Term Paper: Anorexia Nervosa

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[. . .] It was clear from environmental influences (e.g., peers family and media) that obesity was not acceptable. I heard enough derogatory "fat" comments and witnessed enough pointed fingers while growing up to know that I didn't ever want to be shunned and ridiculed like that. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that to be beautiful and popular, you needed to be thin." It is indeed a very serious matter especially for teenagers to have to face such emotional difficulties as Christy states-"As a teenager, I wanted to avoid feeling self-hatred and disgust. I grew tired of looking at myself and being repulsed by what I saw in the mirror, so I starved myself in an attempt to drop pounds and pick up friends. I convinced myself that if I were thin, I'd be accepted and liked by those around me."

Despite the raised awareness of this serious disorder there is still too much laxity in attitude of some people towards diagnosing and treating anorexia nervosa. More and more awareness has been raised now that public celebrities and athletes have disclosed their personal battle, But icons such as the late Princess Diana of Wales may have romanticized these illnesses and made them appear less serious and life threatening than they are. Many physicians and other health professionals still have not been trained to recognize and treat anorexia nervosa. Physicians must continue to document the medical complications of these illnesses in reputable journals. The focus must shift from the psychiatric to the medical.

Anorexia nervosa is indeed a serious problem that continues to plague societies. The treatment must not only involve medical intervention but also emotional support particularly from the family and friends. (Steiner 352-359) points out another reason for the difficulties in dealing with anorexia nervosa. According to him. "The course of anorexia nervosa is variable. Some patients recover completely after the index episode. Others develop a fluctuating course of weight gains and losses. Still others remain in a chronically deteriorating course. More than a third have recurrent affective illnesses, and suicide has been reported in up to 5% of patients with chronic anorexia nervosa. Although vocational and academic functioning may be good, psychological and social impairment persists even after weight restoration."

However it is important to note that eating disorders are much easier to prevent than to cure. Parents are in the best position to do the work. It is most important to create a healthy environment for the growth of the child's self-esteem and to counter the destructive media messages about body image. Parents must learn not to criticize their own and other's appearance and not allow others to tease their children about appearance. The importance of being fit and healthy as opposed to thin must be emphasized. They must also encourage healthy eating rather than dieting. The Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. reports some hope. They report that "in recent years it has become politically correct for the media to make some effort to combat eating disorders. There have been efforts in magazine articles and TV sows to highlight the perils and heartbreak of anorexia and its related disorder bulimia. These efforts are not yet enough, however.

Works Cited

Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. "Causes of Anorezia Nervosa." Retrieved from www.anred.com/causes.html

Fouts Gregory. "Television situation comedies, female body images and verbal reinforcements." Sex Roles: A journal of Research. March 1999.

Hertger-Casbon, Christy. "Back from the brink." American Fitness March 2000.

Hittner, Patricia. "Dying to be thin." Better Homes and Garden. August 1997.

Lock, James. "Innovative family-based treatment for anorexia nervosa." The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter. April 2001.

LoBuono, Charlotte. "Identifying and managing eating disorders." Patient Care November 2001.

Steiner, Hans. "Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in children and adolescents: A review of the past ten years." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 37:352 (1998):352-359.

Tenore, Josie L. "Challenges in eating disorders: Past and present." American Family Physicians. August 2001.

Trans, Mai. "Aneroxia Nervosa." Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine. Retrieved from www.findarticles.com/cf_0/92603/0001/263000162/p1/article.jhtml

Wonderlich, Stephen A. et al. "Relationship of childhood sexual abuse and eating disturbance in children." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 39 (2000): 1277-1283. [END OF PREVIEW]

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