Personality Profiles Associated With… | Counseling | Therapy

Personality Profiles Associated With Anorexia

Alex Robboy , CAS, MSW, ACSW, LCSW — Founder & executive director

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The Personality Profiles often associated with Anorexia Nervosa

While Anorexia Nervosa can affect anyone, eighty percent of all people suffering from Anorexia Nervosa are females between the ages of 12 and 30. Approximately, ninety to ninety five percent of people suffering from Anorexia are female and five to ten percent are male. While everyone is unique, people who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa have some commonalities.

Anorexia Nervosa: People with Anorexia Nervosa are usually persistent, conscientious, competitive and driven to succeed. They have a strong need for control. These same individuals have a poor sense of self and look for validation through their external achievements. They want to be the best athlete, the best student, and unfortunately the best Anorexic. They often feel terrible about perceived mistakes they believe they have made (socially, academically, etc…). They also tend to have a difficult time with change. People with Anorexia Nervosa tend to be obsessive, and self-critical. They often have much higher expectations of themselves than they do of others.

People with Anorexia are usually very conscientious and very good students. They usually continue to do well in school despite their struggle with the illness. However, because the illness affects concentration it often takes them a longer time to study and complete assignments. People with Anorexia are usually very bright, hard working, and are usually high achievers. The fact that young people with Anorexia often continue to do well in school sometimes makes it more difficult for parents and teachers to understand the severity of the eating disorder.

Males with Anorexia Nervosa: Approximately 5 % to ten % of people with Anorexia are male. Unfortunately, there is currently not a lot of information on males with Anorexia. However, more and more research is being done as people begin to realize that this disease does affect males. Males involved in weight lifting, wrestling, rowing, Cross country running, Figure skating, ballet, modeling, horse Jockeying, crew, swimming, and acting, all are at a higher risk for developing the disorder. Hormone levels in males can be an indicator of Anorexia, specifically a low testosterone level and or a decreased gonadotrophins level can be an indicator of Anorexia in males. Males with Anorexia usually report a decreased interest in sex. Research is indicating that eating disorders in males appears to be on the rise. It appears that males with Anorexia appear to present with the same psychological issues those females with the disorder present with, but there are some distinctions. Females who develop Anorexia are usually not overweight when the disorder begins but males who develop this disorder usually are medically overweight before the onset of the disorder. . Also, males with Anorexia are more likely to have problems limiting the number of cocktails that they consume than females with this disorder. Another difference is physical presentation because males with this disorder are more concerned with muscle definition than females with this disorder. Because society presents the ideal image of men as strong and muscular men with eating disorders are at risk for steroid abuse. Unfortunately, men may be reluctant to get help for Anorexia because it is primarily known as a “woman’s disease”.


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