While the manifestations of this eating disorder can result in a deterioration of physical health, anorexia is a mental disorder. Some researchers have attributed the cause to a gene much in the way other psychiatric disorders. Anorexia is a disease based in a form of body dysmorphia where the person sees themselves as being heavier than they actually are. This distortion becomes the motivation behind not eating and some cases exercising excessively.
The physical illnesses that result from the eating disorder relate to the person not getting enough vitamins and nutrients to support bodily functions. Anorexics develop major problems associated with vitamin deficiencies (hair and nails) and endocrine problems. The condition can really wreak havoc with the body’s total homeostatic condition because it interferes with the metabolic processes (aerobic cellular respiration) that help the body creates energy (ATP) and store fat.
Anorexics who are healing have to get over the mental hurdle of eating food consistently while being able to gain weight safely (because putting weight on an severely underweight individual causes stress to the circulatory system).