People who intentionally starve themselves suffer from an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa. The disorder, which usually begins in young people around the time of puberty, involves extreme weight loss -- at least 15 percent below the individual's normal body weight.
Those experiencing anorexia nervosa also have an intense fear of becoming fat, even though they are underweight. Many people with the disorder look emaciated but are convinced they are overweight.
Dangers of Anorexia
- Some people with anorexia may need be hospitalized to prevent starvation, yet they deny the condition.
- The illness also causes a woman's menstrual cycle to stop, a condition called amenorrhea.
- Men with anorexia often become impotent.
If you fall into any of these descriptions for eating disorders, do not hesitate to contact your physician or a counselor. If you have friends who might have an eating disorder, please encourage them to seek help -- you may save a life!
Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF, however, does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Food and Nutrition Information Center of the USDA. Accessed January 2009
National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed January 2009
Material taken from the National Women's Health Information Center. Accessed April 2013.