Fighting Anorexia

Topics: Anorexia nervosa, Eating disorders, Family Pages: 5 (1686 words) Published: August 26, 2013
Chantay Stephenson
Experimental Variables Paper
Georgia Perimeter College

Author Note
Department of Psychology 1101 Professor Crisp
It’s only human to wish you looked different or could fix something about yourself. But when a more serious notion with being thin takes over your eating habits, thoughts, and life, it’s a sign of an eating disorder. When you have anorexia, the desire to lose weight becomes more important than anything else. You may even lose the ability to see yourself as you truly are. Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that affects people of all ages. It can damage your health and threaten your life. But you are not alone. There’s help available when you’re ready to make a change. Everyone deserves to be happy. Treatment will help you feel better and learn to value yourself

Anorexia nervosa is a serious disease. Outdated conceptions of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders often lead to strained relationships between nurses, patients, and families, and to difficulty implementing a family-centered approach to care. The age of anorexia nervosa has slipped to the youngest seen starting at the earliest age of 9 years old. Doctors have begun to research the roots of this disease. Anorexia is somewhat hard-wired, the new thinking goes, and the best treatment is a family affair. Recently researchers, clinicians and mental-health specialists say they’re seeing the age of their youngest anorexia patients decline to 9 from 13. Administrations at Arizona’s Remuda Ranch, a residential treatment program for anorexics, received so many calls from parents of young children that last year, they launched a program for children 13 years old and under; so far, they’ve treated 69 of them (Fighting Anorexia No One To Blame. Newsweek Magazine 2005, December). Some researchers contend that families may be a cause or contributing factor in the development of anorexia. This contention is based on clinical observations of apparently dysfunctional family patterns in reportedly typical “anorexic” families, and includes parental failure to encourage self-expression, lack of emotional engagement and openness, inflexibility, maternal over-involvement, critical and coercive interactions, intrusiveness hostility, conflict avoidance, and unrealistically high parental expectations. Anorexia has also been related to problems in early childhood such as insecure infant attachment and the mother’s failure to respond appropriately to her young child’s needs. Others have suggested that anorexia can have a constructive function within the family, for example, by holding together a strained parental relationship (Halse, Christine, Honey, Anne, Boughtwood, Desiree, 2008).

Newsweek “Fighting Anorexia” , General Editor Peg Tyre in November stated anorexia is a mental illness defined by an obsession with food and acute anxiety over gaining weight, has long been thought to strike teens and young women on the verge of growing up. Tyre examines the factors that may be causing a declining age of anorexia patients and new treatments for the illness. Tyre reports that there’s not a single explanation for the declining age of onset, although greater awareness on the part of parents certainly play a role. As Tyre reports, scientists are tracking important differences in the brain chemistry of anorexics. Using brain scans, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh led professor of psychiatry Dr. Walter Kaye, discovered that the level of serotonin activity in the brains of anorexics is abnormally high. These pumped up levels of hormone may be linked to feelings of anxiety and obsessional thinking, classic traits of anorexia. Kaye hypothesizes that anorexics use starvation as a mode of self-medication. How? Starvation prevents tryptophan, an essential amino acid that produces serotonin, from getting into the brain. By eating less, anorexics reduce the serotonin activity in their brain, says...
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