Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that occurs when a person is unrealistically concerned about being overweight or feels an overwhelming need to be so thin that in either case she/he eats so little she/he becomes malnourished. Anorexia nervosa is a disease with both physical and psychological components. Its victims can literally starve themselves to death. Others may suffer from cardiac arrest as a result of malnutrition, while still others commit suicide ("Anorexia 211, 213).
There are two types of anorexia nervosa: restricting and binge-eating/purging subtypes. Restricting subtype anorexics strictly limit food intake and may engage in driven, excessive exercise. Binge-eating/purging subtype anorexics may engage in self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives or enemas and also may experience episodes of binge-eating ("Anorexia 211).
Anorexia nervosa tends to occur in adolescence, but can develop at any life change. It predominately affects adolescent girls, although it can also occur in men and older women. Conservative estimates suggest that ½-1% of females in the