Anorexia Essay Research Paper ANOREXIA NERVOSAIntroductionEating Disorders

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Anorexia Essay, Research Paper ANOREXIA NERVOSA Introduction: Eating Disorders are characterized by sever disturbances in eating behavior. The essential features of Anorexia Nervosa are that the individual refuses to maintain a minimal normal body weight, is intensely afraid of gaining weight, and exhibits a significant disturbance in the perception of the shape or size of his or her body. The individual maintains a body weight that is below a minimally normal level for age and height. When Anorexia Nervosa develops in an individual during childhood or early adolescence there maybe failure to make expected weight gains instead of weight loss due to the fact of growth. Usually weight loss is accomplished primarily through reduction in total food intake. Although individuals

may begin by excluding from their diet what they perceive to be highly caloric foods, most eventually end up with a very restricted diet that is sometimes limited only to few foods. Additional methods of weight loss include purging (self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives) and increased or excessive exercise. Individuals with this disorder intensely fear gaining weight or becoming fat. This intense fear of becoming fat is usually not alleviated by weight loss. Concern about weight gain often increases even as actual weight continues to decrease. The experience and significance of body weight and shape are distorted in these individuals. Some of these individuals feel overweight from every aspect, others realize that they are thin, but are still concerned with specific

parts of their bodies. The self-esteem of individuals with Anorexia Nervosa is highly dependent on their body shape and weight. Weight loss is Page Two-Lariviere viewed as an impressive achievement and is a sign of self-discipline and self-control. Though some individuals with this disorder may acknowledge being thin, they typically deny the serious medical implications of their malnourished state. It is rare for an individual with Anorexia Nervosa to complain of weight loss. Individuals frequently lack insight into, or have considerable denial of, the problem and may be unreliable historians. It is therefore necessary to obtain information from the parents or other outside sources to evaluate the degree of weight loss and other features of the illness. When seriously under

weight, many individuals with Anorexia Nervosa manifest depressive symptoms such as depressed mood, social withdrawal, irritability, insomnia, and diminished interest in sex. Such individuals may have symptomatic presentations that meet criteria for Major Depressive Disorder. Obsessive-compulsive features, both related and unrelated to food, are often prominent. Most individuals with Anorexia Nervosa are preoccupied with thoughts of food. When these individuals exhibit obsessions and compulsions that are not related to food, body shape, or weight, an additional diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive may be in order. Other features sometimes associated with Anorexia Nervosa include concerns of public eating, the feeling of ineffectiveness, a strong desire to have control, and over all

a restraint on emotions. Many signs of and symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa are attributed to starvation. In addition to amenorrhea (suppression or non-occurrence of menstruation), there may be complaints of constipation, abdominal pain, cold intolerance, lethargy (laziness), and Page Three-Lariviere excess energy. There may also be significant hypertension, hypothermia, and dryness of the skin. Some individuals find a yellowing of their skin, due to hypercarotenemia (which occurs because of the lack of proper vitamins). Anorexia Nervosa appears to be far more prevalent in industrialized societies, in which there is an abundance of food and in which, especially for females, being considered attractive is linked with being thin. This disorder rarely occurs before puberty. More than