Anorexic patients falsely see themselves as fat but do not misjudge others
Anorexic patients felt they could not pass through a door even when it was easily wide enoughNine out of 10 anorexia sufferers are female
07:03 GMT, 24 August 2012
False image: People suffering from anorexia have a distorted view of themselves but not of others
Anorexia victims are poor at judging their own body size but very accurate when it comes to sizing up other people, according to a new study.
Researchers found patients with anorexia have trouble accurately judging their own body size, but not others'.
In the study, led by Dewi Guardia of the University Hospital of Lille in France, 25 patients with anorexia and 25 people of normal weight were shown a door-like space. They were asked to judge whether or not it was wide enough for both themselves and another person present to pass through.
Anorexic patients felt they could not pass through the door even when it was easily wide enough. The more weight they had lost in the last six months the wider they thought the door needed to be to let them pass through.
However, the anorexic patients were
just as accurate as normal weight patients at judging whether someone
else could pass through the doorway.
Dr Guardia said this suggested severely underweight patients may still think of themselves as their previous size.
'The central nervous system has not updated the new, emaciated body,' the researchers suggested in the journal PLOS ONE.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and mental health condition that can be life-threatening. Approximately 11 people in 100,000 develop anorexia nervosa each year.
It stems from low self-esteem and an inability to cope with worries and problems. Sufferers lower their food intake by skipping meals or reducing portion sizes and some over-exercise as well.
Many have the mistaken belief that losing weight will somehow be beneficial and may have a negative internal voice.
The most important step towards diagnosis and treatment is for the sufferer to recognise they need help and to want to get better. Treatments include various psychological therapies.
For more information and support about eating disorders visit www.b-eat.co.uk