Have you ever seen people constantly playing with their food? One might think they have a stomach problem or are not interested in food. Actually, they might be hiding the symptoms of a disease which affects millions of Americans. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders says that there is an estimated 7 million females and 1 million males who suffer with this disorder. This disease is known as anorexia. There are many factors that influence people to become anorexic. When they are diagnosed with anorexia they have to face many consequences.
Anorexia is the most common and well known eating disorder (Harris 2). It is a deliberate self starvation disorder. Even if you do eat anything, it will only be in tiny portions (Sandra Arbetter 8). They fear becoming fat (Goleman 11). This disease is mainly found in teens(Taibbi 29). There is not a single distinct reason why people become anorexic but doctors are aware of causes that influence them (duke edu. 1).
A major cause of anorexia is having a weight disturbance
also known as a distorted body image. Anorexics view their bodies differently than others. They never see themselves too
thin, and feel fat and over estimate their weight (Arbetter 7,8). For most girls, the ideal body image is to be thinner and for boys to be built and muscular (Arbetter 11). Another cause of anorexia is a persons desire for entire control of their body, they want independence and expertise (NY at Buffalo 2). They feel a pressure from not meeting other peoples expectations which in turn leads them to become perfectionists. If they are less than perfect they feel like failures (NY at Buffalo 2, duke edu. 1). Their self esteem is low and they think only looks count. They believe that their body is trouble. Food becomes an instrument to show anger and rebellion against the family (Arbetter 8-10). A change in relationship, death, divorce or romantic breakup or a new job, home, and school can also cause anorexia. These situations cannot be controlled by them. Young people feel they can only control their bodies so they starve themselves (duke edu. 1). Preteens or teens may feel insecure with their new appearance as they develop physically and begin having feelings of sexuality. Being uncomfortable with their body, they feel that if they starve themselves they will revert back to their old body (NY at Buffalo 2 & Arbetter 8). This disease may be hereditary, as it may involve genetic factors (Arbetter 11).
There are many warning signs of anorexia. One is significant, abnormal weight loss of approximately 30% (NY at
Buffalo 2). After that anorexics suffer from coldness because of lack of body fat. The body makes up for this loss by producing lanugo, a fine hair (Taibbi 29). There is also too little food for the intestines to work properly, so anorexics often become constipated (Harris 3). If anorexic girls have started to menstruate, their cycles are often irregular or they stop altogether (duke.edu 1). The loss of the menstruation cycle is known as amenorrhea and results from the loss of body fat (Harris 2). The hair on those with anorexia would be dry because of poor nutrition (NY at Buffalo 2). Gum and teeth problems start to develop and nail quality becomes poor (duke edu. 1). Feelings of withdrawal and separation soon follow (NY at Buffalo 2).
Anorexics exercise in spite of tiredness. They are almost uncontrollable when it comes to exercising (Arbetter 12 & Taibbi 29). When they get food, they have strange patterns of handling it. For example, they push it around and not eat it, yet their interest in cooking is strong. They also are obsessive about calorie counts. Sometimes the anoretics health is so poor as to result in death (duke edu. 1). The death rate of women who suffer from anorexia is 5 to 8 percent over the course of 10 years (Goleman 11).
There are many ways anoretics could be helped. However, there is no one single treatment plan that fits every case (Duke edu. 2). The ultimate goal of treatment is to eat normally and not to obsess about food, weight and calorie counts(duke edu.2). Hospitalization is