Eating Disorders: Anorexia

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It has been stated that nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder. This paper will show the danger and effects of Anorexia Nervosa. A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that ten percent of anorexics die within ten years after contracting the disease. Anorexia has four primary symptoms Resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height. Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat,” even though underweight. Disturbance in the experience of body weight or shape, undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight, loss of menstrual periods in girls and women post-puberty. Eighteen to twenty percent of anorexics will be dead after twenty years and only forty percent ever full recover. Treatment of an eating disorder in the US ranges from %500 per day to about $2,00 per day. The average cost for a month of inpatient treatment s about $30,00. It is estimated that individuals with eating disorders need anywhere from three o six months of inpatient care. Health insurance companies for several reasons do not typically cover the cost of treating eating disorders.

Do you ever think that right now, one percent of all women are starving themselves, some literally starving and exercising themselves to death? Eating disorders are becoming an epidemic; they are confusing, complex diseases that many people know little about. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes people to obsess about their weight and the food they eat. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia nervosa may starve themselves or exercise excessively. Anorexia Nervosa is described as “one of the least understood and most intractable of all mental illnesses” (Schindehette, Sandler, Nelson and Seaman, 2003, p. 136). Many of the victims of this disease will battle it for the rest of their lives. However, if Anorexia Nervosa is diagnosed early, during the teen years, it is possible to cure it with appropriate treatment (Cooper, 2001). Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is actually secondary to concerns about control and/or fears relating to one's body. Therefore, women struggling with Anorexia Nervosa need effective treatment, and after four decades of research, there is an increasing number of treatment options ranging from counseling, to nutritional therapy, to medication. Yet, some researchers and victims still advocate that there is a need for further research in this area (Kaplan, 2002; Hendricks, 2003). In order to formally diagnose an individual with Anorexia nervosa, clinicians turn to the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV, 1994). The DMS-IV lists four criteria that an individual must meet in order to be diagnosed as anorexic, generally:

A. The individual maintains a body weight that is about 15% below normal for age, height and body type.
B. The individual has an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though they are underweight. Paradoxically losing weight can make the fear of gaining even worse.
C. The individual has a distorted body image. Some may feel fat all over, others recognize that they are generally thin but see specific body parts as being too fat. Their self worth is based on their body size and shape. They deny that their low body weight is serious cause for concern.

D. In women, there is an absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. A woman also meets these criteria if her period occurs only while she is taking a hormone pill (Orstoff, M & Hall, L. 1999). Recognizing symptoms, such as strict dieting, weight loss, binge eating or fasting, feeling dizzy, weak, and/or depressed, in addition to insomnia; family members should seek out the advice...
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