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The subject of beauty continues to draw different reactions of people worldwide. In essence, every society has a distinct view concerning the reality of the aspect. A lot of individuals do not define beauty as what they see in themselves but rather according to the external appearance of others. They, therefore, struggle to look as pleasant as they can for other people. The standards of beauty in the world today are measured by body weight, and most men and women do not consider heavy weight persons as beautiful. Human weight is directly dependent on the amount of food the body processes on a daily basis. However, there are other factors that influence it. It is evident that the more food an individual consumes every day, the more likely their body weight is to increase. The aspect has led to a lot of people starving themselves to maintain low body weights, a condition called Anorexia Nervosa. The following paper explores the dynamics of the disorder.
Societal pressure has caused a lot of individuals to think that the ideal body weight should be low, and that the slimmer one looks, the more attractive and beautiful he/she is (Emmett, 2013). Such a belief has been the reason of people taking various steps and precautions to have or maintain thin and low weight bodies. Some of the actions are healthy and proper while the others are extreme and unhealthy like the subject of the discussion (Emmett, 2013).
Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological disorder that entails the obsessiveness to lose weight which causes an individual to refuse to eat. This condition is both a mental and eating health problem. It is mental because it originates from the obsessive desire of a person to lose weight. Since it denies a person an opportunity to eat healthily as required by the body it also is an eating disorder.
The reasons that underlie this condition vary from one individual to the other. The most predominant cause is the social and cultural pressure. It explains why this disorder is more prevalent in young women and teens. The social and cultural environment has directly related self-worth to the body weight and size. The struggle to raise self-esteem has, therefore, led to adverse steps such as starvation of oneself. There are also psychological factors that contribute to this condition, and they include depression, anxiety, stress, emotional strain, and phobia of being fat (“Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment,” 2016). Anorexia can also result from environmental factors such as occupations or hobbies where being thin is considered an ideal. Athletics, dancing, and swimming are some of the contributing factors as well. One should also mention the bereavements, physical or sexual abuse and bullying at school. Finally, biological or genetic factors also trigger the beginning of anorexia. They include the changes in hormonal levels and brain functions (“Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment,” 2016). Alterations in the work of brain may affect the part that deals with appetite. Research has also revealed that predisposition to anorexia runs in families.
There are two major subtypes of Anorexia Nervosa that are equally serious and need medical attention. They are the restricting one and the purging or binge eating subtype. The former occurs in people who make quite severe limitations on the amount of food and the type of products that they consume (Hunt, 2014). Moreover, it is characterized by the excessive exercise. Binge eating is not only distinguished by the restrictions on the amount and type of food eaten, but also by purging behavior that includes deliberate misuse of laxatives, enemas or diuretics as the substitution of food consumption. Lastly, this subtype involves self-induced vomiting (“Anorexia Nervosa,” 2016).
Anorexia nervosa like any other disease has signs and symptoms. They are classified into three categories namely physical, psychological and behavioral ones since it is emotional, mental and eating disorder (Gibson, 2014). The physical symptoms include frequent weight changes and rapid weight loss, decreased libido in men, loss or disruption of menstruation cycle, dizziness, fainting, cold even when the weather is warm, low energy, facial changes, fine hair appearing on face and body (“Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment,” 2016). Psychological symptoms, on the other hand, involve preoccupation with food, eating, and body shape. Other signs are anxiety or irritation, depression, , perfectionism, lack of self-esteem and body image satisfaction, high sensitivity to comments about food, weight and body shape, reduced thinking capacity and increased difficulty in concentrating (Gibson, 2014). Finally, the behavioral signs include dieting behaviors such as fasting, counting calories, avoiding specific food groups such as fats and carbohydrates. Additionally, one should name binge eating, private eating, antisocial behavior, substance abuse and suicidal attempts. Obsessive habits around food preparation, the secrecy around eating, and compulsive exercise are also behavioral symptoms (Hunt, 2014).
Most individuals suffering from Anorexia Nervosa refuse to seek treatment initially because their desire to be thin overrides their concern over health. It is, therefore, important to easily notice these symptoms in order to urge a loved one to seek medical help. Some basic red flags that inform on the condition under analysis are skipping meals, complaining of high body weight, making an excuse for eating and counting on calories (“Anorexia Nervosa,” 2016). A majority of these signs seem harmless, but they can lead to very serious illnesses and health complications (Shepphird, 2014). The consequences may be severe and even fatal leading to a sudden death in people that are not excessively underweight. The fatality results from an imbalance of electrolytes and abnormal heart beating, a condition also known as arrhythmia. The electrolyte imbalance is caused by the lack of fundamental minerals in the body such as sodium, calcium, and potassium (“Anorexia Nervosa,” 2016). Moreover, anorexia can lead to anemia, a destructive condition of less blood in the body. Other serious health issues caused by the disorder are heart problems, bone loss, reduction of testosterone in men, loss of menstruation in women, kidney problems, suicide, gastrointestinal problems, and electrolyte abnormalities (Gibson, 2014). Anorexia nervosa is also a cause of drug abuse as an individual always wants to escape the reality of who they are.
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The disorder under consideration can be remedied by both psychological and medical means. In the initial stages, before an individual develops more severe conditions, the best treatment choice is mental (Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2016). Psychological treatment is the best as it reduces the seriousness of this condition, encourages weight gain, exercise behavior, and normal eating practices (“Anorexia Nervosa – Treatment,” 2016). This approach involves behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive analytic therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, focal psychodynamic therapy and supportive clinical management (“Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment,” 2016). Medical treatment comes in where the above mentioned medical conditions have been diagnosed. However, it cannot be offered primarily without psychological treatment.
In conclusion, it is apparent that Anorexia Nervosa is a condition that is critical. Most people have taken the situation with less seriousness without considering that it is life threatening. The public in general and especially the teens should be closely monitored to ensure that they are not secretly suffering from the disorder. People should be made aware of the most observable features of anorexia so that they can easily identify victims of this condition. The media should also edit the perception behind their shows so as not to encourage negative attitude towards weight gain.