The Monster in Our Heads- Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

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“ The Monster in Our Heads”-Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

We all have a “ self image” of ourselves we wished we had to boost our confidence in ourselves. Jennifer was 17 when she was admitted to a medical facility in Arizona because she was at risk of dying due to the fact she was starving herself. She was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is a life-threatening eating disorder defined by a refusal to maintain body weight within 15 percent of an individual's minimal normal weight. Other essential features of this disorder include an intense fear of gaining weight, a distorted body image, and amenorrhea (absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles when otherwise expected to occur) in women. Theories about the causes of anorexia nervosa include the psychological, biological, and environmental. Anorexia Nervosa has been a topic I always wanted a more understanding about. I grew up around people having this disorder because it was a main issue in the ballet world. Researchers found that athletes such as ballerinas, gymnasts, and swimmers are thought to be at high risk of Anorexia (Thompson). Ballet dancers have to meet a specific image and weight which is to be long and lean. It’s found that dancers compared to other athletes are prone to be at the top percentage of athletes being diagnosed with Anorexia

according to Rumney author of “ Dying to Please.” What I am trying to get by this is I wanted to research on what researchers seem to state about the biological, psychological and behavioral aspects of an anorectic person.

The classic anorexic patient is an adolescent girl who is bright, does well in school, and is not objectively fat. She may be a few pounds overweight and begins to diet. Anorectics tend to have a low self esteem and have a quest for perfection. They themselves are their worst critics but they praise the approval of others by recognizing their image in a good way. For some, the unresponsive love and affection of their parents can tend to lead to them thinking that they are not perfect leading them to find a way to be thin to get recognized. The lack of self definition makes them highly competitive and by that they always think everyone around them is somewhat better than themselves (Rumney). Anoretics have a sense of emptiness and to fulfill it, they develop an obsession of being thin. The sense of being in control of what they put in their bodies gives them a sense of power and accomplishment. Since body image is a main concern to them, their main focus is on food. They think about how much food they may eat, how they prepare it and the calorie content of it. Researchers seem to believe that this act of control leads to the reality of grief they may have and having the fear of failing this important task of being thin and perfect. They can start and stop tasks as for example, once they start eating a particular thing they believe that they will never stop and by that they will gain an excessive amount of weight. People with anorexia may repeatedly check their body weight and many engage in other techniques to control their weight, such as intense and compulsive exercise or purging by means of vomiting and abuse of laxatives, enemas, and diuretics. Girls with anorexia often experience a delayed onset of their first menstrual period. (Landeau)There is also the issue of a common environment that might explain the higher rates of anorexia nervosa amongst mothers and sisters. Family dynamics must come strongly into play. The boundaries between generations tend to be blurred in the families of persons with eating disorders. That is, parents and children are constantly involved in each other's problems. Other researchers point to early events in family life that cause a "paralyzing sense of ineffectiveness." In both events, perceived lack of control in ones life (due to overbearing parents, or a sense of ineffectiveness) can be associated with the...
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