Anorexia was an unfamiliar term for humanity not long ago, but it became a very common disease among women for a short time. At the end of the last century, there was a boom in the anorexics, which is usually attributed to the fashion industry. Indeed, there is hardly a woman who has never heard of Twiggy and the tragic end of her life. At the time, fashion companies were imposing on their models impossible parameters in which only one skeleton could enter, and we all know that many women and young girls are taking them for a model of female beauty. And while fashion has given rise to this huge wave of mass loss and completely changed the understanding of the female body globally, the causes of the disease are rooted elsewhere.
You may not find a particular connection between sex and anorexia, but they are deeply interconnected and give clarity about the origin of the disease and the possibilities of overcoming it. I say overcoming because anorexia is not just an organic disease, although it affects certain parts of the brain, but mentally, and should not be treated with chemical agents, as some scientists believe. Only concomitant diseases due to anorexia - endocrine, gastrointestinal, hormonal, etc. are subject to such treatment.
Let's first clarify: What's going on in an anorexic's head?
The reason why a woman sees herself fat and chubby while actually painfully weak is due to weak connections in the brain that impede normal perceptions. This conclusion was reached by neuropsychologist Boris Suchan, after a study at the Institute of Cognitive Neurology at Ruhr University. Together with a specialist group, he examines 10 patients with anorexia and 15 healthy women of the same age. Women should choose from a series of computer images of female body silhouettes the ones that most closely match their own. In this way, scientists have established the adequacy of their perception. The results show that healthy participants tend to perceive themselves as weaker than they really are, while all anorexics show the opposite trend. They define themselves as much more complete than they are.
The brain activity of all participants was evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging. The visual information that the eye perceives when looking at the images first enters the central occipital lobe of the brain. From there, information passes through and is processed in the spindle-shaped and extra-extratory region. The study shows that the relationship between these two areas in anorexia sufferers is significantly weaker than in healthy ones. In the brain of the anorexics, there are structural changes and a decreased concentration of nerve cells in the extrastriate region. In this way, the information perceived by the eye deforms and changes the perceptions of the person. The study sheds much light on the mechanisms of disease development, but it does not exhaust it completely. Because physiological processes do not reveal the psychological causes of the disease, namely, they have to be dealt with.
That is why clinical psychologist Katerina Mihailova wrote the book "Women, Sex and Anorexia" (Vesela Lyutskanova) to explain the complex causes of anorexia and why so many young girls become ill. K. Mihailova has worked for some time in a specialized center for the treatment of eating disorders in Switzerland, from which she draws her experience and the examples described in the book, through the lives of several girls. The author makes a historical overview of the development of the female image over the centuries, beginning with Eve and her predecessor Lilith. According to her, the woman was always oppressed and remained in the shadow of the man while he defined her role in society and imposed some restrictions. The woman has never been able to choose for herself what to do (and whether), how to think, create, etc. It was not until the 20th century that she achieved relative freedom and equality. The problem is that the woman does not know what to do with this freedom!
No one teaches a young girl what it is like to be a woman. And now if I asked this question to a group of women, they would find it difficult to answer. Society, various business organizations, advertising departments, television, etc. they impose some stereotypes, and the woman has forgotten to listen to her inner voice, which she knows better. The real problem, not only for anorexics, but for women in general today, is the identification and the fact that they forgot to be women.
This is exactly what psychologists in the Center, located near a large lake in the Middle Alps, emphasize. The program includes gait exercises, gymnastics and body care, group therapy, attention to clothing - replacing the wide blouses and tracksuits that hide the beauty of the female body, with skirts, dresses. And all this to make a woman feel again, because anorexia is actually a denial of womanhood and unwillingness to grow up. It is no accident that mostly young girls become ill. At the moment when the body begins to take on female forms, some girls do not take this as a normal process, they build up their own negative image of the woman (the woman as a cow, for example) and oppose everything feminine within themselves. And the first function that falls out of the body during anorexia is the monthly cycle, and then ovulation - those things that a woman does. The body cannot enjoy pleasure, its sensitivity is lost, and the desire for the opposite sex disappears.
Therefore, sex and anorexia are both sides of the balance, which must be balanced. Katerina Mihailova calls her book - "reading for beginner women and their mothers" and it really is. No matter what age she is, a woman today needs to remember what it is like to be a woman and to think about the future of those who are about to become one.