AN is a condition that seems to be one thing for the person inside but looks like a totally different thing for someone observing. Decades of misconception and conflicting advice about AN is neither helpful nor useful for parents in desperate need to get help for their loved one with AN. The genetic and biological underpinning of AN is not well documented or publicized.
Two common elements that should be highlighted and seem that have been attested to by experts and sufferers are:
- people with AN typically have high achieving personality traits
- weight loss (measured in Body Mass Index, BMI) falling to a certain level*
Having the understanding that weight loss is a triggering factor, a person with AN must realise that weight loss for any reason (may it be voluntary or involuntary) may lead to an out of control psychobiological spiral down.
It is quite common to blame the fashion industry’s size zero promotion for the prevalence of AN. The modern society’s pursuit of thinness and active life does not cause AN. However, western culture seems to provides a conducive environment for a person with AN to succumb to the condition all but unnoticed by people around them until AN becomes physically evident and at a near death level.
EitRF.org aims to make a difference by empowering people with genetically predisposed AN with a healthy perspective based on facts and knowledge of the complete picture of AN:
Once AN is triggered by weight loss, a person with AN should stop denying that there is a problem and start the recovery process (gaining weight and acceptance of the condition, valueing the high-achieving personality traits often associated with the person with AN).
*DSM IV criteria includes BMI below 15% expected normal level – see About Us> (below Our Focus: DSM IV Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa)
** C.M. Bulik et al., Arch Gen Psychiatry 63, 305 (March 2006).