Anorexia Nervosa (1309 words) Essay

Anorexia NervosaCauses, Symptoms, Complications and Treatments for the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa.

Eating disorders are devastating behavioral maladies brought on by a complex interplay of factors, which may include emotional and personality disorder, family pressure, a possible genetic or biological susceptibility and a culture in which there is an over abundance of food and an obsession with thinness. Eating disorders are generally characterized as bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and eating disorders not other wise specified. According to the World of Psychology anorexia is defined as an eating disorder characterized by an overwhelming, irrational fear of being fat, compulsive dieting to the point of self starvation and excessive weight loss.(World of Psychology Page 317). There are some causes, symptoms, complications and treatment of anorexia nervosa.

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There is no single cause for the eating disorder anorexia but a number of factors including emotional disorders and cultural influences. Researchers have shown that emotional disorders such as depression collaborate in causing anorexia nervosa. This is because most anorexic patients have been found to have abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters particularly serotonin, that are associated with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. According to a research conducted by Dr. John .E. Godine of Harvard Medical School studies are finding that low blood levels of amino acid tryptophan, a component in food that is essential to the production of serotonin, can produce depression and may also contribute to anorexia nervosa (Psychology Today Page 17, May 97). Researches have also shown that changes in seasons affects both depression and eating disorders and also that onset of anorexia appears to peak in May, which is also a peak month for suicide. Anxiety disorders are also very common with anorexia. Phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) usually precede the onset of the eating disorder, while panic disorder tends to follow. Studies have shown that people with anorexia are especially prone to obsessive compulsive disorder.

Cultural influences can also cause anorexia as can be seen in most western cultures. The social pressures of western cultures certainly play a major role in triggering eating disorders such as anorexia. On the other hand, advertisers heavily market weight reductions programs and present anorexic young models as the paradigm of sexual desirability and on the other hand again, the media floods the public with ads for junk food. According to the World of Psychology over the past quarter century, the ‘ideal’ female figure as portrayed in the media and by fashion and entertainment industries, has become even thinner, often to the point of emancipation(World of Psychology Page 317). Due to cultural influences in a country where obesity is epidemic, young women who achieve thinness believe they have accomplished a major cultural and personal victory; they have overcome the temptations of junk food and at the same time, created an image idealized by the media. This false sense of accomplishment is often reinforced by the envy of their heavier friends who may perceive anorexic patients as being stronger and more sexually attractive than they are. The media definitely plays a major role in the cause of anorexia. According to the World of Psychology It is difficult to pinpoint the cause of this disorder. More anorexic individuals are well-behaved and academically successful(The World of Psychology Page 371). Some investigators even believe that young women who refuse to eat are attempting to control a portion of their lives, which they feel unable to control in most situations(Psychology Today, May 98).

The symptoms of anorexia vary since most women with the disorder keep it a secret but the major symptom is the change in size. According to an article from WebMd the primary symptom of anorexia is major weight loss from excessive and continuos dieting which may either be restrictive dieting or binge-eating and purging( The feet and hands of the anorexic patient may be cold or swollen sometimes. The stomach is often distressed after eating and is often bloated. Thinking may be confused or slowed, and an anorexic patient may have poor memory and judgement. Again all of these symptoms vary from individuals as could be seen in young women who have diabetes and anorexia. Such people may have a normal weight or even be overweight but still anorexic. A study conducted by


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