Anoerxia Nervosa

  • Category: Psychology
  • Words: 964
  • Grade: 90

                                Anorexia Nervosa

        Why do all humans eat? We eat because we need to and because we enjoy eating.
However, some people are different. A lot of them eat more and some eat less. Some of
these people go to extremes where they can hurt themselves by eating too much or too
little. This essay deals with eating disorder anorexia nervosa (Rowan 1).
        Technically, the word anorexia means "˜loss of appetite', but anorexics usually have
normal appetite, but have drastic ways in controlling their eating (Palmer 34). One almost
never hears a man having anorexia because women suffer from the disease ten times more
than men. Anorexia usually begin in girls in the teenage years. Sometimes it starts in their
childhood or later in their 30's or 40's. This disorder affects one girl in every hundred and
fifty (Duker and Slade 1).
        Anorexia, almost always, begins with the everyday dieting. Around a third of
anorexics have been overweight before starting to diet. Anorexics become anorexic when
they do not stop their dieting at their desired weight. They lose weight until it is way
below their normal limit for her age and height. The little amount of food she eats is
usually fruit, vegetables and salads. She will excretes quite often and may even take
dieting pills to keep her weight low. This anorexic does not like food, however, she may
buy food and cook for others quite often (Palmer 35).
        Symptoms of anorexia are excessive loss of weight, vigorous excretes, monthly
periods stopping, fear of fatness and undereating. However, as time goes on, the anorexic
may develop some of the symptoms of bulimia. She may make herself sick or use
laxatives as ways to control her weight (Duker and Slade, 3). Personality changes will be

seen when the anorexic tends to become more and more obsession. She will usually
begin to lose contact with her friends then will regress and appear to lose confidence. She
may become more less assertive, less argumentative and more dependent(Duker and Slade
        Anorexia Nervosa has several causes. Usually it is the result of weight losing diet
which may be due to unhappiness or illness. the ones that get ill usually are thought to be
vulnerable. A lot of times, the families of the anorexic are high achieving and expect a lot
from their children. These families often "discourage individual growth and encourage
conformity."(Palmer 38) Frequently these families fail to express emotional issues. There
are often a lot of pressures from the family when the illness starts. These families usually
have difficulties in relationships with friends.
        When people starve themselves, the consequences are: broken sleep, constipation,
difficulty in concentrating or thinking straight, depression, feeling the cold, brittle bones
which break easily, muscles become weaker- it becomes an effort to do anything. If the
anorexic goes through phases of bulimia, then she has even more consequences. Her
stomach acid dissolves the enamel on teeth, she has a puffy face (due to swollen salivary
glands), has irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, kidney damage, and epileptic fits. If
she uses laxatives, then her consequences are: persistent tummy-pain, swollen fingers,
damage to bowel muscles which may lead to long term constipation. If the illness is
severe, it may require the anorexic to admit to a hospital (Rowan 3).
        A girl with anorexia may not fully develop some of the characteristics of an adult
woman. For example, she may not have much pubic hair, breasts and monthly periods.
She may even look young for her age and maturity may be a problem. Emotionally, the
anorexic have feelings of guilt, humiliation, anger and frustration.

Parents that have an anorexic often do not want to accept that their child has an
eating disorder and so will ignore it. However, they are the ones that are usually first to
notice something is wrong. The anorexic will hardly ever admit that she has a problem.
To her, she still sees herself as fat and overweight. When she looks in the mirror, she does
not see a girl that I shin , like the rest of the world, she sees a girl that needs to lose more
weight and is very displeased with herself (Palmer 40).
        When problems in the family add onto the feeling of loss of control, family therapy
has said to be a ninety percent improvement rate. Behavior therapy is also used to change
the eating patterns of an anorexic who is seriously close to death. This usually after the
anorexic has been tube-fed to prevent death. Group and individual therapy has also
proved effective--it depending on the person and place. However, these therapies are
usually very hard because the anorexics are in denial that they have a problem( Rowan 3).
        In this society, it is ideal to be thin. Everyone wants to be thin or skinny. Most
females want to look good inorder to pleas themselves and others around others. Who
wants to look bad? This is fine until, people take it to extremes and just stop eating. If
you know of someone who needs to be talked to about anorexia, be prepared for
resistance. Go to the individual with the illness when you feel there is little chance of
being interrupted. Know what you want to say, stay calm and do not let your
conversation with her go astray.
        Once the problem is recognized, she should be seen by a psychiatrist or
psychologist. There, they will try to get her to eat more to get back to her normal weight.
Here, it is the parents job to watch over what their child is eating. This means eating
regular meals with rest of the family and getting enough calories. It is also very
important for the family to see the psychologist or psychiatrist to check up on weight and
for the support.
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