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The main eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, involves extreme weight loss as a result of very strict dieting. The cause is a strong belief held by the patient that they are fat (despite their extreme thinness), and become terrified of putting on weight. One in 100 16-18 year olds has anorexia, with it being much more common in girls than boys.

The consequences of starving oneself are serious; three in ten have major long-term illnesses after their anorexia, and if left untreated about 15 per cent of all sufferers will die from the disorder within 20 years of its onset.

Anorexia can be triggered by difficult life experiences, and by our celebrity culture with its emphasis on body shape. Treatment includes psychotherapy and in extreme cases, hospitalization may be required. Because of its harmful effects on young people, it is important to increase education and awareness of the problems that anorexia can cause later in life.

Source; Adapted from The Royal Society of Psychiatrists

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