Anorexia nervosa is a life threatening eating disorder defined by a refusal to maintain fifteen percent of a normal body weight through self-starvation (Arnold, page26). Ninety-five percent of anorexics are women between the ages of twelve and eighteen, however, " in the past twenty years, this disorder has become a growing threat to high school and college students (Arnold, page 39)". Anorexia produces a multitude of symptoms, and if not treated, anorexia can lead to permanent physical damage or death.
Anorexic behavior is complex because it is all about the need for control. Someone suffering from anorexia has a distorted body image of himself or herself. He/she believes to be overweight, even though twenty percent of the time he/she is not (Hall, page 18). The image of being overweight causes a low self-esteem. Symptoms of low self-esteem are loneliness, inadequacy in talents, a lack of trust in people and themselves, insecurity, identification with a specific peer group, and sadness (Pettit, page 41). The media displays the ideal human body as thin and beautiful. Anorexic's lives are full of confusion and lack of control. To the anorexic, to be thin is to be in control. The state of control to the anorexic is the ideal life without confusion and difficulties. In most cases, the anorexic is intelligent; popular among his/her peers, athletic, talented, and viewed as a role model to most people he/she comes in contact with (Hall, page 71). In reality, the issues in daily living are too difficult for the anorexic resulting in a lack of control in his/her life. The anorexic's answer to a confusing life is to starve the body. The behavioral symptoms of the anorexia are counting calories, eating little food, baking treats for everyone and giving them away in hope of controlling not only the anorexic's intake of his/her food, but also others (Arnold, page 53). "Playing" with food at meal times is common behavior of the anorexic. When... [continues]
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