The Age Of Onset For Anorexia Nervosa

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“As Amy Tickner grabbed a slice of bread to go with her lunch, her mum yelled from the kitchen: “Don’t put butter on that. You’re getting a bit fat.” (Owens, 2013) Amy was just 16 and at a perfectly healthy weight for her age and height (5’7, 149 lbs), but insulting comments like this from her mom sent the impressionable teenager into a spiral of desperation and starvation. The average age of onset for anorexia nervosa is 17, but there have been cases reported where the sufferer was as young as 8 years old. Several factors can cause the onset of an eating disorder, or turn negative eating habits into a full-blown condition. These causes can include certain personality traits and psychological factors, high-stress events, abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and strenuous family life. As for Amy, it wasn’t until her mother watched her in tears and bed-ridden in the arms of a nurse, that she’d realized the damage her hurtful words had caused. Amy had starved herself to a mere 84 lbs in an effort to please her mother, who constantly made hateful remarks. Amy is not alone in her struggle with Anorexia Nervosa. It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million of them being women (DMH, 2006). Our mothers, sisters and daughters are starving themselves; some literally starving and exercising themselves to death. The illness is serious and can be life threatening if left untreated for long periods of time. Anorexia nervosa remains the most deadly of all psychiatric disorders, with a 5-10% death rate within 10 years of developing the symptoms, and an 18-20% death rate within 20 years. According to, the death rate associated with anorexia is 12 times higher than the death rate of all causes of d... ... middle of paper ... anorexia, however some are prescribed antidepressants and medications for mental disorders that might correlate with the anorexia nervosa. Eating disorders are complex and they can arise from a variety of potential causes, such as anxiety or depression. A combination of certain personality traits, such as low self-confidence along with perfectionism) and cultural and social pressures can also play a part in anorexia. Successful treatment of eating disorders requires professional help. In spite of that fact, it is estimated that only 10 percent of people with these disorders actually receive treatment. Out of the people who receive treatment, fewer than half will get treated at a facility that specializes in eating disorders. With the help of mental counseling and her mother apologizing, Amy is now slowly recovering and as of 2013 was slowing creeping up to 98 lbs.
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