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Anorexia Nervosa as Serious Disease

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    Anorexia Nervosa is a very serious disease that is plaguing many young people in our society. This is something that is becoming more and more prevalent. It is something that should not be taken lightly. I have chosen to do my Science report on this topic, because it is something intriguing and it is found in many teens. This is a topic that is too foreign to many people and they need to be educated on the subject. I hope to help that in anyway I can. In the following paragraphs I will discuss the warning signs of anorexia, the people affected by the disease, the disease itself, and certain types of treatments for the disorder.

    Firstly, I would like to discuss the warning signs of an eating disorder. The physical symptoms are much easier to identify, so I will start with them. The first and most obvious sign is extreme weight loss, which you can easily identify. To try and conceal this the anorexic will start to wear baggy clothing in an attempt to conceal the weight loss. An anorexic will also make every attempt to avoid a situation where food or meals are served. Times like this will be very uncomfortable to them, because it leaves them vulnerable to questions about their eating habits. This is something they want to avoid at all costs. Another part of avoiding meals is to prepare big meals for groups of people and eat very little. The anorexic will give excuses like, “I’m to tired to eat,” or, “No, that’s okay you should just eat. I prepared it for you.” This let’s them off the hook in their own mind. They make it look as they are too tired after all the hard work they have put in and usually nobody draws attention to it. An anorexic may also start to lose hair on their head or begin to grow finer hair on the body. This is one sign that you will want to look for if you have the opportunity. It will be a very accurate sign of an eating disorder. Also, a person with an eating disorder will show different types of emotional and mental symptoms. A few of the more obvious symptoms are depression, being grouchy, temperamental, and withdrawal. These are the most common signs of a person with anorexia. However, you must be very careful when assuming that a person has an eating disorder. It should not be confused with mood swings caused by trouble with friends or at home. These symptoms are usually with the person most of the time, not just periodically. They are usually accompanied by some of the physical signs. There are a few other signs that an anorexic person may have but are hard to identify with such as fear of gaining weight and perfectionist tendencies. These are harder to identify because they can be confused with other feelings or easily concealed. You should not confuse goal setting and high aspirations with perfectionist tendencies and if the person exercises daily it does not mean they are afraid of weight gain. By using common sense you can easily identify if a person has signs that are serious. That is the time you need to take action. In closing, there are many ways to identify an eating disorder, but you must do it with carefulness and thinking.

    Next, I will talk about the people that are most commonly affected by anorexia and who is most likely to get it. So far, I have talked about the different warning signs that you will find in anorexia. Now I will talk about what type of people to look for it in and it will give you a better idea of a person that could have it. The first thing I would like to make clear, is that any person can have an eating disorder. Statistics show different groups with anorexia, but the truth is that anyone can develop anorexia. After surveys, doctors have found that the age group where you will most commonly find anorexic people is between the ages of 13 to 21. Doctor’s believe that these people are more at risk because of being exposed to people that are very judgmental and analyze them. This makes the person feel that they have to stay a certain way for the people around them. In other words, these people are afraid of being rejected by their peers for being too fat. The age groups can vary from as young as six years of age to as old as seventy-six years old. This is very uncommon, but it will happen on occasion. Anorexia will be found in younger people most of the time. The sex of the person also plays a great role in what type of person will develop anorexia. Anorexia is found in women more than men. There is one theory behind this. Doctors and psychologists believe that the media has a lot to do with the fact that women get anorexia more often. Magazines show people pictures of women that are practically skeletons and then people start to believe that this the way to look. People do not realize that this is physically impossible without teetering on the edge of death. Women see this in their magazines so it affects them more. Some men are affected when they strive to have thin muscular bodies, because it can lead to the disease called Anorexia athletica. It is compulsive exercising and is most commonly found in males. It is still very serious, because the person can become so caught up in physical fitness that they lose control of their lives and everything else. Anorexia athletica is the pursuit for the perfect body and like anorexia nervosa, it can be deadly. The background of an anorexic person can vary from situation to situation. Many times they develop the disease because of problems with their family or social life. It is usually the people around them that “force” them to become anorexic. They will insult them or pick on them to the point where they feel the need to be perfect. People from dysfunctional families also develop eating disorders more frequently. In closing, any person of any background of any age can develop an eating disorder. There is not set characteristic of an anorexic person, but you should always keep your eye on a person that you suspect may have the disease.

    Thirdly, I would like to talk more about the disease itself and the future things it can lead to. Causes of anorexia are usually started by mental problems. That is why it is more commonly found in teens. If a person is experiencing a lot of problems or stress it could cause them to stop eating and stay away from people. Many people are forced to this by the attitudes of other people. As I previously said, anorexia can develop by comparing yourself to super models. The bodies people see are nearly unobtainable, yet people will strive to look like them. This is when young girls will usually develop the disease. It sometimes will happen as a group. A bunch of girls will develop anorexia after watching a movie or reading a magazine with a thin girl that makes millions of dollars. Males will usually develop the disease when in sports activities. They will be trying to keep the body for that sport, but they will be harming themselves at the same time. They may also develop anorexia while comparing themselves to other males that seem popular or get attention from both sexes. Complications of anorexia vary in severity. Some people may get very weak or unstable and other people may die. That shows just how serious this disease really is. Anorexia can damage body organs as well as muscles. It is very serious for a person with the disease to be treated, because 20% of untreated people die from the disorder. It is very important to get a person help immediately if they have the disease. Future complications of anorexia become very dangerous if the disorder is untreated. It can lead people to several things, but it depends on the person. Some people may develop bulimia nervosa, which is an eating disorder that involves self induced vomiting. This is just as dangerous as anorexia and when the two are mixed together they provide a deadly force. Anorexia athletica is a different disorder which involves excessive dieting and extreme activity. This is, once again, more prevalent in males or extremely active females. Binge eating is another disorder that can accompany anorexia. This is a series of compulsive over eating and then self induced vomiting. It will happen frequently and repeatedly in the person’s life. The person will feel guilty or ashamed of this and try very hard to conceal their problem. In conclusion, anorexia and other eating disorders are slowly taking over are society. People must be educated on the topic so that they can help solve the problem for these young people.

    Anorexia is a very complex disease and you must treat it very delicately. Some people are very reluctant to admit the fact that they have a problem. You must present it to them in a way that will not make them feel inferior and weak. In this paragraph, I will try to help you in confronting the disease and how to treat it. The first step you must take if you suspect someone you know has anorexia, you should gain knowledge on the subject. It is always good to have an idea of what you are talking about before you handle a serious situation. You may make the matter worse if you do not know what is going on. There are many ways that you can obtain information on the subject. You can look in books, magazines, and on web sites. After researching anorexia, you should gently approach the person that is suffering from the disorder. Try not to follow a negative approach, because people with eating disorders tend to have very sensitive emotions. The slightest thing can make them very unhappy. You should just let them know that you are there to talk to and if they need any assistance to come and get you. This can be the hardest part of confronting the disease, but succeeding in identifying their problem. You must be persistent without pressuring the person or they may not seek any help. Once you get them to talk with you, you have a number of options. You can send the person to a doctor for a full medical exam. It will show them the damage they are causing their body and it will promote change. If it is not as serious you can suggest the person to go to a nutritionist. A nutritionist will help the anorexic establish a new diet that is healthy for them. It will help them realize that they can be thin while being healthy. They could also receive psycho therapy. Many times anorexia is a mental disorder that can be repaired by therapy. It is usually placed in the head of a person and can be drawn out with extensive work. In conclusion, there are many ways to attack anorexia and with help it can be conquered.

    In conclusion, anorexia is a very serious disease that can not be taken lightly. Every year many people are affected by it for various reasons. We are just now starting to realize the seriousness of what can happen to people. Any person can develop this disease and it is devastating for them and their family. It is heartbreaking to see a person develop this, because it hurts them mentally and physically. In our society, too many people are being told how to think and look and that is greatly damaging us. This disease should not be happening, because people should not try to change themselves for a nonexistent perfect image. I sincerely hope that we can better understand the thought process of this disease, because it will help many people be safe from a disease that we should not even have to discuss.

    Anorexia Nervosa ANRED Website Internet. 3 March 2000. Available at

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    Bulimia Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia CD-ROM. Funk and Wagnall’s Corporation, 1996.

    Gilbert, Sara Dulaney. The Unofficial Guide to Managing Eating Disorders. IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 2000

    Moe, Barbara. Coping With Eating Disorders. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc./ New York, Revised Edition 1995.

    Nadelson, Carol C. M.D. Encyclopedia of Psychological Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa:Starving For Attention. Chelsea House Publishers, Philadelphia, 1999

    Smith, Erica. Anorexia Nervosa: When Food Is The Enemy. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc./ New York, 1999

    Vollstadt, Elizabeth Weiss. Teen Eating Disorders. Lucent Books, California, 1999

    Ward, Christie L. Compulsive Eating: The Struggle To Feed The Hunger Inside. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc./ New York, 1998

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