In 1997, 22-year-old Heidi Gunther died of a heart attack during a vacation trip with her family. She was at the time a ballet dancer for the Boston Ballet. Heidi suffered from an eating disorder called Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is a life threatening psychological condition where a person believes he or she is too obese; never thin enough, resulting in self-starvation and indulgent exercising to the point of malnutrition. This condition seems to be increased commonly emcompassed by teenage girls and modern women but not exclusively. Cases have also been found emcompassed by men, burgeoning children, and even some women as old as sixty. It is characterized by extremely low body weight, and a distorted sense of self-perception.
The physiological state of anorexia creates a enormous strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. Conditions include decelerate heart rate, an electrolyte imbalance, muscle weakness, and a breakdown of the immune system resulting finally in mortality. Anorexia can also lead to other disorders such as stunted maturation, shrunken bones, mineral loss, kidney debasement, liver harm, destruction of teeth, disruption of menstrual cycle, infertility, and a host of other damaging prognostics.
There are various types of eating disorders, but the special ones include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, rumination disorder, and pica.
Bulimia nervosa, like anorexia, is an eating disorder in reaction to a perceived weight gain. The subject with bulimia engages in binge eating countless times during the day and then follows the binging with intentional purging by inducing vomiting. Some subjects with anorexia also combine binging and purging with their starvation routine.
Rumination is an eating disorder whereby a person after eating regurgitates the contents from his/her stomach back into the mouth to be chewed again. The disorder is associated with nervousness and anxiety-related issues after eating a meal, and is also related to anorexia and bulimia.
Pica is a disorder whereby a person develops an appetite for things that are not food at all such as dirt, coal, chalk, cardboard, clay, and even cigarette butts. Pica can occur in people of all ages, but is found especially in young children with study disabilities and children of poor developing countries. Pica is usually caused by a biochemical deficiency such as an iron deficiency. Once the deficiency is found and resolved in a patient, the pica disorder is also resolved. Treatment for pica includes some psychosocial and family guidance techniques involving associating negative chain reactions with eating non-food items.
In today's civilization, especially in developed countries, the pressure for women to live up to an unrealistic supreme "thin" appearance is imposed, celebrated, and glamorized by the media and the culture. Magazine covers in newsstands everywhere portray that "desired image" and at the same time send out a message of equating or associating that appearance to being fruitful, beautiful and having self-worth. There's a societal pressure in this nation for developing women and teenage girls to be thin. In fields of ballet, modeling, and the entertainment industry, competition is fierce. Importance is placed on that excellent "thin" look by these institutions, especially in the modeling and ballet worlds. Even though it is generally accepted in the medical world that the causes of anorexia nervosa are inconclusive, the idea that societal pressures are one of the causes for this mental disorder is not far-fetched. Aside from world and the media celebrating a culture of overboard thinness, there are other circumstances that interact with each other to determinent anorexia.
Scientists determined that the interaction of genetics, environment, biochemistry, and personality traits also contribute to the eating disorder. Most people with anorexia share homogeneous personality traits such as perfectionism and low self-esteem. They also share some other psychological issues such as manage issues, lack of coping skills, the need for attention, and dejection. Since the causes of anorexia are multifaceted, the treatment can include a diversity of approaches, most of which are psychological in nature. The prime step to recovery though is to restore the person to a usual or imminent-to-typical body weight that is out of the threat zone.
It's best if the patient can be diagnosed early and steps can be taken to handle the patient either in a hospital or as an outpatient. The patient who is far along in his/her disorder may be in need of urgent hospitalization to thwart casualty. In the beginning, weight gain is the biggest obstacle to fundamental recovery. After weight has been stabilized, psychotherapy and/or counseling is the primary avenue of treatment in order to deal with the issues of self-hate and low self esteem that are at the root of the disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also be used to change destructive thoughts and behaviors. Then there's group therapy and family therapy to give the patient a support group. A physician would also be involved in prescribing medication to deal with anxiety or distress.
For someone with anorexia or any other eating disorder, it's a tough road back to health. In the beginning most patients resist treatment because of denial. Recovery can take 7 to 10 years or augmented. Eighty percent of people with eating disorders who pursue out treatment totally recover or make eloquent strides. Unfortunately, the rest may continue chronic sufferers or die. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders is a immense resource for a remedy and enlightenment regarding these eating disorders. They are free and have a hotline if anyone needs a remedy.
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