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Anorexia Nervosa

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Length: 1003 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)
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     Anorexia nervosa is a serious problem that many people are dealing with in today’s society. Though this is a serious problem, the severity of the illness can easily be lessened with quick intervention from parents, friends, and other caring individuals. People who are close to the victim can notice early warning signs and symptoms, which are characteristic of this condition. Anorexia nervosa may be a life threatening illness, but can be treated if detected early on. There are many effective treatments that are currently available for patients. These different treatments will help the patient regain a healthy, normal lifestyle.
     The only real answer to the question of what type of people anorexia nervosa affects is that there is no valid answer even though researchers have found that the amount of people who develop anorexia nervosa is rising drastically. Researchers have also found that many patients with anorexia nervosa typically lack self-esteem and often feel that weight loss will make them more liked or even popular.
     There are many different symptoms that anorexics display. The symptoms can be both physical and psychological. The physical symptoms only occur after a severe amount of starvation has occurred. The symptoms often include constipation, loss of hair on the head, growth of faint body hair, low pulse rate, and the patient is unable to tolerate cold temperatures. Anorexics also experience many different endocrine problems. The psychological problems can range from social withdrawal to distortion of body image.
     There is no real answer as to exactly what causes anorexia nervosa. Researchers believe that environmental, psychological, and physiological factors all play a major role in the happening of this disorder. Many scientists believe that the part of the brain called the hypothalamus has a part in the development of anorexia nervosa. Other researchers think that abnormalities in particular endocrine functions may be key to discovering what may cause anorexia nervosa.
     There are three different ways that patients with anorexia nervosa can be treated. These treatments consist of nutritional therapy, family counseling, and psychotherapy for the patient. The foremost concern when beginning nutritional therapy is that the patient needs to gain weight. A physician can accomplish this by adding an amount of calories to a patient’s daily intake of food. Family counseling basically deals with the relationship between the patient and the members of the family. Psychotherapy is very necessary to the patient because it helps the individual realize the effects and the process anorexia nervosa undergoes. If a person with anorexia has symptoms of depression, antidepressants are often necessary.











     I agree with every aspect that the article presented. One thing that I agree with is that there are many different symptoms that a person with anorexia nervosa will often display. One of my high school friends suffered from anorexia nervosa. I first noticed that she might be dealing with this disorder when we were sophomores. She rarely came to lunch and made excuses to why she wasn’t eating. Towards the end of the year she stopped coming to lunch all together and I only saw her drink bottled water. The disease got progressively worse over the next two years. By our senior year, her hair became very thin and would often fall out. It got to the point where she would get her hair cut very short in hope that nobody would question if she had a problem. Her skin began to yellow and she developed a fine type of hair that was particularly noticeably on her face and arms. She would also display signs of being very cold at all times. It got to the point where she would wear sweatshirts when it was seventy degrees outside. I had a first hand experience with anorexia nervosa, and the symptoms that were described in the article correspond with the symptoms that my friend from high school displayed.
     Another point that I agree with in the article is that a person who is dealing with this disease is a family disease that requires family therapy. The anorexic person is often a cause of severe tension within the family unit. This type of therapy helps the members of the family have a better relationship with one another. It also is a major step that will help both the patient and the family deal with this problem. It only makes sense for the family to get some sort of help along with the patient because the family will often play a major role in the onset of anorexia nervosa. I agree with this type of therapy because it will make the living situation between the patient and the other family members more manageable.

Part 3:
     There are many things that are found in the textbook that correspond with the article. One is that that the book stated that anorexics often have a distorted body image and often see themselves as being very fat even though they are harmfully underweight. This corresponds with the article because it also describes one of the psychological symptoms in the same manner.
     Another point that is discussed by both the textbook and the article that is being discussed is the initial treatment for anorexia nervosa. They both stressed that treatment should begin with weight gain. The article believes that this should be done with an increase of calories the patient has daily while the textbook considers that this should be accomplished through behavior modification. Whether weight gain is completed by an increase of calories or behavior modification, both sources agree that weight gain is very vital for the anorexic.
     The two sources differ on the causes of anorexia nervosa. The textbook stated that the causes of anorexia nervosa are found in the development of the individual’s personality. The article stated that anorexia is a combination of three factors. The factors are environmental, psychological, and physiological. The two sources differ greatly in this specific area.

References
Dove, J. (2000). “Facts about anorexia nervosa”. MedAccess. [6 pages]. Retrieved March 25, 2000 from the World Wide Web: < http://mentalhelp.net/factsfam/
anorexia.htm> pp.1-5.

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