Eating disorders are devastating behavioral maladies brought on by a complexinterplay of factors, which may include emotional and personality disorder,family pressure, a possible genetic or biological susceptibility and a culturein which there is an over abundance of food and an obsession with thinness. Eating disorders are generally characterized as bulimia nervosa, anorexianervosa and eating disorders not other wise specified. According to the World ofPsychology anorexia is defined as ” an eating disorder characterized by anoverwhelming, irrational fear of being fat, compulsive dieting to the point ofself starvation and excessive weight loss. “(World of Psychology Page 317).
There are some causes, symptoms, complications and treatment of anorexianervosa. There is no single cause for the eating disorder anorexia but a numberof factors including emotional disorders and cultural influences. Researchershave shown that emotional disorders such as depression collaborate in causinganorexia nervosa. This is because most anorexic patients have been found to haveabnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters particularly serotonin, that areassociated with depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. According to aresearch conducted bim to it for Spain. After Columbus s discovery of the new lands he wrote a series of treatise as to what the European purpose there was.
Columbus, in his writings, said that the purpose of the New World was two fold. He said that the gospel message of the church should be spread globally beginning with his discoveries in the New World. Second, he stated that the riches discovered in the New World should be dedicated to the recapture of Jerusalem from the Moslems. Columbus saw the discovery of the New World as a prophesy coming true. He saw the Indians that lived there as a labor source that should be christianized and used for the greater good of the church.
Two papal bulls were issued in the year of 1493 that established the Spanish position in the New World. They also established the role that the church was going to play in the New World. The first bull was issued on May 3 and it was called Inter Caetera. It said that the lands discovered by Spanish envoys not previously under a christian owner could be tisers heavily market weight reductions programs and present anorexicyoung models as the paradigm of sexual desirability and on the other hand again,the media floods the public with ads for junk food. According to the World ofPsychology “over the past quarter century, the ‘ideal’ female figure asportrayed in the media and by fashion and entertainment industries, has becomeeven thinner, often to the point of emancipation”(World of Psychology Page317).
Due to cultural influences in a country where obesity is epidemic, youngwomen who achieve thinness believe they have accomplished a major cultural andpersonal victory; they have overcome the temptations of junk food and at thesame time, created an image idealized by the media. This false sense ofaccomplishment is often reinforced by the envy of their heavier friends who mayperceive anorexic patients as being stronger and more sexually attractive thanthey are. The media definitely plays a major role in the cause of anorexia. According to the World of Psychology “It is difficult to pinpoint the causeof this disorder. More anorexic individuals are well-behaved and academicallysuccessful”(The World of Psychology Page 371). Some investigators evenbelieve that ” young women who refuse to eat are attempting to control aportion of their lives, which they feel unable to control in mostsituations”(Psychology Today, May 98).
The symptoms of anorexia vary sincemost women with the disorder keep it a secret but the major symptom is thechange in size. According to an article from WebMd ” the primary symptom ofanorexia is major weight loss from excessive and continuos dieting which mayeither be restrictive dieting or binge-eating and purging”(www. webmd. com). The feet and hands of the anorexic patient may be cold or swollen sometimes.
Thestomach is often distressed after eating and is often bloated. Thinking may beconfused or slowed, and an anorexic patient may have poor memory and judgement. Again all of these symptoms vary from individuals as could be seen in youngwomen who have diabetes and anorexia. Such people may have a normal weight oreven be overweight but still anorexic.
A study conducted by Harvard medicalschool psychiatrist Dr. Theodore . A. Stern concluded, “the most bewilderingsymptom of anorexia is the distorted body image”(Psychology Today May 96).
In another study people with anorexia tended to have an accurate perception oftheir upper body, but over estimated the size of their abdominal and pelvicarea. There are a lot of complications that could arise from anorexia. Studiesof anorexic patients reported death ranging from 4% to 20% (The World ofPsychology Page 317). According to the FDA heart disease is the most commonmedical cause of death for people with anorexia. This is because the heart candevelop dangerous rhythms, including slow rhythms known as bradycardia.
Electrolyte imbalances can occur as a result of anorexia. Minerals such aspotassium, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphate are normally dissolved in the bodyfluid. Calcium and Potassium are particularly critical in maintaining theelectric currents that cause the heart to beat regularly. The dehydration andstarvation of anorexia can reduce fluid levels and mineral contents, a conditionknown as electrolyte imbalance, which can be of very serious and even lifethreatening, unless the fluids and minerals are replaced. Reproductive andhormonal abnormalities can occur due to anorexia. Anorexia causes low levels ofreproductive hormones, changes in thyroid hormones, and increases the level ofstress hormones, which causes amenorrhea.
According to Psychology Today”long term irregular or absent menstruation is common which eventually maycause sterility and bone loss. The major scare of anorexia is that it can causedeath. According to the e world of psychology ” Unfortunately up to 20% ofthose suffering from anorexia nervosa eventually die of starvation orcomplications from organ damage”(The World of Psychology Page 371). TheWorld of Psychology summarizes the complications that could arise from anorexiaand concludes that ” anorexics may also develop low blood pressure,impaired heart function, dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and/orsterility”(The World of Psychology Page 371).
This is in clear similarityto the other researches conducted by psychologists and shows the complicationsthat could arise from anorexia. The major difficulty in treating an eatingdisorder like anorexia is often the resistance of the anorexic patient, whobelieves that the emancipation is normal and even attractive. According to theWorld of Psychology “Anorexia is very difficult to treat. Most anorexicpatients are steadfast in their refusal to eat, while insisting that nothing iswrong with them”(The World of Psychology Page 371). Most moderately toseverely ill anorexic patients should be admitted to the hospital for immediatetreatment. In addition to immediate treatment of any serious medical problem,the goal of the anorexic patient is to increase weight.
To do this therapy couldbe used until the anorexic patient succeeds in overcoming this difficultdisorder. Anorexic patients who are severely malnourished should begin with acalorie count as low as 1500 calories a day, in order to reduce the chances forstomach pain and bloating, fluid retention and heart failure. The World ofPsychology summarizes the treatment of anorexia. According to Samuel Wood andEllen Green ” the main thrust of treatment, therefore is to get theanorexic individual to gain weight. The patient may be admitted to a hospital, afew controlled diets, and given rewards for small weight gains and increase infood intake.
The treatment usually includes some type of psychotherapy and/or aself-help group”(The World of Psychology Page 371). Since anorexia nervosahas no real treatment, the only real treatment for now could be eating healthy,exercising moderately and also doing constant medical checkups.Psychology