Anorexia - Share Your Experience

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What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to simply as anorexia, is one type of eating disorder. More importantly, it is also a psychological disorder. Anorexia is a condition that goes beyond concern about obesity or out-of-control dieting. A person with anorexia often initially begins dieting to lose weight. Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is actually secondary to concerns about control and/or fears relating to one's body. The individual continues the ongoing cycle of restrictive eating, often accompanied by other behaviors such as excessive exercising or the overuse of diet pills to induce loss of appetite, and/or diuretics, laxatives, or enemas in order to reduce body weight, often to a point close to starvation in order to feel a sense of control over his or her body. This cycle becomes an obsession and, in this way, is similar to an addiction.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: embarrasedtohaveat43, 35-44 Female Published: May 08

I have had an eating disorder since I was 9 years old. My mother always said I was a little bit chunky and always dieted herself. When I started growing taller and stayed the same weight (appearing thinner), she started taking notice of me and showed me off to her friends. Before that, she'd ignore me and paid more attention to my brother. Guess what message this sent to an 11 year old? Then came my parents' divorce. Actually, I think my mother tried to kill me, as she would take away food as a punishment and blame my appearance on my thyroid condition. At school, I was taught by my best friend how to get a lunch pass without alerting parents telling school staff that you were poor. I got a free-lunch pass, ate my first meal, panicked and there was my friend showing me how to purge. She also showed me how to use laxatives and run to keep off the weight. My mother would weigh me before and after school, so my friend brought her scale and we weighed ourselves throughout the day. After losing lots of weight on my already-small frame, I got depressed, and this alerted the school nurses. My mother and stepfather wanted me to quit school. I told my school principal I'd kill myself if he allowed them to take me out of school it was my only sane salvation. With extra emphasis on threat, I brought in some sleeping pills to let him know I was serious. I was a straight-A student there was no way I was going to let this happen. I moved in with different relatives and was molested (this had started years before). Later, I started binge eating not purging like I used to and I put on weight because of my thyroid issues. Eventually, I had three children, but actually stopped binging during my pregnancies. I scared everyone when I fasted for two months, ran 12 miles a day, worked full-time, had a 2 year old, went to school full-time, made straight A's, and still managed to do my teaching practicum. Looking back, I don't know how I survived, as I lost nearly 100 pounds in those two months. A pharmacist friend gave me some medicine that was supposed to be for anxiety, but I put on 20 pounds so I fasted again and took off the weight. I went through yet another divorce, continued school, moved, and continued with the anorexia and bulimia until I got recovered. Recently, I've started binge eating again and have lost more than 50 pounds without hurting myself. I laugh it off and say to myself, You don't know what this (the disorder) is covering up. I'm writing this late at night. I am so embarrassed to say that I still have an eating disorder after 35 years.

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Comment from: Stayingstrong, 13-18 Female (Patient) Published: July 02

I began having an eating disorder when I was 14. I'm going to be 17 in two weeks and I still find myself sometimes struggling. I was anorexic/purge and restrictive type. I used to cut myself due to emotional issues I did not face. Last year, I went to treatment and now I have a new perspective of life. Although I still struggle sometimes, I find myself much, much happier. I am at a healthy goal weight and I no longer feel like I have to hurt myself. To girls with eating disorders or those who are thinking about purging, restricting, or cuttingIt may seem worth it now, but in the end, I can promise you it will be your biggest regret. It is a disease. Don't test the hands of fate. Seek help.

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