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What Is Anorexia Nervosa

In the modern world, society promotes a thin figure to be ideal. Slim models and dieting plans are not uncommon to society. From magazines to movies, people of all ages are convinced that they should achieve a certain body figure. Many self-conscious individuals get drawn into the idea of looking slim too obsessively and develops the condition known as Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is an eating disorder in which individuals endure through extreme efforts in order to become thinner. Anorexics tend to prioritize their weight and shape before their health, doing whatever it takes to lose weight.

People with anorexia have a distorted perception of their body; regardless of how skinny they become, they will still view themselves as fat and will want to be skinnier. Anorexia typically affect females more than males since females tend to be more aware and insecure about how they look. Most of the time, anorexia is not simply about eating, it has to do with insecurities and emotions. Anorexics usually have a low self-esteem and will need to gain confidence in themselves in order to recover from anorexia nervosa.

Anorexia nervosa is a serious and life-threatning eating disorder that affects many individuals in the world. There are various factors that can significantly increase the risk of developing anorexia nervosa. The media is one of the major influences that can cause anorexia. “Home and schools are not the only sources pressuring young people to be thin. Society and the media promote this message, especially to young women” (Nardo, D. (1991). The Dangers of Anorexia. In Eating disorders (p. 26). San Diego, California: Lucent Books).

Famous figures and celebrities that have thin bodies are often role models to young people, especially females. “Most anorexics are girls and young women between the ages of eleven and twenty-two” (Nardo, D. (1991). The Dangers of Anorexia. In Eating disorders (p. 16). San Diego, California: Lucent Books). Frequently being around others who are skinny may make an individual feel insecure about themselves which may lead to developing anorexia. Another reason one may develop anorexia is because they may want more self-control when they experience difficult situations in life.

Anorexics, for example, often feel overly dependent on others and not in control of their own lives. So, an anorexic finally takes charge by refusing to eat” (Nardo, D. (1991). The Dangers of Anorexia. In Eating disorders (p. 27). San Diego, California: Lucent Books). Their diet and weight is one thing they feel like they can control. In addition, genetics are also believed to be a possible contribution to anorexia. Having a history of anorexia in an individual’s family can increase one’s chance of developing anorexia.

Having a perfectionist personality also plays a major role in the development of anorexia. Being a perfectionist is a common trait among anorexics, they are usually self-critical and constantly pointing out their flaws. There are numerous subtle factors in society that leads to the development of anorexia and are often overlooked. People with anorexia usually show common symptoms; severe cases of anorexia may cause threats to one’s life. People with anorexia typically engage in self-starvation and extreme exercising as a path towards being thin.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women known as amenorrhea , and extremely disturbed eating behaviors” (Friedman, L. , & Skancke, J. (2009). Biological and Psychological Factors Cause Eating Disorders. In Eating disorders (p. 53). Farmington Hills, Michigan: Greenhaven Press/Gale Cengage Learning). They abuse the necessity of eating and end up becoming malnourished.

Some physical symptoms of anorexia includes complications in memory and the brain’s ability to function, slow and irregular heart rate, low blood pressure, weighing 15% or more, lower than the expected weight according to their weight and height, brittle hair, dry skin, having highly concentrated urine, and females may stop menstruating (Nardo D. , 1991). The body of an anorexic generally becomes weak and fragile. In severe cases, anorexia can cause heart and kidney failure in an individual. There are two different types of anorexia. A victim of the restricting type of anorexia denies food and starves themselves in order to lose weight.

Another type of anorexia is the purging type. No matter what is consumed, they force themselves to eliminate what they intake by engaging in purging. “Frequent vomiting depletes the body of important salts such as potassium, sodium and chloride that are necessary for maintaining the electrical impulses that help our muscles contract” (Thomas, J. , & Schaefer, J. (2013). Underweight, Overweight, and Everything in Between. In Almost anorexic: Is my (or my loved one’s) relationship with food a problem? (p. 67). Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden). Anorexia can be dangerous and fatal if not treated properly.

There are many treatments that can help one overcome anorexia. Three common types of therapy used to treat anorexia include psychotherapy, drug therapy, and group therapy. Psychotherapy is a common resort for anorexic patients. Professionals in this field can help patients find the psychological reason behind their eating disorder. The main objective of professionals would be to help the patient gain weight, weight gain is crucial when treating anorexia (RABIN R. 2012). Professionals may also prescribe medication which can be used in the process of treating anorexia.

Antidepressants are commonly used to treat anorexia. These reduce or eliminate the patient’s state of depression, which appears to be an important cause of the disorder” (Nardo, D. (1991). The Dangers of Anorexia. In Eating disorders (p. 32). San Diego, California: Lucent Books). Anorexics can engage in group therapy in which they express themselves with a group of people who also have eating disorders, seeking support and advice from each other. An anorexic individual may be hospitalized if their health is at risk. Even after treatment, one can experience relapse and become anorexic again.

Many people with anorexia who are properly treated learn to accept themselves the way they are and understand it is not worth it to put their health at risk just to be thin. “Experts say that 15 to 20 percent of those who suffer from anorexia eventually die from malnutrition, heart failure, suicide, or other causes related to the disorder” (Nardo, D. (1991). The Dangers of Anorexia. In Eating disorders (p. 17). San Diego, California: Lucent Books). If a person with anorexia does not show any signs of improvement after their treatment, their symptoms might gradually progress, eventually leading to death.

Treatment is often not effective if the anorexic individual does not cooperate with the treatment. They need to understand the power of their decision; “…eating disorders aren’t a disease, but a ‘lifestyle choice’” (Friedman, L. , & Skancke, J. (2009). Biological and Psychological Factors Cause Eating Disorders. In Eating disorders (p. 75). Farmington Hills, Michigan: Greenhaven Press/Gale Cengage Learning). Fortunately, an anorexic can avoid death simply by allowing themselves to be treated without interfering with the process. Anorexia is a complex and serious eating disorder that affects both the body and the mind.

If one doesn’t recover from anorexia, permanent damage can be done. If one becomes extremely malnourished, organs in their body including the brain, heart, and kidney can be damaged. The damage may not be fully reversible even when anorexia is under control. Anorexia challenges an individual physically and mentally. The best treatment for anorexia is for the anorexic individual to realize that their health is more important than their outer-appearance. Anorexic individuals willing to be treated can overcome anorexia and learn to live a healthy life with confidence.

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