In 1684, Anorexia Nervosa was described for the first time but it wasn’t identified with its own diagnosis until 1870. Anorexia Nervosa means “nervous loss of appetite”. This diagnosis is based on misunderstandings. People who suffer from Anorexia don’t necessarily have a lack of appetite, they are afraid of putting on weight. Anorexia Nervosa is more common today than a century ago. Some of those reason are: * The thin ideal has become “fashionable”. This leads to people believing this is the ideal way to look. * Modern technology helps us so much that we don’t have to use much energy as much as before. Most work is performed sitting at a computer. * The media is also focused on a lot of sports and exercise which leads to people focusing on an almost unreachable body ideal.
The main problems of Anorexia are the health risks. The most severe and noticeable is starvation. People who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa start to develop brittle hair and nails, dry skin, cold intolerance, loss of menstrual cycle, mild Anemia, and swelling of the joints. They can also develop heart failure and a lack of calcium which increases their risk for Osteoporosis. Anorexia Nervosa has side effects such as clinical depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or substance abuse; many are also at risk of suicide.
Paralysis: Temporary paralysis can be caused by low levels of potassium or the degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord or brain, which have been deprived of essential nutrients. Anorexics who do not receive the proper treatment may experience more frequent and severe paralysis, which can lead to permanent muscle weakness.
Eating disorders are complex, and experts don’t really know what causes them but they may be due to a mix of family, social factors, and personality traits. People who have anorexia experience or one more of these factors: * Weigh much less than is healthy or normal. * Are very afraid of gaining weight. * Refuse to stay at a normal weight. * Think they are overweight even when they are very thin. * Their lives become focused on controlling their weight. They may: * Obsess about food, weight, and dieting. * Strictly limit how much they eat. * Exercise a lot, even when they are sick. * Vomit or use laxatives or water pills (diuretics) to avoid weight gain.
The influence of media on the proliferation of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia nervosa cannot be refuted. From an early age we are bombarded with images and messages that reinforce the idea that to be happy and successful we must be thin.
Four Stages of the Disease
Stage One: The Achievement Stage: The anorexic diets and strives to be thin, but is more successful than most dieters. Because she is successful at it, she is praised by her peers and caregivers for her looks, her perseverance, and her willpower. There exists the seed of an obsession. She is probably close to her original goal weight at the end of this stage. Another difference between a stage one anorexic and a normal dieter is in her world-view. The anorexic does not feel as safe in the world. She is a perfectionist who needs to control her environment in order to feel safe.
Stage Two: The Security-Compulsive Stage: The anorexic enters Stage Two when she no longer has a goal weight, but rather a weight-loss-per-week goal – an important transition point in the disease. Exercise may be a part of her compulsion. She has a new preoccupation with measuring herself which is combined with a distorted self-image. No amount of weight loss makes her thin enough. She actually feels fatter the more weight she loses. As her body shrinks, her skin develops folds since it can’t shrink as fast as the tissues underneath. She interprets the folds as fat. The anorexic has less time for friends or family as she detaches from others.
Stage Three: The Assertive Stage: At this point the anorexia has been noticed and