you have an eating disorder, your GP will probably ask questions about your weight and eating habits. In some cases, they may also check your BMI.
The treatment for anorexia nervosa usually involves a combination of psychological therapy and supervised weight gain. It's important for a person with anorexia to start treatment as early as possible.
If anorexia nervosa is not treated, the condition can lead to a number of serious health problems. Long-term anorexia can lead to severe complications and health problems, oftenas a result of Malnutrition .
At 21, Katie Metcalfe was starting a creative writing degree at Cumbria University but seven years before this her life was very different. My mum took me to the GP when my periods stopped, but they sent me home with a diet sheet.