Sample Essay on Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa is a dangerous and deadly disease. Doctors define it as the failure to make expected weight gain during a period of growth, leading to body weight less then eighty-five percent (85%) of that expected, (http://www.edrefferal.com/anorexia). There is usually a psychological problem attached to eating disorders.

Anorexia can lead to extreme weight loss, malnutrition and even death (The American Medical Association, Family Medical Guide p. 710).

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Anorexia Nervosa is split into two subtypes, Restricting type and Binge-eating (purging) type. Restricting type is the most common type of Anorexia. Restricting Anorexia is when the individuals consume almost no food, but are compulsive exercisers1. Binge eating or purging is when the individual consumes fatty high calorie foods, but soon after consumption they will flee for the bathroom to regurgitate2 all the food that they previously ate. They may also abuse laxatives3. Though this disease is found in only 1 out of 2,400 adolescent girls and boys, but studies show 90 – 95% of them are females (http://www.edrefferal.com/anorexia)

As medical studies show most victims of Anorexia show extreme sensitivity about their outward appearance, fear of eating the smallest amounts food or even the site of it because they fear they believe they will become overweight (http://www.edrefferal.com/anorexia). When an anorexic victim looks at him or herself in the mirror they see the exact opposite of what they actually are in their reflection. For example, an average 15-year-old female should weigh about 105 to 110 pounds. Suppose this girl only weighs 90 pounds due to her eating disorder when she look in the mirror she perceives herself as a supposedly obese person. When she looks in the mirror she sees this distorted figure, which causes her to starve herself further and further until she is either hospitalized or dies of malnutrition4 (The American Medical Association, Family Medical Guide p. 710).

The question is what causes a person to want to mutilate their body like this? Doctors and researchers all agree that there is no way to tell exactly what causes a person to become anorexic, they have discovered, there is one general factor that is most likely to be linked to the majority of eating disorders; the psychological mind set of the person. They state that one of the leading causes of girls having this disease is due to the emphasis put on thinness and beauty in the Western and Southern societies. Also the media plays a large part in the emphasis put on beauty by displaying stick thin models on the covers of magazines and flyers. Now this is the more commercial reason, but doctors have found a deeper reason of why anorexia occurs, the psychological well being of the victim has. Anorexia maybe their escape from problems at home. Whether it is physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at home or the loss of someone close to you. In some cases, too much pressure maybe caused by the people at home, depression may occur too. Just as people smoke to escape form stress, teenagers use anorexia to escape stress. They do this because they are so busy counting calories and paying attention to their looks, they forget all about the stress and pressure in their environment around them (http://encarta.anorexia nervosa.msn.com).

Right now there could be a victim of anorexia sitting next to you, and you may not even know it. It could be someone close to you; a family member, a best friend, or another relative. There are dozens of symptoms that doctors use to detect anorexia in a person, but there are a few extremely important ones. For women some symptoms maybe, an absent or irregular period, loss of scalp hair, constant exercising, mood swings, and denial of hunger. Mood swings may vary from, depression, irritability and sleeping problems. Though men don’t commonly to have this disease there are still some symptoms doctors and loved ones can look for.

They basically show the same symptoms as women do, except they will not cut their food up into tiny little pieces instead they resort to purging themselves. However, they do lack of a sexual drive (http://familydoctor.org/handouts/063.html). When anorexics cut their food into tinier pieces it makes it easier for them to dispose of it secretively without getting caught. Certain attributes in anorexics can explain some of the symptoms, such as perfectionism, introversion5, low self-esteem, a need for control, a problem in communicating with others, and expressing their feeling thoughts and emotions. Perfectionism is probably the leading attribute to anorexia because this means that the person believes everything must be perfect in every way. This includes their grades, appearance, and environment. Introversion is a big red flag that something is wrong. An anorexic basically gets over involved in many activities so he/she has no time to eat or think about food (http://familydoctor.org/handouts/063.html).

As you have read anorexia is a mental illness, and is usually treated with years of psychotherapy6 and months in rehabilitation centers. There a numerous ways and cycles of psychotherapy, the one the doctor chooses waivers one how serious the problem actually is, and whether it is early in the disease or too late. For a less severe case the person will go to a therapist for awhile but still live at home. He/she, will however, also attend meetings and a before returning home go to a rehabilitation center for a couple of weeks. An anorexic will also be put on medications, such as anti depressants and a variety of vitamins. At therapy they will go to classes where they learn how to except their bodies, and they are forced to eat full meals. Then there are inpatient programs. They are programs for the more severe cases of anorexia. This is when the patient stays in the hospital for their recovery. During therapy they learn about how to control a healthy diet, family sessions where they are treated for family problems so any type of pressure or stress is relieved. Anorexic’s are also treated for abuse, and low self-esteem. After they are released from the hospital they must attend sessions where they continue their therapy for a few more weeks depending on their condition (Encarta 98 CD-ROM).

Anorexia is a very serious disease that is extremely dangerous to its victims, and is not a disease that can be taken lightly. Though very little is known about the prevention of Anorexia there are some steps you and your family can use to hopefully prevent any of your family members to avoid anorexia. Try to create a stress free environment for you children and emphasis health but being model thin. If u still think this is not a serious matter here are some statistics: Almost 35% of people diagnosed with anorexia have the obsessive-compulsive disorder7. This means anorexia can be linked to many other mental illnesses. Here are some realistic numbers that show a mathematical time line of the diagnoses and recovery. Out of the girls estimated with anorexia, 42% recover, 30% improve their situation, and then 20% of the girls have a chronic eating disorder (Encarta 2000)

Now that you know how serious anorexia is if you have any questions you can contact these sources for more information on this disease.

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