Most of us have heard at least one story of an emaciated teen age girl who starves herself because she’s convinced she’s fat. But despite anorexia’s TV – talk show familiarity, misconceptions about it abound. As a result, many sufferers can often go moths or even years before someone notices that they’re sick and steers them toward help. Some teenage girls go through this kind of disorder at different times of their lives. This kind of illness brings about many changes – physically to emotional to psychological. The nature of the disease is such that an anorexic person can almost never bring herself to consciously acknowledge that she’s ill. This is why it’s important for family, friends and healthcare providers to be aware of the symptoms and offer aid.
What is “anorexia nervosa”? How does it affect that life of a teenager? What are its signs and symptoms? And what are the possible treatments for this kind of disorder?
INTERPRETATION AND ANALYSIS OF THE DATA
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes an eating disorder, characterized by extreme low body weight and body image distortion, with an obsessive fear of gaining weight. Individuals with anorexia are known to control body weight commonly through the means of voluntary starvation, purging, excessive exercise or other weight control measures, such as diet pills or diuretic drugs. While the condition primarily affects adolescent females, approximately 10% of people with the diagnosis are male. Anorexia nervosa, involving neurobiological, psychological, and social components, is a complex condition that can lead to death in severe cases.
The term anorexia is of Greek origin: a (prefix of negation), n (link between two vowels) and orexis (appetite), thus meaning of a lack of desire to eat.
“Anorexia Nervosa” is frequently shortened to “anorexia” in the popular media. This is technically incorrect, as the term “anorexia” used separately refers to the medical symptom of reduced appetite. (wikipedia.com, 2001)
Anorexia nervosa, or simply anorexia, is a physical illness in which the sufferer basically starves herself. Clinically, a person is anorexic if she has 85 percent or less of the normal body weight for someone of her age and height, yet continues to fast or diet. An estimated one percent of teenage girls and women in their twenties have the disease. It’s a serious condition that can cause grave health problems if untreated. About 20 percent of cases of anorexia end in death by suicide or starvation – one of the highest death rates of all the psychiatric illness. Although the disorder is less common in men (who make up about 10 percent of all cases), research suggests the number of men with anorexia has been growing in the last decade. (ahealthyme.com, 2003)
This disorder is characterized by self-imposed dietary limitations, behavior directed toward losing weight, peculiar patterns of handling food, weight loss, disturbance of body image, and in women, amenorrhea. It is one of the few psychiatric illnesses that may have a course that is unremitting until death (Kaplan and Sadock, M.d., 1991).
Anorexia is an illness that usually occurs in teenage girls, but it can also occur in teenager boys, and adult women and men. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They lose a lot of weight and are terrified of gaining weight. They believe they are fat even though they are very thin. Anorexia isn’t just a problem with food or weight. It’s an attempt to use food and weight to deal with emotional problems. (familydoctor.org, 2002)
This is a serious, occasionally chronic, and potentially life threatening eating disorder defined by a refusal to maintain minimal body weight within 15 percent of an individual’s normal weight. Other essential features of this disorder include denial of the seriousness of the illness and amenorrhea (absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles...