Anorexia Nervosa

There was a craze for skinny girls in her high school. “Unluckily” for Claire, she was not built like these other girls. She wasn’t fat, but she wasn’t skinny enough to meet the school’s criteria for what a slim girl should look like. She was stocky built. She never got the attention the other girls got and she was subjected to listening to her male friends fantasize about these other girls. This is where her anxiety started. There was a party one weekend that she went to. At this party everyone was supposed to pick a dance partner. The girls were less than the boys in attendance and even though all possible pairs had been made, the other boys rather waited their turn to dance with the skinny girls and totally ignored her. That night, after the party, she stayed in front of the mirror for several hours analyzing her body and finding faults with every thing possible and making comparisons to the other girls till she finally convinced herself she was ugly and fat and needed to do something about it. She started skipping breakfast and lunch. Despite her significantly reduced weight, however, she wasn’t satisfied; so she started skipping dinner also. She resorted to 2 apples a day and a handful of cereal and even with that she would still stick her finger down her throat to vomit right after eating because she believed it would make her fat. She still wasn’t satisfied with her weight so she started a vigorous regime of exercise. She would go to the gym for close to 10 hours a day. Her immune system began to break down; she became bony and skeletal; she lost concentration; she would get her period about twice a year or not at all; She would faint regularly and be hospitalized very often. In short, she was unhealthy. Still, she believed she had to lose more weight.

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder caused by the obsessive fear of becoming overweight or a distorted perception about weight, and anxieties about how to control and be in shape.

SYMPTOMS:It typically leads those who have this fear or perception to stay of food for longer periods of time, eat little or no food, sometimes even use substitutes for food, and exercise beyond acceptable limits; yet they remain convinced that they are fat and need to lose more weight. Anorexia is less about food and more about what some people do to cope with an emotional problem or the problem of being socially acceptable: when people place so much value on weight and shape, and think if they are of a certain degree of thinness or weight, then they have self-worth and deserve to be admired or recognized as such.

CAUSES: Most researches on this topic using twin studies have found that hereditary and genetics play a role in this disorder. Deficits in our hypothalamus, an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters and societal pressure to be thin and attractive are also some causes of Anorexia Nervosa.

MentalMondays by Akwama


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