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Anorexia Essay, Research Paper

Anorexia It would seem today that eating disorders are on the rise. While this may be true, the numbers may appear to grow only because more cases are being brought out into the open. The purpose of this paper is to address eating disorders and prove that these diseases, specifically Anorexia Nervosa, continue to plague both sexes due to psychological and environmental factors along with pressure from the media. This paper will also briefly go into unseen world of Anorexia in athletics, showing that eating disorders result from stress and pressure put upon the athletes by the coaches and the athletes themselves. I decided to write this paper not only because its and interesting subject, but because its a disorder that has affected millions around the world. I feel that a paper that addresses Anorexia Nervosa would be beneficial not only to me, but to others if decided to be shared with others. In the essay ” A Certain Hunger” Maggie Helwig talks about the tragic life of self starvation and it spurs alot of this essay. Another important reason for the selection of this topic is the previous history that I have experienced with a past girlfriend of mine. I think by me writing a paper that brings out the truth behind anorexia would somewhat help me understand what she had been going through. This paper is relevant to nutrition because the disorder directly affects the nutrition of the one with the disorder. A disorder of this type causes one to suffer from serious health problems from the lack of nutrients the body needs, and anything that is taken in consideration when health and diet is included, to me is nutrition. One interpretation of an eating disorder is termed as a relationship between the person and food that appears abnormal (Costin, 1999). Anorexia Nervosa is one of the most prevalent eating disorder diseases. The word Anorexia itself means, “lack of appetite,” and as for the definition of Anorexia, Dr. Robinson gives an interpretation similar to this: Anorexia is an never ending pursuit of thinness, occurring most often in adolescents and young adult women. This is accomplished by avoidance of eating by any means possible. The person affected by Anorexia has an absolutely terrifying fear of becoming obese. In short, food becomes the enemy and one a weight. The person feels “too fat” when in reality the person is terribly underweight. Anorexia Nervosa affects all kinds of people, especially teenagers, and is the third most common chronic illness that can be found in adolescent women (Costin, 1999). An estimated amount of between one-half percent and three percent of teenagers will be diagnosed with Anorexia (Costin, 1999). This may not sound like very many people until after this fact, but disorders. Also, Anorexia in males may not be as easily detectable, due to the misinterpretations of physicians in the patients’ diagnosis. Physicians may not be as aware of the cases found in men, and therefore rule out an eating disorder as something that has not yet occurred in men, being unaware that these cases do indeed affect males (Costin, 1999). Much of the same risk factors of an eating disorder may be found in both men and women. Looking at the psychological perspective, a few reasons can be seen. There are people who have personality disorders such as obsessive-compulsive problems like perfectionism, obsession with appearances, and weight. A person such as this can often be seen standing in front of a mirror for extended periods of time, is often critical of his or her physical appearance and is afraid to lose control of what is going on in day to day life. Low self-esteem, depression, stress and anxiety are also major reasons why a person might suffer from an eating disorder. The effects of surroundings or environment can greatly influence eating disorders. The family also plays a major role, since close relationships with people influence ones attitudes and behaviors. For example, if a mother and father are always stressing the importance of being thin, their child may develop an eating disorder because the child knows that thinness is so crucial to the parents. Also, suffering physical and sexual abuse may lead a person to an eating disorder because they see it as a way to control something in their lives. Aside from family, pressure from peers and the society around us can contribute to the growing number of Anorexics. Since surroundings are so influential on us all, what surrounds us more than the media? When one looks at the media today, it is difficult not to notice the fashion industry. One model endorses an exerciser; another endorses a diet plan even when these people obviously don’t need the items. To look at the fashion models, who are much thinner than the average American woman, one can clearly see that underneath the season’s hottest new trends the taller-than-average women are very, very slender almost to the point of being gaunt. For example, Kate Moss (nicknamed Skeleton ), one of Calvin Klein’s most popular supermodels, sports the figure of the newest look for the fashion industry: the waif. This is the look that the media portrays to the public today while millions of children and adults look on. According to Harmon & Nadelson, studies show that children as young as six years of age see themselves as overweight and look up to such personalities of the fashion world as Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and the before-mentioned Kate Moss; all of whom are extremely thin. Society seems to teach the people that they have to look a certain way to be successful and accepted. Anorexia Nervosa itself has certain characteristics, signs one might say, concerning the thought processes, the physical aspects, and the eating patterns associated to it. The previously discussed psychological factors that lead up to an eating disorder like depression, low self-esteem, and obsession, all may lead to insomnia, mood swings, hyperactivity, and suicide in Anorectics (Simon, 1995). The expressions of their emotions are dulled, with their ability to communicate emotions limited (Simon, 1995).

The physical signs are quite startling as well. These signs include an irregular heartbeat, the person is often cold and has frequent headaches, a tingling sensation in the hands, feet, and face, (this is due to vitamin deficiencies, such as the vitamin potassium), dizziness, lightheadedness and feeling faint, blood in a person’s vomit, bruised or callused knuckles and fingers from induced vomiting, dry skin, brittle hair or loss of hair, and amenorrhea1 (Simon, 1995). Victims lose 15 % of their total body weight with a failure to gain the weight back (Simon, 1995). Other symptoms of anorexia may include the person complaining of musculoskeletal pain, intolerance of cold, hypo tension, dry skin, brittle hair and nails, dental deterioration, and muscle wasting (Simon, 1995). The eating behavior of the anorectic may look similar to the following: As devastating as Anorexia Nervosa is, it can be treated. The very basic principle of treatment is this: to prevent death by starvation (Robbins, 1998). This often entails the patient being admitted to a hospital program for monitoring, followed by an outpatient program after improvement is noted. While being treated as an in-patient, the person should be weighed in the morning, after urination (Robbins, 1998). The daily fluid intake should also be monitored. The restroom should be taken off-limits for a minimum of two hours after eating to prevent induced vomiting (Robbins, 1998). The daily calorie intake should be in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 calories and be gradually increased to allow for the body to adjust to the new amounts of food (Robbins, 1998). The treatment in males with anorexia nervosa differs slightly from the treatment for women. The in-patient treatment is perhaps needed if it is a severe case, with emaciation and other complications becoming shockingly apparent. Many males are managed on a The next area to address is how anorexia affects athletes. Some may question why athletes would even want to deprive their bodies in such a way. For some, the reason is just this: Anorexia delays puberty, lending time to the budding female athlete to maintain her boyish figure, the muscular shape giving time to her until the fatty deposits on the breasts and hips form, which may disturb her competitive edge. The athletes who are at the highest risk for anorexia are female athletes and dancers: ballerinas, figure skaters, gymnasts, along with the endurance sports such as track and cross-country. The male sports where athletes are most at risk are wrestling and those in lightweight rowing. The estimate of the athletes with eating disorders goes as high as sixty to seventy percent (Robinson, 1998). With such a competitive field in sports, perfectionism is generally present, and as mentioned before, is a sign of anorexia. After reviewing such a disturbing topic, I can see why this has become a major dilemma in our society. I totally agree with out a doubt that a lot to do with the eating disorders in this country have a lot do with media and how the American people portray the perfect person. Just like the Kate Moss example, many people hardly even consider that type of clothes she models. Hell, hardly anyone could fit into her clothes. So many of the ads don t pertain to the average person. With this outlook, some people feel that they are not normal and should become what they think is popular. This also applies to how us other Americans look at people. I know I have done this as have a lot of other people. When a person walks in the room and is very overweight we think automatically how gross it is. Or how that person is way to big to wear that clothing he or she has on. I know this is bad and a major reason why our society is the way it is. I must say, I don t look down on people that are overweight. But I do. In conclusion, Anorexia Nervosa greatly affects all who are touched by it. Boyfriends, girlfriends, best friends, and close family all feel the icy finger of pain as they see the one they love try to fight such an overwhelming battle. The information given in this paper is just touching briefly on what can happen to someone who is fighting such a battle within themselves. With these cases becoming more and more apparent in today’s world, more are also being spotted in the world of athletics. It is important that people are aware of these problems, know how to spot eating disorders, and help someone else or themselves overcome something like Anorexia.

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