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Our society worships physical perfection. Our role models are slim, sexy, perfectly muscled actors, actresses, models, and athletes. Their images are everywhere from billboards, movie screens, to magazines. Many of us are willing to pay high costs physically, emotionally, and financially. The means by which we try to fulfill them can be extreme and even self-destructive. Young adolescents try to control their weight by dieting. Sometimes their dieting gets out of control and leads them to Anorexia. Anorexia is a misunderstood eating disorder that if left untreated can often be fatal to young adolescents.
Anorexia is a disorder in which a person refuses to eat or to retain any food or suffers a prolonged and severe reduction of appetite. The individual has an intense fear of becoming obese, feels fat even when thin, and refuses to maintain a minimal body weight. Dr. Bruch backs this up when he states, "Anorexia is a relentless pursuit of excessive thinness" (Strong, Sayad, & DeVault, 1996, p. 371). There are two types of anorexia: Restricting type and Binge-eating-purging type.
The restricting type is associated with weight loss due to food restriction. Starvation can damage vital organs, such as the heart and the brain. Mild anemia, swollen joints, reduced muscle mass, and light-headedness are common with this type of anorexia. In defense, the body will start to slow down. Monthly menstrual periods stop in females; breathing, pulse, and blood pressure rates drop; and thyroid function slows. At this stage of the disorder, the adolescent becomes dangerously close to death.
In the binge-eating-purging type, a person has regularly engaged in binge-eating and purging. Adolescents with this type of anorexia use drugs to stimulate vomiting and may be in considerable danger as this practice increases the risk of heart failure. Vomiting can also lead to less deadly but serious problems. The acid in vomit wears the outer layer of teeth and can cause scarring on the back of hands when fingers are pushed down the throat. The esophagus becomes inflamed, and the glands near the cheeks become swollen. Some adolescents struggle with addictions, including drugs and alcohol. They can suffer from clinical depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These problems place them at a high risk of suicidal behavior.
Two theories try to explain the cause behind anorexia. They include the psychoanalytic theory and the cognitive-behavioral theory. The psychoanalytic theory views anorexia as a defense against fears or oral impregnation. Food is feared
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Terminology referenced in this essay
Food, Psychotherapy, British,
Names referenced in this research paper
herself, Davison, p., Salvador Minuchin, Dr. Bruch, Sara Rosin, Bush, Burch, Dr. Steven Hendlin, Dr. Liebman, Defino,
Organizations talked about in this paper
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa, Temple University, National Institute of Mental Health, Congress, Associated Disorders,
Locations talked about in this research paper
Health Conditions referenced in this term paper
vomiting, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, heart failure, anemia, psychosis,
Keywords mentioned in this term paper
adolescents, weight loss, eating disorders, psychoanalytic theory, Anorexia Nervosa, dieting, body image, clinical depression, drug, body weight, Rosin, vomiting, obsessive compulsive disorder, hospitalization, binge eating, body fat, dangerously close, Salvador Minuchin, role models, image, his or her, vital organs, suicidal behavior, heart failure, hospital, blood pressure, thyroid function, therapist, muscle mass, parenting style, Temple University, Mental Health, common, reinforcer, perfection, adolescence, therapy, psychotherapy, medications, physicians, patient, thinness, DeVault, inflamed, fatness, self destructive, problems, seventy six, scarring,