Реферат: What is Anorexiz Nervosa


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                                                          Savchenko Natalia


   The discussion will be on an eatingdisorder, Anorexia Nervosa, that is a huge concern of our society.  It is an eating disorder that is caused by acomplex mixture of social, psychological and physical problems and consists ofvarious conditions that involve an obsession with food, weight and appearanceto the degree where a person’s health, relationships and usual everydayactivities are threatened to fail.

    The statistics are dramatic. Anorexia has become more common indeveloping countries in the past 20 years. 50% of Anorexics recover fully,another 20% only recover physically and the reported mortality rate is 20%.Each year, approximately one out of every 200 females adolescents becomeanorexic.  About 90-95% of all people whosuffer from Anorexia Nervosa are females. The most vulnerable to this eatingdisorder are the ambitious, achieving girls between the ages of 12 and 25. However,in industrialized countries, the condition is becoming more prevalent in allage groups and both sexes. The main trait of anorexia is when body weight ismore then 15% lower then the expected one. It is caused by fear of gainingweight that embraces excessive preoccupation with food and abnormal eatinghabits. 

    Basically, it is an addiction that results in successive changes in mindand body. The progression of these changes follows an orderly and predictablepath from health to mental and physical devastation. The addiction that we aretalking about is a result of self-starvation process. This means that duringthat process a group of substances called endorphins is produced by the bodythat is very addictive. These substances play major role in causing thebehavioral and mental changes characteristic to this condition and areresponsible for perpetuating and maintaining anorectic behavior throughout allstages of addictive process.

 The addiction concept of Anorexia Nervosa is made up of 2 principles:One states that much of the anorexics actions like behavior and thinking aregoverned by the mechanism of reward. That is a person will self-administer byengaging in such behavior whereas a non-addictive substance will not cause aperson to automatically continue self-administration in order to get somepleasant experience. The second is that there is a direct causativerelationship between the state of eating and the state of mood and feelings.Which means that non-eating and weight loss promote a sense of well-being orimprovement of depressed mood via release of endorphins.

    Two types of Anorexia Nervosa are recognized: first is a simplerestriction of food. People usually starve themselves despite the hunger painsthat they suffer. The second type includes restriction of food and eitherregular purging or binging and purging together. It is done by means oflaxatives, appetite suppressants or even self-induced vomiting.

    The distinguishing dietetic trends are consumption of low-fat foods,vegetarianism and avoidance of all the sweet products. Moreover, dramaticreduction in caloric intake takes place that is many times accentuated by asignificant increase in activity. Often an aversion to foods is developed. Sucheating behavior is a cause of severe lack of macronutrients such as fats,proteins and carbohydrates as well as minerals and vitamins that make itimpossible for an organism to maintain itself in good health.

    Anorexia Nervosa also falls into a category of mental illnesses becauseit has been found that this condition is many times accompanied by other mentalillness. Common for all the anorexics is that food becomes the main object oftheir lives and it makes them feel as if it was impossible to live without it.Food becomes a dominant in all the daily regulations and judgments. And unlikeother eating disorders suffering from anorexia do not consider their weightloss and restricted eating as problematic and no matter how much they weight,the feeling of being overly fat will not abandon them. 

    Anorexia Nervosa consists of various stages. First is the Early LossPhase where a series of physical and mental changes occur as adaptation changeto promote survival. Then it is followed by an Advanced Weight Loss Phase. Itbegins when a person reaches the desired weight but is unable to stop dietingdue to the addictive function of endorphins. Brain dependency takes place,judgdements become less perceptive and objective. The third phase is theBurn-out Phase. Here the tolerance can no longer be overcomed by an individual.During this phase an anorectic feels the return of some anxiety and depressionbecause a person finds out that she or he does not cope as well as did in theprevious phases. Also because the feeling is worth, the addicted side of theanorectic’s mind makes every effort to lock in a view of herself/himself thatis in favor of self-starvation. Just like other addicts, the anorectic has tohit the proverbial bottom before change is truly possible and has a reasonablechance to last. The anorectic has to experience the power of the addiction evenwithout being aware of it. No reasoning or threatening has anywhere near asmuch effect on the anorectic’s attitude as the painful experience of beingconsumed by the addiction, only to find out in the end that she has beenwreckled by it and has received nothing in return. At this point anorexics maygive in to urging of their parents or friends and agree to seek professionalhelp

    So what are the main forces that make people loose control over one’slives? Anorexia Nervosa is a very complex disease and wide variety of reasonsunderlie it however despite that that most specialists agree that dieting isthe basic entry line for entering the disorder.

     Anorexics themselves can be divided intotwo groups: first consist of those that have concerns related to their weight.Under the second group fall those people that have problematic relationshipwith oneself and others. The disorder is further complicated when braided withthe social demand that put great emphasis on appearance and thinness. Butgenerally it is nothing but the outcome of chronically depressed mood and theconstitutional inability to maintain an internal equilibrium.

    It is known that Anorexia nervosa affects both males and females ofdifferent age groups and ethical and racial backgrounds. However sometendencies do appear. Anorexia more often affects women. Men are affected lesspartly because it is believed that it isn’t suitable for a man that is not agay to be over concerned with his body. The greater disposition towardsAnorexia Nervosa in women can easily be reasoned. It is commonplace that allthe women magazines usually have ten times as many advertisements and articleson weight loss as man’s do. This happens because every magazine tries tosatisfy the reader’s demand. By doing that they make females bring backthoughts about their weight over and over again. And the main reason for suchinterest towards dieting is that now more then ever mankind is bombarded bythousands of images of young beautiful and extremely thin models smiling fromeverywhere: TV-screens, press and publicity boards. This fact is also directlycorrelated to the increased demand on books and articles describing the diets andexercise strategies of these ideal girls and makes women believe that each oneof them can achieve such thinness on a cost of a bit of suffering. Women mayalso start correlating model’s success to their slim bodies. These thoughts maymislead them into the idea that without it is impossible to achieve the desiredsuccess. The models surrounding us (in press, television and other sources)also create strong associations of beautiful as inseparable from thin that isanother reason of wanting to achieve these extremely thin shapes.

    Anorexia may also result from low self-esteem in attempts to obtainexternal validation by trying to match unrealistic media image. It is mostoften expressed in people who are perfectionists, have difficulties in handlingstress situations or in those that possess distort body image and areconstantly preoccupied with weight, body size and shape.

    Anorexia may be triggered from a simple remark of another person towardsan individual with low self-confidence. Or the psychological situation might beadversely affected by loss of a loved one. These situations may distortnaturally weak psychological balance giving a push towards this eatingdisorder.   

    Moreover, correlation has been established between emotional, physicaland sexual abuse. And since females are abused more often then males, this factserves as another reason that explains the higher percentage of cases amongwomen than men.

    Another major source of Anorexia Nervosa lies in sports that put greatemphasis on weight and appearance. The examples are: gymnastics, bodybuilding,ballet and distance running. In these cases competition stands out as the mainengine that generates the eating disorder.

     In addition to all the above mentioned,Anorexia nervosa may have age-related origins. When young people during theirpuberty period experience many natural body changes. They are often perceivedas uncontrolled and undesirable and excessive dieting may be seen as a mean ofbringing back the control that leads to development Anorexia Nervosa. And onthe other extreme when women get older life changes and other problems starttriggering the danger of falling into this eating disorder. For most of them itis the stress of middle life such as menopause, conflict about sex and socialpressure that demands from women to stay young or otherwise will be displace bya younger rival either in her social or personal life.

     Some cases of young people may result fromexcessive attempt of their parents to control their child’s weight. Usually theexpected effect is not achieved, instead that makes teenagers doubt about theirappearance and disturb the self-esteem that is often based on the parent’sapproval.

    At last, few cases have been reported where eating disorders occurred invarious generations within a family that suggests us that genetic prepossessiondoes play an important role in occurrence Anorexia Nervosa.

    All the above-mentioned factors act on a person making him/her loosecontrol over dieting, that finally result in Anorexia Nervosa. This eatingdisorder has many adverse consequences as one’s body, psychology and sociallife. First of all body’s regulatory mechanisms are seriously disturbed. Andthe longer behavior persists worth are the consequences and harder it is togive up the addiction. Anorexia Nervosa is a disease of malnutrition withsevere after-effects. Particularly lack of proteins can cause “cannibalism” ofan organism (auto digestion). Osteoporosis is very likely to occur under thesecircumstances. Insufficient fat intake is the main cause of poor absorption offat-soluble vitamins. General

effects experienced by anorexics aresensitivity to cold and heat, headaches, fatigue, weakness and fainting. Onceit gets to physical complications the heart, the blood pressure, thegastrointestinal system, teeth and gums, lever and kidney can all be affected.Various difficulties with concentration and thinking may also be experienced.Usually anorexics perceive distorted surrounding situation and can not evaluateit well. On the social level the sense of isolation causes families to fallapart, serves as barrier for good schooling, destroys even very promisingcareers and most relationships. The disorder is often accompanied by amenorrheaor by a decrease in sexual drive and interest in males.

    “To recover the anorectics inevitably will have to go through a periodof time during which a person will feel more depression and anxiety as he orshe gives up the beneficial effect of endorphins by gaining weight” (Huebner78). But the good thing about this eating disorder is that the process can bereversed by normalizing the intake of nutrients, fluids and caloric intake aswell as vitamins and minerals that are all essential for proper body functioning.But in most cases multy-disciplinary approach is required that involve variousspecialists. Simple medication intake will not help since Anorexia Nervosa is aresult of combination of bio-psycho-social factors. Psychotherapists wouldguide patients and support him/her emotionally. Nutritionists would teach topatient new eating patterns. While other doctors will help in dealing with allthe physical complications.

   “ Living with someone who suffers from Anorexia Nervosa can be verydifficult, as the sufferer’s behavior may seem to be deliberately provocativeand selfish “ (Treasure 11).  Doctors,friends and relatives all have to be comprehensible, chary and respondent sincethey all share equally important pat in one’s recovery. Feeling of helplessnesson seeing someone acting in such a destructive way and not being able to help,is common among the people that surround anorexics. However instead of givingup they all have to stay positive, provide with financial and emotional supportand read a lot of information on the disease. This information will always beuseful to these people in order to understand better the suffering person andto be able to convince him or her of the mistakable behavior by providing aperson with new hitting facts.

    Anorexia nervosa is a very complex disease that can affect almost anyoneof us when influenced by certain surrounding us situations. It occurs whensomeone looses control over dieting and becomes obsessed with food, weight,body size and shape. The main triggering factor is our society that promotesthinness and puts excessive emphasis on appearance. This makes people want toconform to unrealistically thin models and in order to slim down fall on trackof starvation. In this process body releases endorphins that cause theaddiction. Some will recover fully, some will stay marked forever by AnorexiaNervosa, and others will die. Lets not permit this and stop ourselves, ourfriend, relative or any other person before it is to late.





Works sited:

 1.Huebner, Hans F., M.D. Endorphins, EatingDisorders and Other Addictive Behaviors.

   United State of America: Hans Huebner, 1993

2.Treasure, Janet. ANOREXIA NERVOSA:A SurvivalGuide for Families, Friends, and Sufferers.

   Essex: Psychology Press Ltd, 1997

3.Youngson, Dr Robert. Encyclopedia of FamilyHealth.

   London: Dr R.M. Youngson, 1995

4.Zimbardo, Philip G., and Gerrig, Richard J.Psychology and Life.

    United States: Philip G. Zimbardo, Inc., and Richard J. Gerrig, 1999


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