What is Anorexia nervosa? “Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is characterized by the refusal to sustain a healthy weight.” (Kumar, Tung, & Iqbai). Many believe that anorexia is more common amongst Caucasian women, but anorexia occurs throughout all cultures and races. “Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.” (Kumar, Tung, & Iqbai). Every major organ with in the human body is affected greatly because of the malnutrition that anorexia causes. When people with anorexia look in the mirror they see a distorted image in the reflection rather than what is reality. Victims of anorexia see themselves as being obese or huge when in actuality they may be average size and weight for their age and height range. Once a person is officially diagnosed with anorexia nervosa it is extremely hard for them to return to normal. Not only is it hard for a person with anorexia to recover, it is also extremely easy to have a relapse at any time. It takes a lot of intense therapy along with proper treatment to cure someone with anorexia. Anorexia is found in every culture and race; it varies amongst African Americans differently as opposed to other cultures. “Symptoms of anorexia nervosa include an intense fear of gaining weight, refusal to keep body weight up, and amenorrhea for 3 consecutive months.” (Kumar, Tung, & Iqbai). “Amenorrhea is the abnormal absence of menstruation. Some other symptoms of anorexia nervosa are lanugo, joint swelling, dental cavities, tooth loss, and abdominal distension.” (Kumar, Tung, & Iqbai). “Lanugo is the growth of fine white hair that grows when anorexics have no body fat left to keep themselves warm (Kumar, Tung, & Iqbai). There also tends to be changes in the endocrine and metabolic systems that encourage anorexia patients to further constrain their diet. “People with anorexia have major impairments in psychological functioning, severe medical complications, and is associated with psychiatric morbidity.” (Carter). Anorexia has also been known to cause bone loss in individuals who have severe cases. It is very obvious why individuals with anorexia nervosa could possibly suffer from bone loss, because in order for an individual to have strong and healthy bones they must consume adequate amounts of calcium in their diet, but people who are diagnosed with anorexia barely eat enough calories to survive. Symptoms of anorexia are frightening and make you wonder, how someone would ever want to do this to their body and feel good about it? This is very confusing and difficult to understand for people who don’t live with this condition.
“The treatment of anorexia nervosa is clinically challenging because of a lack of clear understanding of the underlying neuropsychiatric changes. Unlike other mental illnesses, effective pharmacological interventions for anorexia nervosa have not been identified.” (Kumar, Tung, & Iqbai,). It is not very surprising that people with anorexia nervosa tend to resist treatment and still have that negative image of themselves in their minds. “Nutritional rehabilitation and weight restoration, frequently involving a period of day hospital or inpatient treatment, often constitutes the first step in the recovery process.” (Carter). “There was preliminary evidence found by researchers, Pike and a colleague, that individual cognitive behavior therapy was superior to nutritional counseling in preventing relapse following inpatient weight restoration. Although there was sufficient evidence to support this study, there was another study conducted by Kaye and colleagues that determined the antidepressant medication, fluoxetine, was superior in preventing...
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