Anorexia Nervosa And The Media Essay Research

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Anorexia Nervosa And The Media Essay, Research Paper A normal female takes a stroll down the streets of Manhattan and ends up at Times Square, probably one of the most colorful places on earth, which also has an abundant number of advertisements. As this female looks up at the pictures, she can see a Calvin Klein ad. The image portrays people who are the idols of our youth; young, thin, beautiful men and women. These young people depict the ?ideal? body. As this female walks, she begins to notice her own physical attributes and wonders what it would take for her to look like that Calvin Klein model. Despite the fact that the greatest majority of us could never attain these physiques, many, especially young women, deeply desire to have bodies like these. And many will go to

great lengths to attain their goal. This often means stringent, unhealthy diets, laxative abuse, and even forcing themselves to vomit. Although the media?s portrayal of the ?perfect body? may not be the soul source of eating disorders, they play a big part. Anorexia nervosa is a disorder of self-starvation, which manifests itself in an extreme aversion to food and can cause psychological, endocrine, and gynecological problems. It almost exclusively affects adolescent white girls, with symptoms involving a refusal to eat, large weight loss, a bizarre preoccupation with food, hyperactivity, a distorted body image and cessation of menstruation. Although the symptoms can be corrected if the patient is treated in time, about 10-15 percent of anorexia nervosa patients die, usually

after losing half their normal body weight. Anorexia nervosa patients typically come from white, middle to upper-middle class families that place heavy emphasis on high achievement, perfection, eating patterns and physical appearance. (There has never been a documented case of anorexia nervosa in a black male or female.) A newly diagnosed patient often is described by her parents as a ?model child,? usually because she is obedient, compliant, and a good student. Although most teenagers experience some feelings of youthful rebellion, persons with anorexia usually do not outwardly exhibit these feelings, tending instead to be childish in their thinking, in their need for parental approval, and in their lack of independence. Psychologists theorize that the patient?s desire to

control her own life manifests itself in the realm of eating-the only area in the patient?s mind where she has the ability to direct her own life (Mental Health, Long). In striving for perfection and approval, a person with anorexia may begin to diet in order to lose just a few pounds. Dieting does not stop there. An abnormal concern with dieting is established. Nobody knows what triggers the disease, but suddenly, losing five to ten pounds is not enough. The anorectic patient becomes intent on losing weight. It is not uncommon for someone who develops the disorder to starve herself until she weighs just 60 or 70 pounds. Throughout the starvation process, she either denies being hungry or claims to feel full after eating just a few bites. Another form of anorexia nervosa is an

eating disorder known as ?bulimia.? Patients with this illness indulge in ?food binges,? and then purge themselves through vomiting immediately after eating or through the use of laxatives or diuretics. While on the surface these patients may appear to be well adjusted socially, this serious disease is particularly hard to overcome because it usually has been a pattern of behavior for a long time. Psychological symptoms such as social withdrawal, obsessive-compulsiveness and depression often precede or accompany anorexia nervosa. The patient?s distorted view of herself and the world around her are the cause of these psychological disturbances (Mental Health, Long). Distortion of body image is another prevalent symptom. While most normal females can give an accurate estimate of