Anorexia Nervosa: Symptoms, Causes and Effects


Just like all anorexia essays, current paper will examine the symptoms of the disease as well as the contributing factors that lead to its development. The essay on anorexia presented below will also discuss what are the consequences of this condition and how the disease can be treated using a few effective strategies. It needs to be noted that in serious cases, anorexia may lead to fatal outcomes because of the severity of its symptoms and effects. The following anorexia essay will provide a few strategies that might help patients with anorexia beat the disease before it is too late. What is anorexia? Anorexia nervosa is one of the forms of an eating disorder, which is especially life-threatening due to the fact that patients suffering from this condition are characterized by extremely insufficient body weight disregarding their body type. The condition is distinguished by extreme and unnecessary loss of weight, unreasonable fear of gaining weight as well as deviations in the perceptions of one’s body. The condition can be developed by both men and women, although women become victims of the disease much more often due to the desire of women to meet the expectations of the modern world in terms of body weight and self-image.

It is a fact that women and men suffering from anorexia nervosa tend to be fixed on their body weight and have unregulated eating habits. Anorexia nervosa is synonymous to the notion anorexia, which presupposes purposeful starvation of an individual and constant lack of appetite. What are the major types of anorexia? Generally speaking, there are two widely recognized types of anorexia as listed further.

  • Anorexia Nervosa Binge Type. This type of anorexia suggests that a person suffering from this condition tends to vomit after he/she eats certain amounts of food. This symptom can be explained by the frustrating feeling of guilt that the victim experiences regarding his/her eating habits. The individual tends to compensate the eaten amounts of food by vomiting, using laxatives or overloading oneself with physical exercises.
  • Restrictive Anorexia Nervosa Type. This form of the disease suggests that the victim tries to restrict the amounts of food consumed, which results in the insufficient consumption of calories required for normal functioning and slow starvation that might even lead to death.

Although the types of anorexia are different in their essence, both of them are dangerous for the life of an individual. Furthermore, both of the types have similar symptoms including unreasonable fear of gaining weight and distorted eating habits. It needs to be mentioned that anorexia may develop as a result of various factors including psychological, environmental and biological ones. Let us discuss the major causes of anorexia nervosa in greater detail.

  • Biological factors. Even though it is not clear whether genes influence the development of anorexia, there might be certain genetic deviations that make specific categories of people more vulnerable to this disease. Some people tend to strive for perfection in everything they do. And this trait might influence their perception of their own body shape making them take drastic measures in order to lose weight. Distorted functioning of certain hormones may also lead to the development of anorexia.
  • Psychological factors. There are certain psychological characteristics that might contribute to the development of this disorder. Young women might be obsessed with their body weight, which is likely to result in strict dieting and refusal of food. Women are especially vulnerable to anorexia due to the fact that they always try to look perfect and tend to think that they are not slim enough. Victims of anorexia may also suffer from such disorder as anxiety. This makes them restrict the amounts of food consumed in order to lose weight and achieve the desirable body shape.
  • Environmental factors. It is a fact that modern westernized culture is largely focused on thinness. Success and prosperity are frequently associated with being slim and beautiful. Peer pressure might also shape the perception of young girls who want to look their best without thinking much about their health. Environmental factors also include media influence as a result of which thin people are perceived as ideal stereotypes. Besides, certain professions promote loss of weight, including modeling and ballet dancing. Childhood traumas like sexual abuse might also contribute to the development of anorexia. Finally, co-workers often become the ones who shape the ideals and perceptions of people, which might also result in anorexia.

The major symptoms of anorexia nervosa include but are not limited to the following:

  • Constant dieting that results in life-threatening underweight;
  • Obsession with fat content and calories of different products;
  • Eating rituals and specific patterns of food consumption like slicing the food into small pieces, hiding products or eating on one’s own;
  • Obsession with cooking and recipes; victims of anorexia might enjoy cooking for other people but refrain from eating the meals themselves;
  • Depression and anxiety;
  • Absence of menstruation or irregular menstrual cycle, etc.

Although restrictions in eating habits peculiar to anorexia patients are in many ways similar to simple dieting, there are drastic differences between these two conditions. The effects of anorexia nervosa are much more destructive and life-threatening than those of dieting. While people might diet because they want to control weight, in case a person suffers from anorexia, they will attempt to take control over their life and emotional state especially if the person has gone through some traumatic events. Unlike usual dieting, people suffering from anorexia tend to see losing weight as a means to achieve happiness in life, which often becomes their major life goal.

Treatment of anorexia includes taking medications, regulating one’s dietary habits and undergoing therapeutic treatment. Involvement of medical practitioners and therapists is important for the recovery of anorexia patients. The highest priority in this regard is given to medications and regulated eating habits. Furthermore, the treatment of anorexia patients can be added with a therapy that will help the victim of the disorder to cope with childhood traumas and learn how to manage their emotions. Finally, nutrition of anorexia patients should be strictly supervised by the medical practitioners in order to educate the patients on appropriate eating patterns.

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