Anorexia Essay

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Anorexia nervosa is a disorder typically shown in the media as a teenage girl whose bones show through her skin, picking and prodding at her body in the mirror. This is the image that comes to mind for most people when they think of anorexia. However, this image only scratches the surface of a disorder as complex as anorexia. Anorexia can be understood by looking at a few different things: its definition, its causes and prevalence, its resulting complications, and its treatment.
Anorexia is a serious disorder that involves compulsive dieting and excessive weight loss. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, anorexia is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness, and extremely disturbed eating behaviors (Parks, 2009). The “disturbed eating behaviors” associated with anorexia include unhealthy weight loss and weight control methods, behaviors such as abusing or self-induced vomiting, and a distorted view of one’s personal appearance (Shepphird, 2010). Anorexics in general survive on 500 calories or less per day, and they count every calorie they consume (Parks, 2009). Symptoms often also include the inability or refusal to maintain a healthy weight and a great fear of gaining weight (Shepphird, 2010).
A disorder very often related to anorexia is bulimia nervosa, which is very similar but has a distinct difference. In Eating Disorders, Tedra Coakley defines anorexia a “psychological disease that is characterized by a distorted body image and an obsessive fear of weight gain” and bulimia as “characterized by compulsive eating followed by deliberate purging, the use of laxatives or excessive exercise in order to prevent weight gain” (Espejo, 2012, p. 36). With this in mind, it is clear that one pers...

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...g treatment, and feeling she should leave because she came too soon (Greenfield, 2006). Another patient, Shelly, expressed concerns that seeing her family causes her to revert back to old habits, and that every time she returns home she relapses as a result (Greenfield, 2006). A patient named Polly describes her trouble being okay with her body as it gets bigger through patient, especially because she only came to treatment with the intention of ceasing her vomiting – not gaining weight (Greenfield, 2006).
Anorexia is a disorder that goes much deeper than the trite image pushed by the media. Anorexia occurs most often in young, adolescent females, can be caused by biological, socio-cultural, and psycho-developmental factors, causes considerable damage to the body and the heart, and treatment is not often attained and is long and difficult for the patient when it is.

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