Anorexia nervosa (AN) comes via the Greek an-, without, and orexis, appetite. Of course, as we know, this doesn't necessarily mean a person with the disorder has no appetite. In fact, the etymology can't begin to spell out exactly what AN really is, and how it can affect people's relationships in all its varied forms.
"Despite the fact that we have been studying and treating eating disorders for decades, the stereotype is still that anorexia affects young, cis-gendered, white, fairly affluent women," said Christine Peat, Ph.D., a clinical associate professor in the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
Mainstream understandings of the disorder can also get in the way of more helpful, nuanced understanding.
"If it were as simple as being exposed to a really toxic culture, then we all would have an eating disorder," Peat added.
Specific criteria that can affect many bodies
To be officially diagnosed with AN, someone must meet all of the current