One of the eating disorder is anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to simply as anorexia, characterized by:
* self-imposed starvation
* refusal to maintain a healthy body weight,
* an obsessive fear of gaining weight, even when they are underweight
* a distorted self image.
It is a serious mental illness with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder:by some estimates, it leads to death in 10% of cases. It can cause severe complications in every major organ system in the body and it can be irreversible. Experienced treatment programs have a good success rate in restoring normal weight, but it is common for the disease to return.
It can affect everybody but anorexia usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood. It is more common in females,but may also be seen in males. The disorder is seen mainly in Caucasian women who are high academic achievers and who have a goal-oriented family or personality.
* Restrictive type: Starvation
* Type with bulimia or vomiting crises or taking of purgatives (use of laxatives, enemas, diuretics)
CAUSES = fin
The exact causes of anorexia nervosa are unknown. Many factors probablyare involved.
* The pressure from society and the media to be thin is thought to play a part. This is probably why anorexia is much more common in westernised countries.
* Personality and family environment probably play a role too. People with anorexia often have poor self-esteem (not much self-confidence) and commonly feel that they have to be perfectionists. Often there are disturbedfamily relationships. All sorts of emotions, feelings and attitudes may contribute to causing anorexia.
* There may be some genetic factor. We know this from studies of families with identical twins. If one twin has anorexia then the other has a 1 in 2 chance of getting it. This tells us that it has a tendency to run in some families and that the condition may have a genetic part. However,because not every twin gets it there are other factors too.
More and more evidence points away from the idea that conflicts within a family may contribute to this or other eating disorders. Most mental health organizations no longer support this theory.
Risk factors include:
* Being a perfectionist
* Feeling increasing concern about, or attention to, weight and shape
* Having eating anddigestive problems during early childhood
* Having a mother or father with anorexia or addictions
* Having parents who are concerned about weight and weight loss
* Having a negative self-image and a high level of negative feelings in general
* Undergoing a stressful life change, such as a new job or move, or events such as rape or abuse
IS THERE A MEDIA/CELEBRITIES INFLUENCE???This is a big question, an eternal debate. Opinions are divided on the subject. But we may think there is a media influence on anorexia.
* Media influences on body size estimation in anorexia and bulimia. An experimental study
* K Hamilton and G Waller
Department of General Practice, University of Aberdeen.
* Anorexic and bulimic women overestimate their body sizes substantiallymore than comparison women, but little is known about the factors that influence this overestimation. This study examined the influence of media portrayal of idealized female bodies in women's fashion magazines. Comparison women were not affected by the nature of the photographs that they saw, but eating-disordered women were--they overestimated more when they had seen the pictures of women thanwhen they saw photographs of neutral objects.
The media's obsession with painfully thin fashion models has contributed to the growth in eating disorders among young girls, according to the British Medical Association.
Editor of Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, defended her publication's position in the light of the BMA findings.
"All we are...
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