Anorexia Nervosa Essay Research Paper In American

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Anorexia Nervosa Essay, Research Paper In American society women are given the message starting from a very young age that in order to be successful and happy, they must be thin. Eating disorders are on the rise, it is not surprising given the value which society places on being thin. Television and magazine advertising that show the image of glamorous and thin model are everywhere. Thousands of teenage girls are starving themselves daily in an effort to attain what the fashion industry considers to be the ideal figure. An average female model weighs 23% less than the recommended weight for a woman. Maintaining a weight 20% below your expected body weight fits the criteria for the emotional eating disorder known as anorexia (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). According to medical

weight standards, most models fit into the category of being anorexic (Garfinkle & Garner, 1990). Physicians now believe that anorexia has existed for at least 300 years (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). It was however only about one hundred years ago that Professor Ernest Lasegue of the University of Paris finally identified anorexia as an illness (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). The term "anorexia nervosa" literally means nervous lose of appetite. Most researchers and physicians agree that the number of patients with this life threatening disease is increasing at an alarming rate. Garfinkle & Garner define anorexia as ⌠an emotional disorder characterized by an intense fear of becoming obese, lack of self-esteem and distorted body image which results in self-induced

starvation (1990). The development of this disease generally peaks between the age of 14 to 18 but can occur later in life and is not uncommon to see it in women in to their early 40`s. Recent estimates suggest that 1% of American girls between this age span will develop anorexia to some degree (Garfinkle & Garner, 1990). It has also propagated in many college campuses, and it is spreading. Studies have shown that nearly 20% of college women may suffer from anorexia or bulimia (Pirke & Ploog, 1984). The disease develops slowly over a period of months to years during which the sufferer changes her eating patterns to a very restricted diet. As stated previously above, an anorexic is diagnosed by having a body weight 20% below the expected body weight of a healthy person at

the same age and height of the eating disorder patient. The anorexic may often becomes frightened of gaining weight and even of food itself. The patient may feel fat, even though their body weight is well below the normal weight for their height. Some may even feel they do not deserve pleasure out of life and will deprive themselves of situations offering pleasure, including eating. This fear becomes so difficult to manage that the sufferer will gradually isolate themselves from other people and social activities. This happens so the sufferer can continue the exhausting anorexic behaviors. Although the mortality rate is high (30% of anorexics will eventually die from the disease), approximately one third are able overcome the disease with psychiatric help (Pirke & Ploog,

1984). Warning signs to look for in someone you suspect of anorexia. Physical signs are intolerance of cold due to the absence of the body`s natural insulator (fat), dizziness and fainting spells, dry skin, loss of muscle, and the most obvious, a weight loss of about fifteen percent. There are also behavioral changes in a person when they becomes anorexic including restricted food intake, odd food rituals, an increased fear of food, hyperactivity, dressing in layers, and regular weighing. Some "odd food rituals" include things like cutting food into small pieces, counting bites or even talking to their food. Anorexics are not repelled or revolted by food, in fact their minds are often dominated by thoughts of food. While the exact cause of anorexia is still unknown, a