Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder and mental health condition. It means loss of appetite due to nerves. It involves lowering food intake, over exercising and can be life threatening. People suffering from anorexia may have distorted images of themselves, leading them to believe they’re overweight when they’re not. Often people suffering with the disorder attempt to hide their behaviour from the people close to them by lying about their eating patterns. Anorexia is characterised by the body mass index being below a healthy number i.e. less than 17.5 in adults or 85% of the expected weight in children, a strong fear of putting on weight, the creation of rules regarding how much food is allowed and how much exercise needs to be done, sufferers perception of the ‘ideal’ weight being lower than it should. (Lein, 2013).
Who is effected
Anorexia affects all sorts of people. It is extremely common with about 1 in 20 teenagers getting it. Female anorexics outnumber males 10:1 and more than 90 percent of those who suffer with the disorder are adolescent and young adult women. It is suggested that the reason women in this age group are particularly vulnerable to eating disorders is because of their tendency to go on strict diets to achieve an "ideal" figure. Five to twenty percent of cases of anorexia nervosa leads to death, most cases from starvation, cardiac arrest, or suicide (Ohio State University, 2000s). However, all ages are affected and it has recently increased in males. (Newson, 2012). In men, the disorder is more often diagnosed in homosexuals than in heterosexuals. Experts believe that a number of people diagnosed with anorexia are severe cases and that many more people have anorexic tendencies but are not severe enough to be medically diagnosed (Answers, 2013). Symptoms
Anorexia is a disorder which the cause is unknown. However, it is believed that there are a combination of causes which are psychological, environmental and biological factors which lead to certain behaviours. Therefore there are three different types of symptoms; physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms. The main physical symptom is deliberate loss of weight. People suffering with anorexia limit the amount of food they eat to control how their body looks. (Newson, 2012) Other physical symptoms include the stopping of periods or delayed development in puberty, loss of hair, tiredness, dizziness and becoming a ‘perfectionist’. (Beat, 2010) There are also psychological symptoms which can be an inner ‘voice’ telling the sufferer they don’t deserve to eat and a lack of concentration on anything other than food. It is believed that people suffering from anorexia nervosa have a wrong perception of their body size. They believe that they are overweight when they are extremely underweight and from this develop a phobia of gaining weight. (Newson, 2012). As a result of these symptoms, the behaviour of those suffering with anorexia is effected and can result in exercising excessively, having obsessive behaviours, lying about eating and being secretive. Effects of anorexia
There are a number of health risks related to anorexia. They are the effects of under eating (starvation) and even the methods used to get rid of eaten food including vomiting and excessive taking of laxatives. The first medical risk is irregular or stopped periods. The body makes hormones like oestrogen and progesterone which are kept in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovaries. These hormones produce a period by sending signals to one another. However, when signals get crossed or skipped, irregular periods are caused. (Epigee Women, 2011). There is a minimum weight for height that is necessary for the maintenance of menstruation therefore those who develop anorexia after their cycles have been established will develop irregular periods or stop menstruating when body fat falls below this threshold value. Young women who develop anorexia nervosa before...
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