Eating Disorder: Anorexia Essay, Research Paper
Eating Disorder: Anorexia Nervosa
It is not easy to understand a person suffering from Anorexia. People suffering from anorexia take dieting to extremes (kubersky 37). Every second and/or minute, they spend figuring out how to avoid eating. They make up reasons to explain to their loved ones why they barely touched their food at the dinner table. Usually they exercise a lot to lose more weight. Even when they are really thin, they see themselves as fat. It is as if the mirror plays tricks on them and lies to them about how they look, but it is their mind that is playing tricks on them.
I had a very close friend who was anorexic. Her name was Cindy and she was a beautiful 16-year-old girl. At that age everyone adored her: her friends, her teachers, her parents, etc. She lived with her parents in a beautiful house. She was on the honor roll in school. She was very athletic, being on the track team, field-hockey team, soccer team, and the girls basketball team. She was also musically talented; she was on the choir and played the piano. She was also the editor-in-chief of her high school yearbook. She was popular and was the president of her class. To other kids it seemed as if Cindy at it all. However, no one really knew what she was up to. Towards the middle of our sophomore year in high school, my friends and I began to notice that she was losing a lot of weight. Thinking that she was on a diet, we complimented her on her weight loss. Then we noticed that she was not only getting thin, but acting differently too. She stopped hanging out with us, because she wanted to be more by herself now. She always managed to have an excuse for not hanging out with us anymore, and she avoided most of the social activities.
At home, her parents noticed the changes too. They were worried by how thin she had gotten. They never saw her eat because Cindy had so many different excuses to explain why she was never hungry. She would say that she had just had a snack; or she would say that she had stopped off for a pizza with us before coming home from school. At first, her parents didn t think anything of that; they thought that she was fine. Besides, she had so much energy with all the school activities she was in. She exercised a lot, and she kept up with her schoolwork. But Cindy became even thinner and paler. She began to look quite sick. Cindy s mother even noticed that her supply of tampons had not been touched in months, so she became worried. She realized that Cindy was ill.
Cindy s mother immediately made an appointment with the family doctor. However, it was not easy to persuade Cindy to go see the doctor. She did not believe anything was wrong with her. In fact, she was so happy with her weight loss that she planned to go on dieting. She was even convinced that she looked healthy and beautiful, which she was not.
People living with the illness often have a low self-esteem and a great need to control their surroundings and emotions. In fact, according to American Anorexia Bulimia Association (AABA), one percent of teenage girls in the U.S. develops anorexia nervosa and up to 10% of those may die as a result. Usually, the Eating Disorder is a unique result of a group of external and internal conflicts, such as stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. Anorexia is a negative way to cope with these emotions. Anorexia Nervosa is a disorder, which is concerned with dieting, and thinness that leads to an extreme weight loss. Anorexics have an intense fear of fat, and their concern with food and weight often hides other basic mental problems (www.sfwed.com).
In fact, the thing that causes the mind to misthink in this way is completely unknown; there may be many reasons. Some doctors believe that the anorexics do not want to face adulthood. By keeping his or her body thin (preventing it from growing properly), the person suffering from anorexia may be expressing a fear of growing up (Kubersky 30). Another belief is that people with eating disorder, such as anorexia, wants attention. They believe that if they starve themselves, they can prove themselves to be special and unique; thus, they can feel important and improve their self-confidence. Also, studies show that eating disorders may run in families, especially among female members (Kubersky 30). This happens because the mother s behavior strongly affects her daughter. Studies show that mothers who stress a lot about her daughter s weight and appearance increase the risk that their daughters will develop an eating disorder, such as anorexia (Kubersky 32).
However, the main cause of an eating disorder is the media, such as the magazines, the television, the radio, and even the Internet. In fact, I found an article on the Internet at www.AFPA.com on exercising, and the article is called How to Shake-up your Workout, by Mellissa Joulwan. Basically, the article is about how to work out, what to do and what not to do when working out. For instance, Pick a race or community fun run, select a challenging hill and vow you’ll ride your bike to the top one day, promise yourself you’ll shave 5-10 seconds off your 100-yard swim time, try to walk forty minutes instead of thirty … choose a goal and work toward it. You’ll not only have that extra motivation you need to stick to your workout routine, when you reach your goal you’ll look in the mirror and see the strong athlete you’ve had inside you all along. Sure, that sound great and very motivating, but does it really work? If a teenager tries this program out, he or she will expect changes in matter of days. If they do not see and changes then they will not only be upset with this program, as well as the other programs, but will decide to lose weight in a different way. A different way that is not only unhealthy but also could cause harm to their body, like becoming anorexia. Also, the media show too many skinny people, who are not the average people. So when the media has an opportunity to influence teenagers, and adults to exercise so they could look like the fake models on the television or in a magazine, teenagers will do anything to look like the models, even if it harms them. Therefore, they will not see themselves in the mirror as the strong athlete person they should look like, but they will see a pale, very skinny, sick person.
The individual may not recognize that his or her weight loss or not eating at all is a problem. Anorexics may be afraid of losing control over the amount of food they eat; thus, they want to control their emotions, and reactions to their emotions. With a low self-esteem and need for acceptance they will turn to obsessive dieting and starvation as a way to control not only their weight, but their feelings and actions concerning the emotions attached (www.healthcentral.com). Some also feel that they do not deserve pleasure out of life and will deny themselves of situations offering pleasure, including eating.
There are a lot of external and internal danger signs of anorexia. Some of the physical signs that can be seen are loss of a significant amount of weight, as well as loss of hair. Also, Anorexics have a growth of fine body hair on arms, legs, and other parts of their body, and they have dry brittle skin. Other physical signs that cannot be seen are cold hands and feet; they have a feeling that they are still fat, even after losing massive weight, as well as, intense fear of weight gain. Anorexics also have a shortness of breath and faint spells. Women who are anorexics have a loss of monthly menstrual periods. Anorexics tend to diet in isolation; they also cook for others as sense of control and lie a lot about food Some of the behavior signs for Anorexics are obsessive exercise, calorie and fat gram counting, starvation and restriction of food, and the use of diet pills, laxatives or/and diuretics to attempt controlling weight (Kinoy 7).
Anorexics and others do not know that this disease can cause their organs to shrink, which is unhealthy. Also, anorexia nervosa causes bone mineral loss, which can lead to osteoporosis, as well as low body temperature and low blood pressure. Anorexia Nervosa can slow the metabolism and reflexes, and can cause irregular heartbeat; which can lead to cardiac arrest (www.aaba.com)
The depression, shame and agonizing sense of isolation caused by eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa affects families, schooling, damages careers with promises, and destroys relationships. Without treatment, the future for men and women with eating disorders is depressing. But with psychological counseling and medical evaluations (sometimes in combination with nutritional counseling and medication), people can recover. Sufferers can develop appropriate inner resources and look forward to living normal, productive and happy lives.