Teen Anorexia Nervosa Research Paper

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Anorexia Nervosa

Teen Anorexia Nervosa

One of the main eating disorder which has gained most attention in these days is Anorexia Nervosa. An irrational fear of weight gain and restriction of food are the main characteristics of this disorder. The patients suffering from the disorder are also characterized by a disturbed self-perception of one's body image. The development of the condition takes place in teen age and adulthood. The amount of food being consumed by the patients is highly restricted based on a great fear of weight loss. A number of hormonal as well as metabolic disorders are seen in the patients with this disorder. More than 8 million Americans suffer from anorexia. Ten times more females suffer from anorexia as compared to males. More than 95% of anorexics are females (Medline Plus 2012).


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Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by two important phenomena, starvation being the primary phenomena and eating disorders being the secondary phenomena. The studies have been conducted on Anorexia Nervosa and it has been concluded that based on eating disorders, the individuals suffer from increased starvation. One of the most popular experiments that have been conducted on the topic is Minnesota Starvation Experiment. The experiment showed that the controls showed increased behavioral patterns of Anorexia Nervosa when these subjects were exposed to starvation. The studies have shown that starvation induces numerous hormonal changes. The initial weight loss is based on dieting which is supposed to be the triggering factor of Anorexia Nervosa. It occurs because the person has an initial predisposition towards Anorexia Nervosa (Otto et.al, 669).

Research Paper on Teen Anorexia Nervosa Assignment

Biological causes that initiate predisposition towards anorexia include prenatal as well as perinatal causes. Some of these causes include maternal anemia, preeclampsia, neonatal cardiac abnormalities, placental infarction, as well as diabetes mellitus. The genetic causes of Anorexia Nervosa include high heritability. Studies have reported that there is 55% to 90% chance that the gene for Anorexia Nervosa will be inherited. In addition, association studies have shown that there are more than 43 genes involved in Anorexia Nervosa. These genes control eating behaviors, reward mechanics, emotion, motivation as well as personality traits.

Third important factor includes serotonin dysregulation. One of the main areas of the brain that control anxiety, mood control and emotions is where serotonin dysregulation is the main cause of Anorexia Nervosa. Studies have concluded that serotonin dysregulation causes changes in mood, impulsive control and anxiety. These effects lead to starvation.

Another important factor seen to play important roles in the development of Anorexia Nervosa. Neuronal development and neuroplasticity is controlled by the protein Brain-derived neurotropic factor (Medline Plus 2012).

By controlling neuroplasticity, the protein controls many hypothalamic pathways. These are the pathways which in turn control various eating behaviors as well as energy homeostasis. Patients suffering from Anorexia Nervosa are the ones having lower levels of the protein Brain-derived neurotropic factor. Lesser production of the protein has also been linked with increased depression in the patients of anorexia nervosa. Studies have shown that exercises increases the levels of Brain-derived neurotropic factor.

Environmental factors have been shown to play important roles in the development of anorexia nervosa within the society. Thinning has been promoted in the girls by the media based on which girls adopt crash diets. Because of the promotion of thinning, there has been a great change in the culture. Recently, an epidemiological study was carried out on the Swedish population. More than a million Swedish residents were included in the study (Jensen, and Mejlhede, 87). The study concluded that some of the main factors that promote anorexia nervosa in the society include ethnicity, gender as well as socio-economic status. There is an increased social pressure on the people from certain societies to remain thin that also accelerates anorexia nervosa.

Signs and Symptoms

One of the main eating disorder, anorexia nervosa is characterized by the attempts to lose weight in a drastic manner, to the extent that starvation can occur. A number of signs and symptoms are exhibited by the person suffering from anorexia nervosa. In some cases, it can be seen that the symptoms may be present but may not be definable and identifiable. One of the main signs of anorexia nervosa is hypokalemia in which there is a drastic drop in the levels of potassium in the body. This is an important metal involved in the maintenance of heart rhythms, health of the muscle, movement as well as digestion. In the absence of adequate amounts of potassium in the body, there is a great increase in the constipation, muscle damage as well as paralysis. Some of the other important symptoms that are seen in the patients of anorexia nervosa include an open refusal towards the maintenance of body mass index (Fitzpatrick and Lock, 2011). Another important symptom that has been seen in anorexic girls includes Amenorrhea, which is characterized by the absence of three or four menstrual cycles. Anorexic girls are characterized by an increased fear of weight gain and to do anything to make sure that weight gain can be prevented. Fine hair growth on skin and face, also referred to as lanugo is an important symptom in anorexic people. An increased obsession with the fat content and calorie count of the food is also seen in patients suffering from anorexia. A sad, lethargic condition that is associated with depression is associated with anorexia. Because of the presence of depression, there is an increase in loneliness and solitude in the patients. There is an enlargement of the salivary glands based on which there is an increased swelling of the cheeks. Other than these, abdominal distension, muscle damage, paralysis, fatigue, weakness, bad breath, hair loss, low immunity to common colds, low blood pressures, frequent fever and sicknesses, and an increased usage of diet pills as well as laxatives (Medline Plus 2012).

Inpatient Treatment

There are two main kinds of treatments for the anorexics. These include inpatient treatment and outdoor treatment. Acute inpatient treatment consists of inpatient care that consists of patient monitoring for a period of 24 hours. One of the main kinds of services provided to the patients includes mental healthcare services that are usually provided to patients in secured units. The inpatient treatment is given to the patients in order to make sure that the behavioral issues that are seen in the patients can be managed. Anorexics are generally stubborn and less cooperative based on which the 24-hour nursing care helps in increasing motivation and cooperation between the patients and caretakers. Healthy eating patterns are to be encouraged in these patients. One of the main facts that need to be mentioned here is that the inpatient care is based on active anorexic care, rather the custodial care. some of the main services that are provided to the patients in acute inpatient treatment include diagnostic assessments as well as evaluation of the patient, referral services, treatment plans that are to be implemented on the patients, management and planning of the medications that are to be provided to the patients, case management services that are to be provided at an individual, groups and caretaker level, and most important crisis prevention and interventions that are needed at the stage of crisis (Fitzpatrick and Lock).

With the benefits that are indicated, there are some indications for the coverage of treatment to be provided to the anorexic patients in inpatient care. One of the main conditions that are specially taken care of in inpatient care of anorexics is to treat these patients in least restrictive care as these have proven to be safer and effective. It is the severity of the symptoms, the levels of risks being faced by the patients, as well as the severity of physiological and psychological implications in anorexic patients that makes sure that the inpatient care is provided to the anorexics. When patients become a risk to the others, it indicates that the patient needs inpatient care. Inpatient care is defined by the provision of skilled implementation of care so that medical monitoring can be provided to the patients. Inpatient care is provided to the anorexics that face severe deterioration in mood, cognition as well as psychiatric symptoms. These are some of the behaviors that cannot be easily managed without less restrictive environment. When the patient is an increased state of risk of functional deterioration because of the presence of extreme psychosocial stress factors that play role in undermining the roles of any treatments being given (Jensen and Mejlhede 87).


1 in 10 anorexics receive accurate inpatient care. More than 80% of the patients who access healthcare are sent home earlier, not receiving accurate healthcare. The inpatient treatment charges for anorexia ranges from U.S.$500 to U.S.$2,000 per day in U.S.. An average cost of inpatient treatment per month costs U.S.$30,000. In an overall manner, percentages of success in inpatient treatment are much lesser as compared to the outpatient treatment. Based on the clinical evidence provided by Kathleen Kara Fitzpatrick and James Lock, more than 20% success is seen in outpatient treatment as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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