One CBS News story written by Daniel Schorn tells the story of Kennedy Pieken, a girl who was just four years old when she began battling the effects of anorexia. Doctors at the Omaha Children’s Hospital suggest that her eating disorder was triggered by changes in her brain that occurred after she suffered strep throat. It was suspected that the trigger was present through genetics because her mother, Jodi Pieken, spent years battling anorexia herself. By the time Kennedy was seven, she had been in and out of the hospital more than three times because her symptoms were not improving. At such a young age this became a life or death situation for Kennedy, as she lost more than five pounds. As stated by her mother, “The way she was going, I was afraid she was going to die. I mean her hair was falling out. She looked awful.” The stress of watching her daughter suffer through the same thing as she did once before, caused Jodi’s symptoms began to relapse. Jodi went through a great deal of pain outside of the health effects caused by anorexia. She began to withdraw from her family as well as falling behind in work and other engagements; all symptoms of depression. Anorexia is a harmful disorder that debilitates patients with various negative health effects and co-disorders such as, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Clinical Depression.
Lorraine Salvage, author of Eating Disorders, describes eating disorders as “serious disturbances in eating behavior, such as extreme and unhealthy reduction of food intake or severe overeating, as well as feelings of distress of extreme concern about body shape or weight.” The specific eating disorder, anorexia nervosa is when people intentionally starve themselves with their mind set on losing weight. The Mayo Clinic Staff states that patients experiencing anorexia maintain a body weight that is far below normal for their particular height and age. People, both male and female, of any age are at risk of developing anorexia.
Approximately ten percent of patients stated that the problem began before the age of ten, thirty-three percent between the ages of eleven and sixteen, and forty-three percent between the ages of seventeen and twenty. It is evident that anorexia is most common towards adulthood. However it is uncommon for diagnosis to occur after the age of forty. Anorexia is a serious disorder that can be triggered by a variety of things.
The causes, or triggers, for anorexia fall under many categories, dealing with biological, psychological, and environmental aspects of their lives. Some of these causes may include family history, family issues, personality traits, or everyday emphasis on thinness. Family history is pertaining to genetics passed down to the next generation by a family member who has experienced anorexia. Jodi and Kennedy Pieken are an example of this. The aspect of family issues pertains to sexual, verbal, or physical abuse, as well as drug abuse by the parents, or even the absence of any particular family member. However, most cases of anorexia occur in normal homes without any extraordinary circumstances(Lucas, 7). This supports the theory that anorexia may occur because of personality traits obtained without any outer influence. Personality traits such as “competitiveness, conformity, rigidity, and perfectionism” are traits which may lead to the development of anorexia in the future. The emphasis on thinness and the “ideal image” is highly common in modern Western culture, and has been a common suspect of anorexia development because of its influence on children. Once developed, anorexia will not fail to harm patients with various negative effects.
The effects of anorexia will be harmful to patients, even if they escape the fate of death. Most are long term, negative effects that may be treated, but not reversed. This eating...