Anorexia Nervosa and How to Help

Essay by JL6erCollege, UndergraduateB+, February 2007

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Anorexia nervosa is a growing problem throughout teenagers and adults in today's society. It is often assumed to be solely a problem female's face; however it is now a growing problem in young men as well. Anorexia nervosa is not simply about being thin. There are several other components to the disease. Some may experience the feeling of a lack of control. Others can be diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In some cases, people do not want to grow up and the feel that the restriction of food will keep them from becoming an adult. Most people who are diagnosed with the disease are not overweight or obese. Anorexia nervosa is not a physical disease but a psychological disease that evidently causes physical harm.

When teenagers enter puberty, their body changes and these changes often becomes difficult for some to understand. The disorder typically begins in adolescence and about one to four percent of females between the ages of twelve and forty suffer from this disorder.

(American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Even though many associate the disease with women, about ten percent of the cases of anorexia are males. Anorexia in males often begins with the pressure to be in shape for a sport. For example, when boys participate in wrestling they need to maintain their weight to remain in a weight class for their team. They begin to take drastic measures to continue at that weight.

Several causes of anorexia nervosa are sensitivity to cultural messages about the "perfect body." They become obsessed about being thin and having what society believes is the ideal body. Many girls and boys look up to celebrities and models because they want to look just like them. The average woman is a size twelve, the average actress is a size four and...