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Anorexia in Teens - Essay Example

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Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person purposely starves him/herself in order to lose weight. More specifically, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes the criterion for the diagnosis of anorexia as "the refusal to maintain a normal bodyweight as defined by weight of less than 85% of typical bodyweight for a given height as well as experiencing intense fear related to gaining weight" (Ray 2004)…
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Anorexia in Teens
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Download file to see previous pages Although the majority of sufferers of eating disorders are young adult females, there are indications that a significantly higher percentage of children with anorexia nervosa are boys (Manley, Rickson, and Standeven 2000).
Anorexia is marked by a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. The physical effects include: metabolic changes, emaciation, constipation, thyroid difficulty, heart abnormalities, and death (Ray 2004). Psychologically, anorexics fall prey to a very negative self image, which causes drastic body-changing behaviors (Abrams and Stormer 2002). Anorexics may also be extremely perfectionist and may feel as if they lack control over many situations (Blank and Latzer 2004). Anorexics may exhibit a variety of emotional problems, including low self-esteem, emotional instability, and difficulty with interpersonal relations (Abrams and Stormer 2002). Feeling out of control in their everyday lives and feeling physically inadequate, the anorexic tries to take control over his/her eating, to the point where the anorexic may stop eating altogether. Sadly, an anorexic individual is usually unable to see how much weight he/she has actually lost, and so the starvation diet will continue until so much damage is done to the body that the individual must be hospitalized.
Anorexia has serious consequences for both physical and mental health, and it is an alarming fact that treatment is not readily accessible to all sufferers, and it is not always successful (Abrams and Stormer 2002). At least 10 percent of all anorexia cases will prove to be fatal (Abrams and Stormer 2002). Anorexia can be linked to a variety of sociocultural factors, including race, social class, culture, and social environment, and the etiology and treatment of it can be fit into the Boundary Control theory of behavior (Abrams and Stormer 2002; Blank and Latzer 2004). It is important for health practitioners to be able to understand the theoretical model, and the interactions between these factors, so that more effective prevention and treatment methods can be created (Abrams and Stormer 2002).
One very interesting study by Abrams and Stormer (2002) showed that there are, in fact, many sociocultural influences involved in anorexia. African American women have been shown to have a much more positive body image than do white or Hispanic women; therefore, it is less likely that they will develop anorexia (Abrams and Stormer 2002). Over 90 percent of severe eating disorders, including anorexia, are diagnosed in young white females (Abrams and Stormer 2002). Attitudes about body image have been found to be relatively stable across a wide range of ages, yet they vary widely across ethnic groups (Abrams and Stormer 2002). This variation in anorexia incidence rates among different ethnic groups may have more to do with "factors associated with ethnicity, such as acculturation level, self-esteem, or socioeconomic status (SES)" (Abrams and Stormer 2002). Several studies have found a positive correlation between SES and anorexia - young women who come from wealthier homes tend to be more likely to have anorexia (Abrams ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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