The Image In The Mirror

.. immediate environment, friends and family, directly influence the development of anorexia. Anorexics tend to come from families placing strong emphasis on food and the family may have used food for purposes other than nourishment such as a sign of love for the providers or used when family members face unpleasant situations (Anorexia nervosa 15). There is a greater risk of a person developing anorexia when a Rogers 2 person of the family has had the disorder or when a family member is either very thin or obese(Anorexia Nervosa 15). Overly critical brothers and fathers of the girls weight and attractiveness have a forceful impact on the development of anorexia (Eating Disorders 286). Special dietary needs of a family member, emphasis on nutrition, and power struggles over eating assist in the self-induced starvation (Anorexia Nervosa 13). Nutritional labeling on the foods and mothers stocking their refrigerators with low fat and no-fat foods may actually lead to eating problems (Fitzsimmons 2).

The mothers eating habits greatly influence the daughters and it is recommended that favorite foods are in the house (Fitzsimmons 3). The mother should invite the daughter to accompany her to the grocery store to choose some of her favorite fruits, vegetables, meats and cereals (Fitzsimmons 4). Making this a routine can help provide a positive aspect on the importance of nutrition (Fitzsimmons 4). It is important for family members to promote self-esteem in intellectual, athletic, and social endeavors (Fitzsimmons 5). The parents should examine their own attitudes toward weight to discover how they could be affecting the children (Fitzsimmons 4).

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Discussing the dangers of dieting, the value of moderate exercise, and the importance of eating a variety of foods can help minimize the chances of developing anorexia (Fitzsimmons 4). Biochemistry also contributes to the development of anorexia nervosa. In the neuroendocrine system, a combination of the central nervous and hormonal Rogers 3 systems, there are seriously disturbed mechanisms in people with eating disorders (Eating Disorders 286). The neuroendocrine system regulates sexual function, physical growth and development, appetite and digestion, kidney functions and emotions. The common symptoms of anorexia directly relate to the disturbed mechanisms in the neuroendocrine system (Eating Disorders 286).

Common symptoms such as serious depression, bingeing and consuming large amounts of food but showing no noticeable weight gain, and loss of menstrual periods are directly associated with the disturbed neuroendocrine system that normally controls these functions (Barker 3). There have been several chemicals found that can be directly related to symptoms of anorexia. The neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, key chemical messengers in the central nervous system, are significantly decreased in ill anorexic patients (Eating Disorders 287). The decrease of the chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine cause severe depression, one symptom of anorexia (Eating Disorders 287). Another brain chemical found to be abnormal in people with anorexia is the hormone vasopressin.

Vasopressin is what contributes to the obsessive-compulsive behavior of the patients (Eating Disorders 287). There have also been higher than normal levels of cortisol found in anorexic patients, a brain hormone released in response to stress. These biochemical and genetic factors predispose some people to eating disorders such as anorexia (Eating Disorders 286). The high levels of cortisol Rogers 4 are caused by a disturbance that occurs in or near the hypothalamus (Eating Disorders 287). The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates menstruation, eating, metabolism, body temperature and sleep (Anorexia Nervosa 15).

It has not been established if anorexia causes the hypothalamic disturbance or if the hypothalamus directly influences the occurrence of anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa 15). By exploring the roles of chemicals in the brain, the findings are making it possible to explain why and how this disease is occurring (Eating Disorders 287). Personality traits are a source of psychological symptoms of anorexia nervosa (Garner 327). Anorexics tend to have self-critical and obsessional personality traits. They are known for their compliant behavior and attainment of good grades, and they are often perfectionists.

There is often repugnance at sexual development (Garner 327). Associated with the perfectionistic personality is an all-or-none kind of reasoning and the setting of unattainable goals (Garner 327). Certain types of personalities also seem to appear among the parents of anorexics. Family personality traits are enmeshment, rigidity, overprotectiveness, and the inability to resolve conflict within the family (Anorexia Nervosa 15). Thirty-six of 39 young female patients described their fathers as emotionally distant, says Margo Mame, associated clinical director of the Eating Disorders Service at Newington Childrens Hospital in Conneticut. Rogers 5 Mothers of anorexics frequently suffer from depression, are domineering, and intrude in the anorexics hour-to-hour-life (Anorexia Nervosa 15). The consequences of anorexia nervosa can be severe, with 1 in 10 cases leading to death from starvation, cardiac arrest, or suicide (Eating Disorders 284).

Antidepressant drugs, behavioral techniques, and physcotherapy are the most frequently used treatments. One successful medication used is the antidepressant fluoxetine, because it affects the serotonin function in the body which is significant in the biochemistry of anorexics (Eating Disorders 287). One behavioral technique used is a token system for food eaten, consisting of reinforcements contingent on weight gain (Garner 149). Behavioral techniques work especially well for social phobic behavior and the obsessive-compulsive disorder (Garner 466). Psychotherapy is needed for the underlying emotional issues of the anorexic and to help the patient begin to understand and cope with their illness (Eating Disorders 287). The combination of psychotherapy and medication has been found as an effective treatment, and it prevents relapse after the medication is discontinued (Eating Disorders 287).

When excessive and rapid weight loss, serious metabolic disturbances, clinical depression or risk of suicide, or psychosis take place hospitalization may be necessary (Eating Disorders 287). For emotional and physiological treatment, there is a variety of experts needed such as a nutritionist, an individual psychotherapist, a group/family psychotherapist, and a psychopharmacologist – someone who is Rogers 6 knowledgeable about psychoactive medications useful in treating the disorder (Eating Disorders 287). Symptoms of anorexics are widespread and can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint. Excessive weight loss in a relatively short period of time and the continuation of dieting although bone thin is one of the very common symptoms (Barker 3 ). There is usually an extreme dissatisfaction with body appearance and the belief the body is fat, even though severely underweight (Barker 3). Anorexics often show an unusual interest in food and the development of strange eating rituals (Barker 3). They are always collecting new recipes and preparing gourmet meals for friends and family, but not eating the meals themselves (Eating Disorders 284).

Many anorexics abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from serious depression, eat in secret, and obsess over exercise. Some use drugs particularly to stimulate bowel movements and urination (Barker 3). Following these symptoms are usually severe medical problems such as premature osteoporosis, abdominal pain, lethargy, intolerance to cold, impaired kidney functions, and impeded reproductive development (Fitzsimmons 3). Bradycardia, a slower than normal heartbeat, is also a common medical problem of young girls suffering from anorexia nervosa (Boodman 4). Anorexia nervosa is a complicated and mysterious disease. Researchers are continuing the study of anorexics and how to prevent the occurrence of Rogers 7 eating disorders.

The central aim of anorexia is the elimination of physical pleasure and food becomes symbolic of all desires and their objects (Mac Sween 222). Anorexia is an attempt to resolve at the level of the individual body the irreconcilability of individuality and femininity in a bourgeois patriarchal culture (Mac Sween 252). Dealing with the anorexics uncompromising environments, complications in biochemistry, and intolerable personality traits is an approach to diminishing the horrifying epidemic of anorexia nervosa. Health and Beauty.