The term anorexia literally means loss of appetite. However, it is now generally used to describe someone with an eating disorder in which they deny themselves food even when they are hungry.
People suffering from anorexia have an irrational fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image often perceiving that they are overweight.
There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate someone may be anorexic. These include dramatic weight loss, only eating low calorie foods, being pre-occupied with body shape and weight, avoiding eating with other people, being secretive about food and obsessively exercising.
Psychotherapy and Nutritional Therapy can both be helpful in restoring a healthy attitude towards food. Medical help may be needed in cases of severe dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Friends and family can help by offering love and support and by sourcing self help groups and therapists. Always consult with your GP or medical doctor as the first point of call.
For more information and support on Anorexia or eating disorders, visit www.eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040 (UK Telephone Number). You can also visit www.b-eat.co.uk where you may be able to find support. Always consult with your GP or medical doctor.