Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by a fear of being fat, a distorted body image, radically reduced consumption of food, and emaciation (Tavris and Wade, 2002, p. 477). Anorexia can occur in teenage girls and boys, as well as women and men. There are many different symptoms of this disease, but the most common symptoms of anorexia are physical. Although treatment of anorexia is difficult, there are ways of receiving treatment for the disease. Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious disease that can be extremely harmful and sometimes fatal.
“A typical anorexia patient would be a thirteen to fifteen year old white, upper-middle class female” (Gross, 1936, p. 16). Anorexia can also occur in teenage boys and adult men and women (Anorexia Nervosa. para. 1). People with the disease are obsessed with being extremely thin, and see themselves as fat even thought they are excessively thin. The disease is typical among teenage girls because they are most likely to be self conscious about their weight. To deal with emotional problems sometimes people will stop eating because they feel that their weight is one thing they have control over, unlike emotional problems that they cannot deal with or control (Smolak and Striegel-Moore, 2001, p. 60).
There are many danger signals with anorexia, including losing a significant amount of weight, continuing to diet even though a person is thin, and fearing weight
gain. Someone that may have anorexia may exercise compulsively. People with the disease are also preoccupied with food, calories, nutrition, and cooking. Binging and purging can also be a symptom of Anorexia Nervosa. (Anorexia Nervosa. para. 2).
Physical complications are obvious in a person suffering with anorexia. Anorexia breaks down the body and causes hair loss, hollow facial features, shrunken breasts on woman, and dry skin. It can also cause a person to bruise extremely easily. Mood changes occur frequently with a person with anorexia. Someone with anorexia that has lost a significant amount of weight will have sharp, protruding bones. Women with the disease suffer with menstruation problems; they may even stop having their periods all together. Insomnia can also occur with a person that is anorexic. They may also be very sensitive to the temperature, most commonly being cold all the time (Smolak and Striegel-Moore, 2001, p. 221).
The reason people develop anorexia is not known. People with anorexia are most likely perfectionists who think that being thin will make them happy and successful. For example, a typical student with anorexia would most likely be involved in many school projects and activities such as plays, sports, and community service. Gaining weight is terrible to an anorexic person. Someone with anorexia will use food and weight to deal with emotional problems. They feel that they can control their weight unlike other problems in there life (Anorexia Nervosa. para. 3).
There are many different way of receiving treatment for Anorexia Nervosa. Someone with anorexia usually does not want to receive treatment for their problem because they believe that there is nothing wrong with them. Family and friends must play a significant role in helping a person recover from anorexia. Someone that is in the early stages of the disease may be treated successfully without having to be admitted to a hospital. A person that has been suffering from anorexia for more then six months usually needs to be admitted into a hospital. Hospitals will usually have special units for people with eating disorders, but it is always possible that someone with anorexia may never fully recover (Anorexia Nervosa. para 6). Weight will always be on the back of their mind. Treatment for anorexia may involve counseling and prescribed medicine. People with severe anorexia are at risk of death from starvation. If someone with anorexia does not receive help immediately their bodies will deteriorate into nothing.
Anorexia Nervosa is an extremely severe disorder. The disease affects so many people around the world. Young girls with low self esteem are refusing to eat so they have more confidence. Feeling thin makes some people feel powerful. These people do not know the risks that are involved with anorexia and may not be aware that the disease can be fatal. There are many facts, stories, and research on anorexia, but this research needs to be made readily available to the public, so that people will become educated about the disease and perhaps find a way to prevent or find it within the people around them.