In this paper, we will be describing a crucial disorder that affects many teenagers. This disorder is Anorexia Nervosa, better known as Anorexia. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by constant dieting, rapid weight loss and the feeling of being to fat during weight loss. Most anorexics are women and teenage girls, who see their self as being overweight even though they are deathly underweight.
The term “Anorexia Nervosa” means loss of appetite due to nerves, but the people with anorexia do not actually lose their appetite until the late stages of their starvation. Until then they just do feel hungry but they will not eat.
There are numerous physical signs of anorexia but there are four main ones. They are:
1. Rapid loss of body fat
2. Wasting away of body fat
3. Pale dry skin
4. Irregular heart beat
An anorexic may also have dehydration and fainting may occur.
Anorexia also has many effects on the body. Anorexia may result in the shrinkage of internal organs, including the kidneys, heart, and brain. A person may also lose the ability to reproduce. As the heart muscle weakens, an irregular heart rhythm and heart failure are possible. Some other complications are:
Constipation and difficulty urinating
Muscle aches and cramps
Swelling of joints
Injuries to nerves and tendons
Inability to concentrate
People afflicted by anorexia have an extreme fear of gaining weight. In addition, to drastic dieting, they may also turn to vomiting and the use of laxatives to lose weight.
Without treatment, anorexia can cause serious health problems and even lead to death. Anorexia is very dangerous, and professional help should be sought immediately. Prompt treatments will usually keep the problem from progressing, but some cases are very resistant to treatment and may require hospitalization. As many as 15 percent die from complications.
Anorexia Nervosa occurs much more frequently in females than in males. The statistics show that 90% of all anorexics are females. Most often anorexia develops during adolescence or young adulthood, although there is some evidence that it may occur at a later age. Recent estimates suggest that one out of 250 teenage girl will develop anorexia.
Although its focus is on food, anorexia is an illness of the mind. Often it begins with a relatively normal desire to lose a few pounds, then snow balls from many types of pressure. Some experts believe that a fear of growing up is the root of the problem. Another reason could be a subconscious rebellion against parents who set standards that are to high, consequently pressure mounts on the child and anorexia may start. All experts believe that food is not the central problem. Another reason maybe that, in our culture “thin is in” and dieting is normal behavior.
The most effective way treating anorexia combines psychological treatment and medical consultations into one coherent whole. Psychological treatment (psychotherapy) may include either individual or family therapy. There are four major anorexic hospitals that can give help, they are in Highland Parks, Illinois, Eugene, Oregon, Columbus, Ohio, and in New York, New York.
In conclusion, Anorexia Nervosa is a fearful disorder that should be taken seriously. If you know anyone who suffers from anorexia you should confront him or her immediately, and get them help. The faster you talk with them, the faster the disorder will be abolished.
Physical Changes Mental/Social Changes
Excessive Weight Loss
Over the course of several months the person may lose 25 percent or more of their body weight.
Unusual Eating Habits
The person may develop unusual habits such as eating tiny bites to stretch out eating time.
Absence of menstruation
Rigid dieting greatly reduces female hormone levels, disrupting the menstrual cycle. Social Isolation
The person may withdraw from family and friends to concentrate on losing weight. Peers may reject the person because of their behavior.
Cavities and Gum Disease
Poor nutrition and vomiting can damage teeth and gums. Extreme Physical Activity
To burn calories and get rid of fatty tissue, the person may turn to long distance running, biking or heavy exercising.
Hair, Nail, and Skin Problems
Lack of protein in the diet may lead to dull stringy hair, brittle nails and dry skin. Poor Self Esteem
People with anorexia generally lack self-confidence. They become very depressed and talk about suicide.
Extreme Sensitivity to Cold
Loss of fat and muscle tissue makes it difficult for the body to keep itself warm.
Overuse of Laxatives
This habit can lead to severe dehydration.
Denial of the Problem
Since the problem is huge, a person may strongly deny the underweight condition.
September 27, 1999
Word Count: 781