Anorexia Nervosa

.. is recommended if the patient is to be completely cured. Many differences in symptoms are apparent between anorectics and bulimics. Anorexia nervosa patients usually are not obese before onset of their illness. Typically, they are good students who become socially withdrawn before becoming ill and often come from families who fit the anorexia prototype.

Bulimics, on the other hand, usually are extroverted before their illness, are inclined to be overweight, have voracious appetites and have episodes of binge eating. Anorexia patients often have a better chance of returning to normal weight because their eating patterns, unlike those of bulimics, have been altered for a relatively shorter time. Most researchers agree that the number of patients with anorexia nervosa is increasing. The reason it is increasing is because the idols of today are much thinner and in shape than those of 30, 40, 50 years ago. For example, in the fifties Marilyn Monroe was the perfect American woman.

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She was also size twelve. Today, an example of the perfect American woman would be Jennifer Aniston, who is a size 2. Thats a large difference in dress size of the ideal body from the fifties to the nineties. As stars downsize to meet Hollywoods new ideal body, the desire for that body increases and unfortunately, so does the number of people with eating disorders. While the cause of anorexia is still unknown, a combination of psychological, environmental and physiological factor is associated with development of the disorder. Recent estimates suggest that anorexia nervosa affects one out of 200 American girls between the ages of 12 and 18. While most anorectic patients are female, about 6 percent are adolescent boys. Eating disorders are raging on college campuses. In a poll conducted by People magazine in the fall of 1998, of 500 coeds, more than half of the young woman respondents said they knew at least two schoolmates with an eating disorder.

In a second poll, of 490 college health officials commissioned by People, 70 percent said the problem was “common” on their campus. “College woman are away from their families, and theres tremendous pressure to find their way in the world,” says Jennifer Biely, Eating Disorders Awareness Prevention groups director. “Food is one thing they can control”(People Online). In the spring of 1996, plastic sandwich bags began disappearing by the hundreds from the kitchen of a sorority house at a large northeastern university. When the sororitys president investigated, she found a disturbing explanation: The bags, filled with vomit, were hidden in a basement bathroom.

“I was shocked,” remarked the president (who later learned that the buildings pipes, eroded by gallons of stomach acid, would have to be replaced. “Yet in a way it made sense.” Most of her 45 housemates, she recalls, worried about weight. “It was like a competition to see who could eat the least. At dinner they would say, All I had today was an apple, or I havent had anything. It was surreal” (People Online, October 12, 1999).

The media plays a strong role in influencing the need to lose weight. Young people are made to believe that thin is beautiful and they must be slim to be attractive. The media has the tendency to stereotype overweight people in a negative manner. “Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe could not get a job,” exclaimed director Joel Schumacher. “Their agents would tell them, Go on a diet, get a trainer”(People) In a June 3, 1996 issue of People magazine, actress Alicia Silverstone was being defended by Joel Schumacher for the mockery in the press for have gaining weight.

At March 1995s Academy Awards ceremony, Silverstone, 19, the fresh-faced sensation of The Crush and Clueless, did the unthinkable: She appeared in public despite the fact that, like many of her teenage peers around the country, she had just added on 5 or 10 pounds. Was she congratulated for the self-confidence and assurance it took to be herself? Hardly. The tabloids, noting Silverstones role in the next Batman sequel, blared out lines like “Batman and Fatgirl” and “Look Out Batman! Here Comes Buttgirl!” and Entertainment Weekly sniped that Alicia was “More Babe than babe”(People). Schumacher, whos directing Silverstone in the upcoming Batman and Robin, says he was startled by the meanness of the stories; “The news coverage was outrageous, disgusting, judgmental, and cruel. What did this child do? Have a couple pizzas?” (People Magazine, June 1996) In a word, yes. In the moral order of todays media-driven universe, in which you could bounce a quarter off the well-toned abs of any cast member of Baywatch or Friends, fashion magazines are filled with airbrushed photos of emaciated models with breast implants. And the perfectly attractive Janeane Garofalo can pass for an ugly duckling next to Beautiful Girl Uma Thurman in the hit movie The Truth About Cats and Dogs.

The definition of what constitutes beauty or even an acceptable body seems to become more inaccessible every year. We are evolving toward an unnatural view of beauty. Thin women with huge breasts and stick legs, like those of 12-year-olds. What real womens bodies look like is labeled wrong and unattractive. In conclusion, I believe teenage girls are deluged by images from television, movies, and magazines; battling with an increasingly unrealistic standard of beauty, and pay a price. This says a lot about our culture.

Our society worries too much about impressing everyone else with looks. It is seen everyday in movies and media, the “stars” that people watch and try to look like are perfect to us. People want to look like these “stars” and will go to any cost to become similar to that “star”; even if it means harming their bodies. Our society goes too far. Some people are way too harsh on other people.

Instead of excepting people for who they are, people judge by looks alone. This is what causes our society to be infatuated with being skinny and having to look like that supermodel on television. Bibliography “Body Image: What do you see in the mirror?” 17 April, 1997: Internet. WWW: ima.htm Gangnon, Louise., Despite Image, “Most Anorexics Are 45 or Older.” The Medical Post, 8 October, 1996: Internet.

WWW: Long, M.D., Phillip W., “Anorexia Nervosa: American Description.” 1997: Internet. WWW: (October7, 1999) Long, M.D., Phillip W. “Is Anorexia Nervosa Becoming More Common?” The Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter, September 1998: Internet.

WWW: (October 7, 1999) “Out of Control.” People Online 12 April, 1999: Internet. WWW: rchive disorder.html (October13, 1999) “Researcher Says Risk Factors For Anorexia Nervosa Have Genetic Basis” 21 January, 1998: Internet. WWW: (October 7, 1997) Schneider, Karen S., “Mission Impossible.” People Magazine. 3 June.

1996 “What Causes Eating Disorders?” Internet. WWW: