It seems today that eating disorders are on the rise. While this may be true, the numbers may appear to grow only because more cases are being brought out into the open. The purpose of this paper is to discuss eating disorders and prove the these disease, specifically Anorexia Nervosa, continue to plague of women due to psychological and environmental factors along with pressure from the media. The term Anorexia Nervosa is misleading. It means loss of appetite due to nerves. But people with anorexia dont actually lose their appetite until the late stages of their starvation. Until, they do feel hungry, but they just wont eat. People affected by anorexia have an extreme fear of gaining weight. In addition to drastic dieting, they may resort to vomiting and the use of laxatives and diuretics to lose weight. Statistics show that many teens and young adults suffer from anorexia nervosa. Without treatment, anorexia nervosa can cause serious health problems–even death!
The sooner treatment begins the better the chances for a full recovery. The person with another anorexia is a model child. He/She is well behaved, eager to please, and a good student who gets along well with her peers. She rarely admits that anything is wrong or that anything is wrong or that she/he extra helps. Behind the mask is an insecure, self-critical perfectionist who feels unworthy of any praises she receives. A person who has anorexia is also very concerned about whether other people like her. Occasionally, she feels that theres something wrong with her- that shes bad or that her thoughts are disgusting. (PennSAHIC) One interpretation of an eating disorder is termed as a relationship between the person and food the appears abnormal. Anorexia Nervosa is one of the most prevalent eating disorder decease. The definition of Anorexia, Dr. Barton J. Blinder gives an interpretation similar to this: Anorexia is an all-encompassing pursuit of thinness, occurring most often in adolescents and young adult woman. This is accomplished by avoidance of eating by any means possible.
The person affected by Anorexia has an absolutely terrifying fear of becoming obese. In short, food becomes the enemy; one researcher described Anorexia as weight phobia. (noah.cuny.edu/wellconn/eatdisorders.html) Some experts believe that a fear of growing up is the root of the problem. Other experts see the disorder as a subconscious rebellion against parents whove set standards that are too high. All experts agree that food is not the central problem. There is evidence that people with anorexia secrete abnormal amounts of various hormones. But, many researchers believe these imbalances are the results of emotional stress and severe dieting, not the case of them. In our culture, thin is in and dieting is normal behavior. The pressure to be the best may also be a factor in the disorders development. (PennSAHIC) People who intentionally starve themselves suffer from an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa. The disorder, which usually begins in young people around the time of puberty, involves extreme weight lossat least 15 percent below the individuals normal body weight. Many people with the disorder look emaciated but are convinced they are overweight. Sometimes they must be hospitalized to prevent starvation.
An example of this will be illustrated in the following story: Deborah developed anorexia nervosa when she is 16. A rather shy, studious teenager, she tried hard to please everyone. She had an attractive appearance, but was slightly overweight. Like many teenager girls, she was interested in boys but concerned that she wasnt pretty enough to get their attention. When her father jokingly remarked that she would never get a date if she didnt take off same weight, she took him seriously and began to diet relentlessly- never believing she was thin even when she became extremely underweight. Soon after the pounds started dropping off, Deborahs menstrual periods stopped. As anorexia tightened its grip, she became obsessed with dieting and food and developed strange eating rituals. Every day she weighted all the food she would eat on a kitchen scale, cutting solids into minuscule pieces and precisely measuring liquids. She would then put her daily ration in small containers, lining them up in neat rows. She also exercised compulsively, even after she weakened and became faint.
She never took an elevator is she could walk up steps. No one able to convince Deborah that she was in danger. Finally, her doctor insisted that she be hospitalized and carefully monitored for treatment of her illness. While in the hospital, she secretly continued her exercise regimen in the bathroom, doing strenuous routines of sit-ups and knee-bends. It took several hospitalizations and a good deal of individual and family outpatient therapy for Deborah to face and solve her problem. Deborahs case is not unusual. People with anorexia typically starve themselves, even though they suffer terribly from hunger pains. One of the most frightening aspects of the disorder id that people with anorexia continue to think they are overweight even then they are bone-thin. For reasons not yet understood, they become terrified of gaining any weight. Food and weight become obsessions. For some, the compulsiveness shows up in strange eating rituals or the refusal to eat in front of others. It is not uncommon for people with anorexia to collect recipes and prepare gourmet feasts for family and friends, but not partake in the meals themselves. Like Deborah, they may adhere to strict exercise routines to keep off weight.
Loss of monthly menstrual periods is typical in woman with the disorder. Men with anorexia often become impotent. (Lee Hoffman) When one looks at the media today, it is difficult not to notice the fashion industry. To look at the fashion models who are 15% thinner than the average American woman, one can clearly see that underneath the seasons hottest new trends the taller-than-average woman, are very, very slender almost to the point of being gaunt. For example, Kate Moss (nicknamed Skeleton), Calvin Kleins newest supermodel, sports the figure of the newest look for the fashion industry: the waif. This is the look that the media portrays to the public to say while million of children and adults look on. Studies show that children as young as six years of age see themselves as overweight and look up to such personalities of the fashion world as Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and the before-mentioned Kate Moss; all of whom are extremely thin.
Society seems to teach the people that they have to look a certain way to be successful and accepted. (noah.cuny.edu/wellconn/eatdisorder.html) The effects of the environment can influence eating disorder. Family members can play a major role in the influence of eating disorders. For example when mother and father stress the importance of weight. Parents stress to their children that eating right will keep their body into shape. Parents do not like to see children being teased because of their weight so they try to keep them fit. Sometime the stress from the parents and/or if there is any physical or sexual abuse in the family, the child in this situation may lead to an eating disorder to have a way to control something in their life. In conclusion, Anorexia Nervosa greatly affects all that are touched by it.
Close family members and friends go through fighting battle with the person helping to serve this deathful battle. The information in this paper is just touching briefly on what can happen to someone with this disease called Anorexia. It is important that people are aware of these problems, know how to spot eating disorders, and help someone else or themselves overcome something like Anorexia. Works Cited: Matthews, John R. Eating Disorders. New York: Facts on file Inc. 1990 http://noah.cuny.edu/wellconn/eatdisorder.html Self-Help & Psychology Magazine- written by Lee Hoffman, Office of Scientific Inf., NIH Publication No. 94-3477, 1993. http://www.cybertowers.com/selfhelp/article/eating/nih/anorexia.html PennSAHIC booklet by Channing L. Bete Co., Inc. 1996 edition.